Navel-gazing

I am in a whiny place. I want to bemoan the current state of my life at my house. And while I’m at it, the current state of the world: the fact that some people left their dog in a car in a parking lot while the temperature outside soared to 32° C  and while they spent money in the mall, that sweet dog died from heat, waiting for them to return; the fact that a cat with a stomach feeding tube was found in a black garbage bag in a box on a roadside, abandoned to die; the fact that a man dragged a baby bear cub from a tree and tied it to a post. The stupidity and the cruelty of people does not shock me anymore, but it does still anger me.

Just got home from 24 hrs away with some girlfriends. It was kind of a reunion trip for us, having done a retreat together 2 yrs previously. And now with some big changes coming this month, and this fall, we decided to have one more time together, not knowing when it might happen again. Fantastic time.

And then I arrived home.

Walked in the door to a sick husband in bed, the living space a complete disastrous mess (ummm… was there a tornado that hit  that blew threw my living room in the past 10 hrs or something?), no dinner prepared (obviously… he’s sick, I get that…). Add to the mix the kids, the usual teasing, some crying… ah yes, all the blessings of family life…?!?  I have to help coach soccer tonight. Aaaaannd eldest is crying about having to go. He looks exhausted, and still peaked from a week-long flu. (“Ok,” I say, exasperated. “You are excused. But you had better be in bed when I get home!!!” I add threateningly)

Yay! Welcome home! Yes, welcome, welcome home….

And I forget to begin counting the blessings (à la Ann Voskamp).  I forget the love and care that God shows me daily, along with the big healthy dose of grace that I need. And I forget, to just put my gaze on him. Because I’m navel-gazing again, and it’s doing me no good!

 “Apart from the gospel, I’ll whine more than I’ll worship. Apart from the gospel, I’ll judge people more than I’ll seek to understand them. Apart from the gospel, I’ll get my feelings hurt too easily, and I won’t consider serving others a privilege and joy. Apart from the gospel, I’ll waste this day, rather than steward it.      Apart from the gospel, I’ll react selfishly to irritants rather than responding graciously. Apart from the gospel, I’ll talk more than I listen. Apart from the gospel, I’ll think about me much more than I think about you. Apart from the gospel, I won’t risk anything; I’ll do just enough to get by.” (From Scotty Smith)

Yes, apart from the good news, Jesus, I whine and I complain. I am self-serving and self-seeking. SElFish.  And I recall a conversation from this past weekend about why God wants us to worship. Why does he? I think it’s so that we can stop the navel-gazing, stop the complaining and put our gaze elsewhere, on things above, rather than on things below.

So I begin counting those blessings. In the darkness, I listen to the rain on the patio outside, watering the thirsty earth. I feel the cool breeze coming in. I listen to the quiet breathing of sleeping children.

And I remember that His mercies are new every morning. New every morning. And I wait, for His morning and His mercies to carry me through another day.