“My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no..you need to let it go” (this song is so catchy. You are welcome for it being stuck in your head)
My children were playing after school on the playground yesterday. It didn’t take long for a game of tag to begin, little ones dodging and lunging around the kid that was ‘it’. My second-born was ‘it’ for awhile. Awhile considering he was the youngest in the bunch and his older brother and his friends were naturally quicker.
Soon he grew tired of the game and walked away to find my youngest son. The dreaded role of ‘it’ was now open. I thought the game would disperse, but just as it was ending someone decided that a little girl who had just joined to play would now commence as the one chasing everyone else. She was noticeably smaller than the boys she was chasing, four or five by my guess, giving it all she could to catch the boys giggling, yelling, and running away from her.
I watched for awhile, then decided to call my oldest over to give him the “let her tag you” speech. His friend came along and I told them there was no way she could catch any of the boys, and to give her reprieve if only for a minute. He listened and said “but mom, she wants to be it.” His friend agreed. “No one wants to be it” I said, to which they both shook their heads and repeated that she indeed wanted to be it, and when she caught one of them THEN they had to be her husband.
“I don’t want to be her husband mom” Beckett said. “Guess what, I’m not dressed for a wedding and she has to ask my permission anyway, so don’t worry you won’t be her husband today.” I said. And off they ran to re-join the game.
I don’t have a daughter, but as I watched I wondered if it really did start that early, the chasing of a man. I watched her run around the huddled up laughing boys. Watched her flail her arms at each one, almost reaching them, almost tagging them. I couldn’t remember if I chased boys at that age. Maybe I did. Maybe that’s what we do as women. Chase things.
The when, then stuck with me though.
‘WHEN she catches us, THEN we have to be her husband.’
That is what we are chasing as women, as anyone I guess, the WHEN, THEN. When I catch the thing I am flailing around trying to catch, then I will make it have value. Then I will have value.
I thought about my own when, then(S) in my life, thought about why they mattered. Thought about the lies I believe in my when, then(s).
When the kids are all in school, then I can really focus on my mental health and career.
When Josh and I are out of debt, then we can give like I want to.
When Josh and I make more money, then of course we can give like we want to.
When I am older, and more experienced, then I can be a writer.
When I have more time, then I can exercise.
When Josh changes, then I will change.
When we sale our house, then we can have a competitive down payment on the house I really want. (yeah, so that’s not a lie. I need to sale our current house, come look at it.-you feel me?)
Thought about other when, then(s) that people I love deal with …..
When we have a baby, then our marriage will be okay.
When we get through this or that or whatever then I will love my spouse.
When I find a man, then I will have purpose. Value. Self-respect. I will be fulfilled. Same as for when I find a woman.
When I loose weight, then I will love my body.
When I get the promotion, or title, then I will be respected.
When we deal with our major family issues, then we will have peace.
When I stop drinking, then I will start dealing with the reasons why I drink.
When, then, when, then, when, then….
I feel winded.
So I had to check myself. Because what about NOW? Because now I have issues that need to be dealt with. Now I need to wake up and choose my husband. Now I need to – above all things – take care of my mental health. Now I need to focus on my small business. Now I need to write. Now I need to give. Today. Right now. Not when, then.
But I stall. It is scary on the other side of the cliff. Our when, then(s) partner with fear, because ain’t nobody got time to dig in and do the work required on themselves. It is so vulnerable there. And if we are attaching self-worth, respect, ownership, dreams, goals, healing, to the other side of our when, then(s)-then we gotta get to the other side.
Friends, your marriage will not get better when kids come along. Your marriage will get better with tried and true hard work and change. You will not truly love the skin the good Lord gave you when you start eating healthy and exercising if you don’t first love it enough to take care of it now. Your spouse, man, woman, will never fill the void you want them to fill if you first don’t explore the space yourself. No promotion, title, pay raise, or recognition will hold the respect you need if you first don’t understand the importance of respecting yourself as is. Today. You won’t give more when you have more, because you didn’t give little when you had little. And peace…peace in families comes from those who are peacemakers. Not side-line observers.
All this NOW stuff is big heart issue stuff. It’s looking in the mirror stuff. It’s pulling back the rug stuff. It’s white elephant in the room asked to take a bow stuff. Sweet Jesus it is hard, brutal emotional stuff. Uncomfortable stuff.
But I know, after watching that sweet girl chase and chase today, that their is no peace in when, then(s). Only exhaustion and frustration.
NOW-we figure out what we are chasing.
I’m digging in with you, trying to figure out what I am chasing that will satisfy this longing for success and respect. Why is it so important? Why do other people’s opinions matter?
I know to whom I belong , and by whom I am loved. Both here and in Heaven. Why is this not enough?
I hope you ask yourself some questions. I hope you find a safe person to talk to. I hope you stop flailing. I hope you rest your weary legs and stop chasing worth in something or someone.
I am pretty tired myself.
And ladies, “If I want a man, then I’m gonna get a man. But it’s never my priority.” Head down, only running in your lane, not worried about what other people have going on. Check off your bucket list, and know who you are. I promise the man you are looking for will find you when you are looking away. And he will LOVE how much you LOVE and RESPECT yourself. It is so very attractive.
If he doesn’t, run away as fast as you can. Just run. But don’t be the girl who is “it”. You are swatting at emptiness.
Strength to rest and re-evaluate what we are chasing. Strength to identify our when, then(s) that are shutting us down. Strength for it all. Carpe Diem.
So if you have followed the blog long, you know I am a Christ-follower. Can I tell you something great? There is no when,then with Jesus. It’s a when-right now. When you choose Jesus-he chooses you. Right away. He chooses you. He’s been waiting for you. No when you choose me, then you get your life together, then I choose you. No when you love me, then you stop sinning, then I love you. He is a present lover of you. Sometimes he is too big for me to think about, his love too wide open, his mercy too freely given, his forgiveness too unending. Sometimes He is overwhelming. But even still, He doesn’t put me in a situation that I need to perform to understand how He works. And HE still came for us, for me,-when we were sinners-and ended all the rat racing with his death on the cross. He came for you.
~We love, because HE first loved us.~ I love, because He showed me what love is.
Romans 5:8, 1st John 4:19.
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Above is a nod to Meghan Trainor’s NO-but video not ok for little eyes- Song is groovy though! Plus I found a reason to name this post something goofy…
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