Tuesday


Tuesday, oh Tuesday, a part of me loathes you, wretched Tuesday.

Tuesday is traditionally the day of the week that is the most challenging for me. I don’t know why, exactly, but I figure it’s a combination of factors. I work long-hours on Monday, so by Tuesday I’m trying to get caught up on paperwork, housework, grocery shopping, correspondence, and laundry.  I’m typically a pretty high-strung person as it is, and on this beloved day of the week, it’s safe to say that my husband’s dress shirts aren’t the only thing that needs ironed out. I mean, not that I iron or anything…who has time for that nonsense?

By Tuesday, it usually seems that the weekend activities have caught up to my kids, and they become Mr. and Mrs. Cranky Pants and the Whiney Wonder. They need a little extra TLC, which is fine, but it doesn’t really jive with my list of to-dos. It’s the classic dilemma of motherhood, and I admit that I don’t always choose wisely. *Sigh.*

One particular Tuesday in the past few weeks, our family overslept. I rolled over from a sound sleep to see the clock mockingly glaring at me: 8:14am. Panic! We had 31 minutes exactly to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door on time!  Cue the music from Home Alone (Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, also known as the 895-1111 Pizza Hut delivery commercial theme song) and use your imagination. It was not how I wanted to start off the day, and in my mind, I was thinking, “Of course. It’s Tuesday. I’d expect nothing less.”

As soon as my three boys left the house, I continued scurrying (more like thrashing) around the house making beds, putting toys away, wiping down the counters after breakfast, and loading the dishwasher. Picture the Indominous Rex dominating the island of Jurassic World, killing for recreation sake; this was me with our home. I was surely seething at the mouth, finding pleasure in the tasks I was able to devour.

I could feel my emotion pile up in my chest faster than the soiled clothes of our family of five. Like any sane and rational human being would do, I started cleaning the toilets and mopping the floors too…because that makes everything better, right? This is how my brain works; I crave order and structure, which, when combined with my mild OCD tendencies and always dormant perfectionism, means that clean floors are the fastest, most obvious way to let the air out of my over-inflated feelings.  That said, I found myself on my hands and knees on the floor, wiping up old yogurt droppings, when I went there…

Ugh. This morning was a disaster, and it was clearly my husband’s fault. He was responsible for putting the kids to bed last night while I was at work, and if he had put them to bed earlier, then we wouldn’t have overslept. And if he didn’t insist I keep my phone turned off at night, I would have had my alarm set. And, if he would have taken a faster shower, then he could have helped me get the coffee brewed, breakfast served, and kids dressed and ready. But, no. Too late. No alarm. No help. And we are all late and behind. Boo!

Nice, huh? Alas, it’s true. I am a blamer. Actually, that doesn’t quite do it justice. I’m the Katniss Everdeen of blame, firing shots at my target with unmatched precision. Lucky guy, my husband. He goes down before he even knows what hit him.  And I hunt pretty often.

I don’t always catch myself when I grab my bow and shoot the arrows of blame, but on this particular morning, I did.  And God did too, because a section of 1 Peter 5 immediately came to mind. “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time…”

At face value, it seems simple. Don’t blame, be humble. But in my head, nothing seems simple. At any given moment, I have a mess of confusing thoughts swarming my brain; I have to sift through them to make sure I’m listening to the right ones. You now how when the antennae goes out and the television looks like it’s been invaded by ants?  Well, that’s what it’s like. Those ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts, as we therapist-folk like to call them) set up a little picnic in my cerebrum.  Suckers!

Once upon a time, a piece of Scripture like 1 Peter 5 would have taken my others-focused blame and turned it into self-focused shame. I can’t believe you, Katie. You are a terrible person. Blaming, really?  You just need to be humble and quit your whining. It’s not like you have any room to talk. You are the reason things go wrong all of the time. Quite often, you are the failure.

Someone grab the Raid…ants, I tell you!  I’ve got ants!

I can say that confidently now, and even joke about it, but back then, I truly thought those thoughts were coming from God.  I thought the shaming was just His discipline or His way of convicting me. I believe now, without a doubt, that God does not use shame to change us.

Thankfully, this particular Tuesday, I didn’t allow for the picnic. I stopped mopping, sat still on the {spotless} wood floor, let my daughter climb onto my lap, and waited. Don’t blame, be humble. Don’t blame, be humble.

My thoughts turned to a teaching I had just heard about blame. Blame answers the question, “Who’s fault is it?” Knowing someone’s at fault gives us the semblance of control.  While we might like feeling in control, blame is actually expressed more like rage.  It’s corrosive in relationships, is the opposite of true accountability, and damages any vulnerability. That’s what I was letting get into my marriage?  Ugh.

It’s true that I need to practice humility, give up the need for control, and offer my husband (or anyone, for that matter) accountability and vulnerability.  No doubt about it.  But here’s the part that really hit me: blame is the discharging of discomfort and pain. Whoa! That is totally the space I was in that day.  Not only was I emotional from waking up late and being stressed, but I had a million and one things on my heart and mind that were weighing me down. Big things, like grief, failure, insecurity, and fear. God was saying to me, “Hey Katniss…I mean Katie. Don’t fire those arrows of blame at your husband.  Come to me.”

Funny enough, if you keep reading in 1 Peter 5, it says, “Casting all your anxiety on him, because He cares for you.”

God called me out on my blame issue, but He did it without shaming me. And He didn’t stop there; He cared for my heart too.

Intentional. Soothing. Just what I needed.

Tuesday, oh Tuesday, you turn loathing into learning, sweet Tuesday.

 

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