Thursday, December 08, 2011


Hypocrite is a church word.  It used to be about the religious leaders in the Bible when Jesus was on earth. Now it's especially used about the church people on earth who say one thing but do something other than that.  My kids, being PKs (pastor's kids, or the more cringe-worthy "preacher's kid") learned the word "Hypocrite" at about age 4 and use it effectively in everyday conversation.  Usually on one another.

The other day, I had an "aha moment" when I realized I had about t-minus 11 months before one of them uses it on me.  Because I have been guilty of something for awhile now that came to my mind while I was yelling at them.  I believe the classic phrase is that "my heart smote me."  Smote?  That's a weird word when you type it out too.  Past tense of "smite": to smack upside the head. Biblically, that's to death. Metaphorically, it's a rush of guilt, pain, repentance and disgust that knocks you on your butt.

That's why having kids is awesome.  Because they show you so much about who you really are.

I was spouting my "First comes work and then comes play" adage which I learned at home.  My parents were not exactly hypocrites in this area.  For them (and they will totally admit to this, I think) it was first comes work and then comes just a little bit more work.  But that's another topic.  I was frustrated by the extremely normal tendency of the children to flake out, leave their stuff everywhere and forget to do their chores. Faces turned to screens, they were lost in vegging out.  While I had tons of responsibilities to manage. "Come on! First comes work and then comes play.  First put your stuff away, do your chores and then you can relax."

I don't do this.
I don't do my work first and then play.
I dink on Facebook.  Pinterest.  Twitter. Etsy. Shoot, I'll dink on Weather dot com if it keeps me from having to DO something.  I'm Pavlov's dog to every tingle, bell, jingle, buzz, squeak, and other notification on my phone (almost always on me) or my computer (never more than 5 feet away.)  I am living an artificial existence. And I feel frantic a lot of the time.

My  G-mail notifier just "dinged."  I have two messages.  Both on Facebook. I was tagged in something. And my brother made a joke in the long banter my sibs and I have going in a message about how to do our Christmas present exchange for the family.  Neither are urgent.  But it is taking considerable bandwidth to not click over to my other tab and mark them as read. Or worse, follow the links and get involved.  Mulitply this attention deficit by about 30 or more because that's at least how many emails come my way each day and then I wonder why, at the end of the day, I feel nuts.

Last night, it was time to make dinner and I was, as is increasingly the case, floating around aimlessly, looking for my earbuds (I don't even want to know how much of my life I've lost looking for things I don't actually need in order to function.)  I couldn't find them. Which leads me to feel really incompetent. I still hadn't cleaned. I still have a turkey carcass in my fridge from Thanksgiving.  I have a stack of papers and a filter for a vent on my counter that I just keep shuffling. There are 7 blue rags lying flat across the front porch where I left them to dry over a week ago.  I forgot an important deadline for some of Mattie's paperwork.  The dog threw up a pair of underwear she ate off my bathroom floor yesterday.  All of it made me want to scream.  And all of it was preventable. ALL of it.

"I HATE feeling incompetent." I thought. And then I thought,
"Why do you feel incompetent?"  And I answered myself...
"Because I'm not getting stuff done."
"Why not?"

And that's when it hit me.

"First comes work and then comes play."  That moment. That uncomfortable moment when I realized I ask my kids to do something I'm not doing.  That I would be sad if they were living the way I have been living.  That I am using all kinds of things to distract me from things I don't feel like doing. And when they don't get done, I feel worse than if I had just done them and gotten them over with.  Like a magnet the idea drew from my memory the sermon about worship.  That one that still kind of haunts me.  That worship isn't an escape from reality where we sing pretty songs that make us feel better about things sucking.  It's looking reality in the face. It's being fully awake to all that's wrong and all that's right about God.

It also drew out the memory of a daily email I get about money.  That many wealthy people aren't necessarily happy.  But some are.  A study showed that these people identified which things really made them happy and spent money on those things and chose not to spend money on things that didn't.  The email encouraged you to look at your receipts and identify which things you still feel good about and which things you kind of hated yourself for...for example...Ate at a local restaurant, not a chain...Thumbs up.  Ate at a fast food restaurant, thumbs down.  I thought..."what if you used that principle for your other time?"  Spent 2 hours dinking online...felt rushed and crappy.  Spent an hour with a friend and an hour picking up the house....awesomeness.

My weird, unformed days require that I think like this. Otherwise, I'm going to a hypocrite who wastes the time that God gives me, vegging out and setting a crappy example for my kids of what true happiness is.

Today, I'm going to try to do differently.  First the work that matters most: Taking care of my soul and listening to God (which often involves blogging, in case you wondered), then making my home good for my family, then running my business in an orderly way that lets me be available to my friends. 

Doctor Carter used to tell me, "There is always enough time in the day to do God's will." Perhaps it's trite. But I tend to believe that I'm not living a very good life when I am either frantic or zoned out.  There is a time and place for relaxing well. But I bet I'll be better at that when I do my work first and then play.



I'm kind of hating to see you beat up on yourself. But, if it makes you feel better about things, I completely support your revised approach!

Sara said...

I feel the same way today :( I am a huge hypocrite when it comes to many things and I see how my children show me this.

I have a smaller house, so there really is less for me to do around it, and I waist time when I should be doing something. My children are not at the age yet where I tell them to work and then play...because I often like to play and then work only when I have too....something that I see my 2and1/2yr old already do.

I think the bigger areas for me is I'll tell my oldest to be kind, and loving in her reproach to her brother and yet find myself not being so kind and loving in my reproaches to her...ouch...So many of the negative things she does has really been through watching me. IT is convicting, it is challenging, and then I am left with the question.."So now that I See the problem what am I going to do about it?"

Oh such good thoughts Ness :) Thanks for being honest

klasieprof said...

MMN...I love me some ness!

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