So I was looking through some thoughts I use to write when I was too much of a pansy to start a blog. Sometimes I read things I wrote in the past and think “Oh thank GOD I didn’t display this for the public eye!” But every once in a blue moon I stumble on an old thought my younger self had and I think “hmm, this ole cat has some depth.” Again, only once in a blue moon. Below are some thoughts I wrote nearly 2 years ago right after Meg. Something I needed to read again. I guess some lessons are just “lessons for life”. I hope I never stop learning.
The Counting Game
Being a mom for now 8 weeks (happy 2 months Meg!), my mind is beginning to shape into “mommy brain”. However I’m still waiting on the eyes in the back of my head to appear. With a few months under my belt, my thoughts are shifting (THANKFULLY) from poop and pee to naps and smiles. Sometimes I even think ahead to ballet or soccer? Cheerleading (God help me) or choir? Track or dance? Maybe, knock on wood, even photography? Poor Meg. Not even controlling her own spit and I’m gearing up for extra curriculars!
I know I’m probably not alone in the world of dreaming ahead moms. More than likely most of us have envisioned the next phase of our child’s life. However, lately I’ve realized a habit in myself that has reared its ugly head even more so since motherhood. Counting. Counting seems like a harmless skill we teach our 3 year olds but in reality can be a dangerous trap that controls our lives. When I got pregnant I counted down the months to Meg’s birth. Then when she was born I counted her weight, how long she ate, how many “stinkies” she made. Now it’s the length she sleeps (not long enough!), how many times she holds her head up; what is the shortest amount of time I can take to shower? Counting-All things. All day.
Then I began to realize that I not only do that in “mommydom” but in other things. In working it was, “how long until lunch?” In marriage it’s “how many minutes late is my husband”? The counting extends to calorie intake, waiting in line to order food, how many quiet times I’ve had this week. When is Christmas? My birthday? Vacation? No area of life is safe from the counting game. The harm comes not from the counting but what the counting produces. Impatience. Which is the foundation for a life of judging others, unreachable expectations, nagging loved ones, criticizing friends, and neglecting joy.
As was said above, counting in and of itself is not harmful. We should count how much we spend to be good stewards of our money. We should be aware of calories so our bodies stay in shape. There is certainly nothing wrong with a countdown to your birthday (16 days for me)! And as my pastor Michael Manuel says, sometimes a countdown is good for those seasons of life where you need a light at the end of the tunnel. Counting can be a useful tool to organize, enrich and excite life.
To count or not to count? What’s the answer to this question. For me, I will continue to count. I will count what is necessary and I will count what is joyful but I will not count my life away. I’ll make dinner joyfully instead of counting how many things Robby has missed helping with in his 20 minutes of being late. I’ll count my calories so I can be healthy AND have a huge piece of cake to commemorate major holidays. I’ll stop counting the number of quiet times and start counting my blessings. I’ll count Meg’s smiles instead of tummy time and I’ll enjoy the conversations with my mom instead of always “having to go”.
Maybe you are a naturally laid back soul. The kind that operates like you live in a small African village where time is arranged by the sun and not a watch. Control and scheduling your life has never been an issue and you embrace each moment like it’s your last. Give praise for that-and teach me! But if there are any of you out there counting to pass the time I urge you to stop. Be still. Know he is God and delight in the life he has given you. And when you see me-ask if I’m doing the same.