Today was one of the rare long days of my stay-home-wife-and-mom life. Well, a long day spent outside the house, that is. I left the house at 7am, and got back around 12 hours later. I went out to claim a gift.
TWELVE HOURS TO CLAIM A GIFT?! Where did you have to pick it up, Baguio?!
Ah, if only it was that simple. But it was – IS more complex than that.
With the legal processes we had plunged into – find the story in my July 28 blog – I shared with a few treasured friends the financial challenge we would be up against. These are friends who know me well enough to know that my prayer request about needing money is NOT an attempt at getting charity, or a prelude to asking for a loan. I really, really, really just needed people who would “sit and watch with me” as I come before my God and lay it all before Him.
Of course, as is almost always the case, He will be leading one of these treasured friends to share some sort of help. Only once in my life did I ever receive a go-signal from the Lord to “go ahead and ask them for money”: when my front-teeth bridge suddenly broke on a Monday, and needed to be replaced asap (unless I didn’t mind going through the whole week with 5 front teeth missing…which I did mind, very much!), and money wasn’t going to come in until Friday that week. I was willing to pay people back because the money that would be coming was sure anyway (collection from our rental business – my tenants always paid on time to avail of a “discounted rate”. Regardless of whatever need may crop up, they made sure to catch the discount deadline! hehe). By Wednesday, I was back at the dentist’s, with more than enough to pay for the work to be done. Everyone who sent help assured me of “no need for payment.”
Anyway…this time, one friend had something a bit more solid to give me. I’m sure you’ve heard of this saying:
Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. TEACH a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.
That friend is the blogging beauty queen, Joyce Burton Titular. But she didn’t exactly “teach me how to fish.”
She gifted me with a day of “learning to fish” from an awesome teacher.
Normally, I’d say, “google him”, but I’ve made it easy. Just click on his name to get to his site, and you can learn more about who he is yourself. And no, I won’t list down my notes from the 9am-6pm seminar. I will share one – JUST ONE lesson from today. The lesson that hit home. Bull’s eye. Right smack in the center.
Take time for ME.
Now that I’m home, I’m letting loose the turmoil that those four little words stirred up in my head.
The seminar was dominated by women. And I know that this was probably the statement that hit us the most. I can’t speak for any of them, though. I can only share my thoughts.
First, pain. Because in spite of my outward vanity – hair, skin care, healthy eating and regular exercise – I know that the number one person who has been neglecting me is…me.
Then guilt. Not for neglecting myself, no. Guilt because underneath what others may see as “wifely and motherly dedication to my family,” there’s the pride that deceives: “if I don’t do it, it’ll never get done.” As if my family will die if I don’t do my duties and obligations as a wife and a mother.
But the truth was so much more painful when I forced myself to face it: I’m afraid. And ironically, not afraid to fail. It only becomes a failure when I stop trying anyway. If I keep on in spite of failing, it becomes learning from my mistakes. Experience.
No. I was — AM — afraid to succeed.
I grew up being told I had no excuse to fail, and yet, no success was ever good enough. And if someone else would compliment an achievement or a talent, there was that “anti-pride” statement that was supposed to keep me humble. It is, to be honest, a curse. It is NOT humility to say:
“Hindi s’ya magaling, marunong lang.”
She’s not good, she just knows how.
That is cursing someone – and if you say it about yourself, you are cursing yourself – with mediocrity. And so I became wary of succeeding, because not only was it never enough, but because it actually left me feeling less valuable than if I had failed…
Jomar spoke of needing to take a day — actually, he said, it’s supposed to be five days — of being by yourself: check into a hotel, order room service all throughout your stay. Not just to pamper yourself, but to be able to take the time to ask yourself important questions.
And have time enough to dig deeply enough for your heart’s answers.
What a wake-up call. You see, I came to the seminar to find a way to be able to make money while working from the comfort of my house…
But my reasons, noble as they may sound, are really prideful, fearful, and selfish.
So, before I will even attempt to begin on the 2-month assignment Jomar gave us — yup, you read it right, he gave us two months to finish one assignment — I have to force myself not to skip this all-important first step.
Taking time for myself. I don’t know how it’s gonna happen. I’d love for it to be a 5-day hotel stay, but something like that I really, honestly, want to have my family with me. Nothing truly noble about that desire. I just want them with me, too, because I know they’ll also enjoy a 5-day hotel stay. With their own rooms. And own bathrooms. No sharing. Just me, by myself. And them, my husband Irl, and our twin daughters Jodie Ann and Roni Lynn, by themselves. For 5 days.
(Well, maybe not separate rooms for Irl and me… *silly girl grin*)
But this day, and everything that happened, everything I have begun to learn, was a gift. Not just from Joyce and Jomar, but from my Heavenly Father. My Daddy. And I know that even as I ask Him for a free 5-day retreat for my whole family (including the dog and the cat), He is ready with His answer. I know this isn’t what Jomar challenged us to do, but I believe that those two things – time for myself and vacation with my family – is not beyond God’s wisdom to work out. After all, all nobility aside, my family is the reason I want to succeed in whatever endeavor lies ahead of me.
That much, I am sure of, even now.
I can see myself now — sitting alone in my hotel resort bedroom, looking up from whatever I am doing, and seeing my husband and our princesses doing their own stuff, maybe by the poolside, or at the beach. And in that moment of quiet amazement at God’s wonderful gift to me, suddenly finding the answers to my questions.
And no longer being afraid to be so good, I can only expect one final result every time: