Courageously Removing Behinds From Sofa

Welcome to Five For Ten! Click that link to learn more, and then join me here for the next ten days as I participate in Five for Ten.

I don’t know yet whether my posts will align with the overall Wonder, Friend goal of musings, discussion and answers. I hemmed and hawed too long before I decided to take the plunge, so I really haven’t worked out the details yet. I ultimately decided that lack of planning was not reason enough to pass up this opportunity.

It’s been years since I had a writing assignment, and seeing as getting back into practice was the original impetus behind Wonder, Friend, I thought ten days’ worth of writing assignments might be good for me.

That said, when I saw today’s topic I very nearly backed right out of this gig. Courage. What do I have to say about courage? I’m the queen of playing it safe. So here goes… I hope you enjoy the next ten days as much as I anticipate enjoying them.

Courage.

The word immediately brings some images to mind. A cowardly lion in search of courage. A brave soldier calling on every ounce of courage in his being.

What about the day-to-day courage? What about the courage required to put one foot in front of the other every day? The courage to be the person you were born to be?

Last night, my husband and I sat across from each other and each said, “I’m disappointed. This is not what I had in mind.”

Lest you jump to the obvious, but wrong, conclusions, we are not having marital difficulties with a capital D. In fact, we’re quite possibly the only two people on the planet who think the other is funny. This morning at breakfast I nearly wet my pants when he inadvertently made an off-color remark involving a banana. That’s all I’m saying. We were made for each other. The only two people on the planet who can stand us in such quantity.

But in this real life business of managing career and family and everything in between, we are kind of failing. No, we are totally failing.

One small caveat: The kids. They are fed, clothed and loved. We do all we can to nourish their minds and spirits. We play with them and laugh with them and do all we can to teach them how to be productive citizens of the world. They are the one area where we will say we’re succeeding. So please don’t call the authorities after reading the preceding paragraph.

Where we’re failing is, well, everywhere else. We’re out of shape. Over tired. Under nourished. Over caffienated. Disorganized. Disoriented. Disillusioned. Spiritually floundering.

Both of us have been aware of our failings for a while, but nobody said anything. Finally, this past Saturday I got a little mad. Um, no. A lot mad. Crazy mad. The kind of mad where your vision blurs a bit. Anyone familiar with that? No? Count yourself blessed, because it’s not a good feeling at all.

The kids were tucked away in bed and I walked into our kitchen and, frankly, lost it. The house was out of order, I could not think of one real thing we’d accomplished that day, and my husband and I had spent almost no time together. Certainly we hadn’t spent any quality time together. We had not had a true conversation all day. Instead we communicated in fits and starts, between taking care of the kids and doing all the “stuff” we had to do that day.

At the time I could not explain to my husband why I was so angry, although I knew. I knew I was tired of merely surviving every day instead of living every day. So I screwed up all my courage last night, sat down across from my husband, and told him why I had been so angry the day before.

Turns out, he felt the same way.

We leaned on our courage – lost for so long, but now so needed – and laid out all the disappointments. We listened. We discussed solutions. Set new goals. Agreed to disagree on a few points.

I know that this is such a first-world problem. We’re blessed beyond belief and we know that. We do – I promise. No need for lectures. The problem, as we see it, is that we’re squandering our blessings. We’re not doing all we are capable of. We are ashamed that we are not accomplishing more with the gifts we’ve been given.

Why aren’t we doing more?

We decided it boils down to fear. We can’t quite put our finger on what we’re afraid of in each instance where our life is lacking. It’s clear, however, that our behinds will stay firmly planted to our sofa if we don’t employ a little more courage every day.

12 Comments

  1. Great post! Found you through Momalom!

    Kids plus exercise (which my husband and I somehow do) makes life infinitely harder! Constantly evaluating how I can make it to exercise each week and be a proper parent takes the scheduling skill of a general! Still – we must, right?

  2. Oh my goodness! We are all right there with you discussing the very same things – me especially! It is so very courageous to admit your imperfections and that things have to change. I have been there OH SOOOOO MANY TIMES!

    As long as we keep on trying, and working on it together, as a couple, you will make great, seriously…great progress!

    So glad I “found” you through Momalom!

  3. I’m so glad you found the courage to open up to your husband! And what a relief he was feeling the same way. I love how you stated that you want to live each day, not just survive each day. I know that feeling so well. Each day is a blur. A blur of cleaning the same messes over and over, feeding the same foods over and over, having the same discussions over and over… it becomes exhausting and so frustrating. But to find the courage to make some changes? That takes strength. To do it before you just throw your hands up in disgust? Something I need to do too.

    Thanks for this post and great to have found you here!

  4. Excellent post. And that did take courage to admit failings and set goals to try to live up to. And tnow you just nee to have the courage to step toward those goals.

  5. Stopping by from Momalom… :)
    I won’t go into it too much, but I think my husband and I have been in that same exact spot. The discontent, laying down the line, where did we get where we are in this craziness, totally in love but totally lacking in a few ways…
    So yeah, this resonates with me. And I’m glad to have seen your take on courage!

  6. Kelly /

    I loved reading your post, not just because most of the world can relate, but you brought up some really valid points. I never connected courage to communication, but you are so right. I tend to avoid conflicts at all costs and a lot of times that means keeping things shut inside until I’m about to blow. Courage is the first step in order to even think about communicating, I just never realized it. I think part of the reason we can lack courage so often is that we have that fear of failing. If we talk about it than we risk the other person agreeing that we might be performing less than perfect in certain areas. Thanks for sharing such an important topic.

  7. There is courage in contentment. Best of luck finding your way to that place that is less surviving and more living. You’re already halfway there having found each other and acknowledging that you need more out of your lives! Happy Five For Ten!

  8. So much of this reflects my own life. My Sweetie may have made the same banana joke, even. We are great at parenting. But everything else–the world within which the parenting happens–is so so difficult. And it’s so easy to get caught up and angry and frustrated and full of self pity. How amazing that you and your husband had the courage to face it. To admit there needs to be change. To go for it. I love this. I love the real struggle. And the real attack. That you will go after what you want and what you know you need and deserve.

  9. Popping in from Momalom!

    I’m sorry you feel like you’re floundering, but I had to smile when I read your post. I feel like I’m sorta failing all the time, I swear. It’s so discouraging and maddening.

    But you and your husband have the courage to talk about what needs to be changed, and just that is a sign that you’ll do just fine.

  10. Your relationship with your husband is very similar to mine with my husband–he and I are PERFECT for each other. For real.

    My husband is (unfortunately) gone quite a lot, so when he is home I often find myself getting angry at him for little things. Yes, this does happen more during certain times of the month, but it still doesn’t excuse the behavior. During this last bit, I finally sat down and explained everything to my husband. He sat, listened, and helped me figure out how I could change. It was relieving.

    But, the hardest part is acting on those changes. Courage indeed.

  11. Missy,

    Loved the honesty in this post. I think all of couples/families have been there. Floating, Going in circles and often wondering what we are doing. It is good to have a dialogue – I think that is the hardest step. You will get through it, with him.

    Glad you plunged into Five for Ten.

  12. Deanna /

    Love your post and completely appropriate to fall in line with the Beth Moore Bible Study on Esther Monday night-it was about fear!!! The three points from the evening were: 1. We have a choice. 2. We have to face fear. 3. We have to TAKE THE COURAGE. It is there for us we just have to take it!! Do you know what the most frequent or common command in the Bible is??? Do not be afraid!! And you have to realize you don’t have to succeed or do everything. So you don’t have the house completely picked up . . . ask yourself “then what?” You don’t prepare a gourmet dinner for your in-laws . . . ask yourself “then what?” People need to learn to cut themselves some slack . . . right now the utmost important job you and hubby have is raising your children and you are doing an awesome job! Enjoy it with all your heart because your kids are little only once! This is God’s gift to you and he gave you the gift of being able to stay home with them to raise them. As your kids get older it is easier to add some dimension to your life with volunteering, doing fun runs and charity walks with them. You already could do some of those with the kids and make it a family affair! Little things like when you are grocery shopping have your little ones pick out 5 cans of vegetables for the food shelf. Help your kiddo write a letter to a soldier and help him mail it off. You can add lots of meaning to your life with some very simple changes. Do a food drive on your street and get the all the neighborhood kids involved, or whatever organization that is in need . . . didn’t I read somewhere baby formula was needed?? I know a neighbor of yours had a small carnival with some of the neighborhood kids and the money they raised went to the local elementary school for books! Just ideas! Ok . . . got a little crazy but I have passion at least right???? Take care!

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