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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

On Slip -Ups, Significance & Spider Man Soup

Well, lookie there. It's Tuesday and I haven't written in over a week. I would like to tell you that I've been crazy busy with other important tasks, but it's not necessarily true. It just appears that my resolution to write three times a week and to submit articles to various publications apparently worked out as well as my resolution to cut down on sugar and participate in that spin class at the gym.

Hello, six unfinished drafts, empty box of Junior Mints, and no remaining episodes of The Crown on Netflix.

Good-bye, Imaginary 2017 Me.

Well, as we all know His mercies are new every day, so I went to bed Sunday night thinking I'd wake up yesterday morning shot out of a cannon and ready to make Jenn Skinner great again.

#MJSGA (or for the first time. #MJSGFTFT)

When my alarm went off at 6:00 am I was sure that there had been a huge slip-up and that when I had gone to bed at 10:30 pm, I had accidentally set my alarm for maybe 11:30 pm. Subsequently, I hit my snooze button about six times and missed the early morning writing window. I stumbled downstairs, made some coffee and told myself that I would just hop on Facebook real quick before the kids woke up and then I'd promptly get to Bible Study, some important writing and some serious adulting after the kids went to school.

Mmmmhmmm. Just a little innocent hop on over to Facebook where dreams, motivation, inspiration, self-esteem and all sense of human decency die painful deaths.

In addition to reading ALL THE OPINIONS ON ALL THE MATTERS, I found that social media is not only there to tell you that all that you value and all that you think and every word you utter is ten kinds of wrong, it is also there to tell you that there are things that you did not know you could do wrong that you are, in fact, doing wrong.

Listen, be assured, the list of our inadequacies has no limit. There is not just one bobby pin mistake we're making, There are EIGHT. EIGHT MISTAKES.

That reminded me that earlier in the week I had saved an article declaring 478 things you need to stop doing for your kids. Or maybe it was 10 things, but with my self-esteem issues at that moment it seemed like more. I sheepishly clicked on that article and found that it was from a blog which aims to help you "raise a family of significance."

Dear Future Therapist: Be ready for the session where my kid tells you that he's insignificant because I made him a breakfast taco a few times in January of 2017.

Perhaps, I was being a tad sensitive yesterday. I'm sure that blog is great and has some really important things to share. I'll try to go back to it on a different day.

For today, I'm realizing that I won't likely being doing anything significant today either. I've got a kid home sick for the 2nd day in a row. Actually, I've got a sick adult kid. He's still sleeping off his fever and it's almost 11:00 am. Things are different than when he was home sick from school ten years ago. He can heat up his own soup. He can take his own temperature and swallow Advil tablets on his own, instead of having me give him grape flavored Motrin in a spoon. Yesterday he didn't watch twelve episodes of Phineas and Ferb. Instead, we cracked up watching Saturday Night Live reruns. We listened to a very, very, very detailed analysis of Tom Brady's success as a quarterback. VERY detailed. Later he wanted to watch the first press conference by the new administration's press secretary on CNN. He had to explain some of the topics to me. Today, I could leave him here and get all the things done I didn't do yesterday. I could hole up in Starbucks and write all day long. I don't have to cancel appointments and meetings. I can do all kinds of significant things.

But here's the deal. Maybe I'll do everything wrong today and maybe I won't even do anything wrong or right. Maybe I'll do nothing of significance at all. But maybe our 2017 Best Selves should just take it day by day.

I am slipping up in a number of ways every single day. There are things we do for our kids that we shouldn't. There are things we do for our kids that we should. There are words that I write that are garbage and there are words that I write that are meaningful and helpful. Some days I am rocking this motherhood thing, but most days I'm on the phone with a friend discussing the fact that neither of us knows how in the world we are supposed to adequately parent teenagers and that we literally have no plan at all to deal with what might be to come. Some days I'm striking things off the list like nobody's business and some days I'm sitting on the couch next to my kid wasting time watching the dumbest, most hilarious youtube videos you could ever imagine.

No matter what, without a doubt, voices will continue to tell us that we're doing it wrong. And often those voices will be our own.

Today I will simply try to make the people in my home know that they are significant to me. And even more, I want each son to know that the story of his significance is not wrapped up in the approval of any human voice, not even in that of his own mother.

The God of all creation has numbered the hairs on our heads. He has made us in His own image. Jeremiah tells us that the Lord says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart."

That's all the significance my children or you or I need. I don't need a schedule full of worthy tasks to make me important. I don't need a list of mistakes I'm making or things I'm doing wrong to tell me that I will daily, hourly fall short of the glory of God. I know that. I remind myself of it all the time.

But I would do well to remind my children and myself of other truths that I know just as well. The only thing I have to do today is what my pastor mentioned last week: "to love as we have been loved first; to forgive as we have been forgiven first; to take grace out into the world as we have been shown grace first."

I'm going to start with this. My son is an adult now. He is smart and capable and mature. His fever is breaking and he doesn't need me to stick around all day and make him lunch or bring him his medicine. Still, when I spotted this at the grocery store yesterday, I figured I'd love as I was loved first. And I'd take some grace to him as I've been shown grace first. Let's just call it some old school grace for my biggest little boy.

Ain't nobody too old for Spider Man Soup.

As a popular song says, you are significant not because of what you do or who you are, but because of what He's done and because of whose you are. Have a blessed day, friends.

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