Sunday, March 15, 2015
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Lately, maybe it's because I am entering middle age, I have grown weary of opinions. I am a super passionate person and I want to make a difference in the world, but I don't feel the weight of it as much as I did in the last decade. In my 30s I had it all figured out. I mean, all of it. I could give you advice about anything and everything and help you create a Christian self-improvement plan in 5 easy steps. Most of those steps included putting up firm boundaries around your behavior in a handful of areas.
I joke with my friends that life looked pretty and was amazingly smooth in my early 30s because I put myself and my family in a playpen (not a cage, but same concept). Every time anyone tried to crawl out of the playpen, I pulled them back in and we were all safe. I even tried to bring all of my friends into my playpen, thankfully, most of them resisted. The ones who joined me are still untangling themselves from the heavy weight of legalistic ideas we developed.
While inside of the playpen, I could look out at others who seemed to be struggling and form "educated" opinions based on what I knew about their life...Only, what I saw as obvious correlations between actions and circumstances may not have necessarily had a direct cause and effect relationship and even if they did, why was it any of my business. Mostly, I made it my business because I was seeking to live the best life I could, so I wanted to "learn" from other's mistakes so as to not make them myself. Blah blah blah...
We all make mistakes. We learn and grow from those mistakes. Trying to oh so carefully maneuver through life without ever making a mistake is exhausting and impossible. There is NO growth without mistakes. Trees can't even develop a strong root system (foundation) without weather beating against them. Why do we think that we can have any depth of character whatsoever without weathering a few storms ourselves.
Playpens are safe but they are small and after a while they are boring. You can't experience much of the world from inside your playpen and very few people can fit in there with you. It's lonely. It's lame and you can't impact your world or even reach them without screaming really loudly.
I screamed really loudly when I was in my playpen. My opinions were strong and vast. It's when I first started this blog and if you read way back then, you will see what I mean. I am thankful for my playpen, but I am so glad I am free.
Since escaping, I can see that God didn't build the playpen, I did. He wasn't holding me captive or asking me to share my "Christian self-improvement plan" with the world. He wanted me to share the gospel, and thankfully since he can speak through any method he chooses, even a donkey, he did use me to speak truth into some people's lives. He filtered out the yucky opinions I had when I spoke sometimes. I am so grateful for that.
The farther I get from that playpen, the more I relish my freedom. I fight those opinions daily sometimes still, and I have found that actually engaging in some of that behavior that I so strongly judged is curing my of my opinions...I am NOT suggesting that sinning is advisable. I am not even talking about sin. I am talking about those gray areas or even just social hot topics that we love to have opinions about. Like, clothing budgets, social drinking, cars we drive, media we watch and listen to, selfies we take, how much or how little we work out, what we eat, whether we co-sleep, nurse or baby-wear and how we parent...
SO here are a few things I have done in the past few years that I have lived through and also lost my strong opinions about so that I can really love others without analyzing them constantly. I know most people won't care, but my kids will someday, and I never want them to feel the heavy burden of their own or other's opinions, so I share the baby steps out of legalism I am taking:
I now allow myself to drink and enjoy wine or a mixed drink...I can have one or even a few glasses without any guilt and I can see others drinking a glass of wine with no opinion about it.
I bought a new 12 passenger van, because we can afford it and I do not feel guilty for not building an orphanage with the money. Granted, it was so much less expensive than a huge SUV, but still, a $500 per month car payment was grounds for serious Jeanna-unapproving opinions a few years ago.
I can wear leggings without a long dress and allow others to do the same. You laugh, but seriously, the depths of my opinions were limitless.
If I get a Starbucks latte more than once a week, I don't feel that I have to give a long drawn-out explanation of how, "I never spend this kind of money...I have a gift card..." whatever...gross.
I actually ordered clothes from Stitch Fix which seemed crazy extravagant this month, and it wasn't, and I want to tell the world about how much joy it gave me.
I wear tank tops and post pictures of myself that show my tattoos. Watch out. I'm crazy. Just playing, and I never had opinions about that, but my former church and my parents do, so at 41 I am still getting over that one.
I feed my bebe 1 bottle of formula almost every day and nurse the rest. Even if I fed her formula for every meal, I'd be ok with that and have no opinions about others making their own choices.
We have a house cleaning crew clean our house once a month even though we both work from home.(this cracks me up because just a little over a year ago, I owned a cleaning company. lol) It felt kind of ridic at first, but it saves us so much time and we are time people. We value time more than money. If I can pay someone to free me up to spend time with fam and friends, I'd rather give up money than precious time. ---see, I am still making excuses. Let it go, Jeanna.
I put my kiddos in public school for a year last year and it was the best thing I could've done to rid myself of my opinions of public schoolers. We both taught public school, but I realized I had so much pride in the fact that we homeschooled. Putting them in school validated to me that our kids will be fine with or without our home-education and that there are many benefits to both methods. No more judgment.
I have been to a medspa and I have partaken in a few skincare treatments that I swore I never would spend the money on...and not only am I glad that I have, I no longer judge people who do.
After being on staff at two churches and having strong opinions against "church shopping" I no longer shame people for taking their time to make this decision. It is a HUGE one.
I believe God's sovereignty trumps our freewill in a way we will never understand, and I can openly share that, but I will not argue about it, nor do I have any opinions about people who hold the opposite belief.
I have done and still do Yoga and worship Jesus Christ while I do it, but I can also respect that other people think it is wrong without getting defensive.
Oh, and the biggest one of all...I am a working mom. I work around 40 hours a week and I used to have pretty strong opinions about that topic. Ouchie...I'm still reconciling that in my heart, especially since my 5 year old asks me if my very favorite thing in the world is essential oils because that's all I ever do or talk about.
I could go on and on. This is fun. All I am saying is I had a very long and detailed list of don'ts and it was suffocating, paralyzing and off-putting. I am not liberal, even though many believe I am, but I do know where my truth and freedom lie...and it's NOT in opinions. I tell my own head to pipe down when I hear opinions creeping in and I encourage y'all to do the same. The only opinion of us that matters is the opinion of our maker and when we are walking with him, he is well-pleased.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Monday, January 19, 2015
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Friday, January 2, 2015
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
When you have 4 kiddos, your 5th pregnancy flies by, and you usually want it to. You can't wait to meet this sweet baby, get her all bonded into the family and get on with your life. (That's reality)
But, honestly, being pregnant at 40 and having no preggo buddies to share preggo stories with is hard for this extrovert! I seriously have started what my friends are calling a post-pregnancy bucket list of all the things I can't wait to do (for myself) when bebe gets here: margaritas, crossfit, more tattoos, girl's nights, have a glass of wine midday w lunch (I've never done that), get in even better shape than before...but wait! Why am I focused on time passing so quickly?
All of those things are fun, but totally selfish in light of the miracle that's happening inside of me. I don't want to wish away the days and months until she's here. Partnering w God in the miraculous creation of life is one of the greatest privileges of a being a woman. I want to savor every change in my body, every movement, every kick and early glimpse that I am lucky enough to get of her while she's in still my womb. I do not want to take for granted this incredible gift, especially in light of the fact that there was a time I believed & was told I'd never have my own babies. So, if you see me, remind me of this: that I am blessed and chosen and privileged to carry another life into this world! It is a beautiful miraculous thing; the most beautiful experience imaginable.
I love being pregnant! I love labor and delivery, and I love being a Momma! Momma to five Lichtenkids. Cray.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Finally posting these. We clean up pretty good. Sure, we may choose very different wardrobes for fam pictures than most, but hey...we are all about color round here. This is us. These pics pretty much sum up our kiddo's personalities. Flora Jones did a beautiful job!
My kids are being robbed of my bloggy rantings, memories and philosophizing lately. I am going to start writing again very very soon! Promise.