Guilt, MS, and Time for Myself (these are super-conflicts with each other, ugh)

So….I opted not to work today.  Being a substitute teacher, you can decide things like that.  I had fruit loops, spent time with Jesus, and Skyped with my man.  But you know what I realized?

I FEEL GUILTY TAKING TIME FOR ME.  Seriously.  If I’m not busy being productive and-or doing things for other people, I feel like I’m a lazy pile who is doing nothing.  And I am doing things.  All the time.  Last night when I got back to the 101 after giving a late lesson, my roommates were waiting for me to celebrate LJ’s birthday for real.  So, we had cupcakes and watched a movie.  I hung out with some of my favorite live-in girlies and giggled and talked and cuddled ‘cuz we’re cool like that.  And at 11pm, I went online and turned on “do not call” for sub jobs today.  And I felt guilty.  So, I woke up at 7, and stayed awake until I got up, and was productive.  But now I’m writing a blog post, and frankly, this is taking away from my productivity and all-around list of things I should ACTUALLY be doing.

Why?  If I don’t keep my word and show up when I say I will, GUILT.  Even if I pretend I forgot and am hanging out with friends or something, if they call me, DROP EVERYTHING and convince myself that pretending to forget was a stupid idea in the first place.  I better still show up.

There is a word that I didn’t really know the meaning to until I was almost done with college: NO.  You ask me to do something, and I will agree to it.  I mean, I said “no” when I had a super good, legitimate excuse.  This then turned my having MS into something that I felt guilty about, as well. How can I come to terms with the disease if it has turned into an excuse?  You see my problem.  I pretend I don’t have MS until I notice it and it gets worse.  Or until I don’t want to do something, so I use it as an excuse.  AHHHHH!

You see the problem here.  I physically can’t do things because of the MS.  I have to get more sleep than the average 23-year-old, I can’t move furniture or carry heavyish boxes, and I need time to re-fuel in my day (take a break, crash mid-day, whatever).  I hate not hanging out with my roommates when they all get home, ‘cuz it’s the only time we can hang together.  I hated not being able to help move percussion equipment in college because I didn’t have any energy after and I felt like I was being lazy.  You know where this feeling originally came from?

Those who CAN’T and those who WON’T look the same on the outside.  You never know, maybe I just don’t want to move these things even though it’s a responsibility of mine because I’m LAZY.  Maybe I just want to go to sleep earlier than everyone else because I’m a FUN-KILLER.  Maybe I modify everything super a lot because I’m too LAZY and don’t feel like WORKING HARD enough.  My BIGGEST pet-peeve is when somebody CAN do something, but DOESN’T, because I CAN’T and WANT TO.  If I could, I would do everything.  But maybe that’s why I can’t.

I always look on the bright side (because I’m from the upper Midwest AND an optimist, believe it or not).  Maybe my inability to do everything is a blessing, because if I could I would.  Maybe my need to relax and re-fuel for my physical energy are what I actually need for my emotional and spiritual self, as well.  Maybe I’m not working today so I can have this argument in my head and in response publish this blog post instead of doing laundry right now (because that is needed BEFORE I go to bed, seriously).

Frankly, I don’t care if this post is “liked” or “shared” at all, because I think I just needed to write this for me more than anyone.  I’m gonna go do something that I deem “productive,” but maybe I’ll take time to stray away from my to-do list today.  Who knows?



Quiet Times in the Morning

Yesterday, I didn’t work. I sort of talked myself out of it after waking up at 6 like normal and lying in bed for 40 minutes, not wanting to get up. “I have so much to do today—maybe I could spend some time with Jesus, even!” And not receiving a call by 6:30 let me know there were no music jobs available. So I turned my phone on silent and went back to sleep. Yesterday, I got to hang out with some roommates I hadn’t hung out with in a while because our schedules are opposite, I got to spend a good hour and a half with Jesus, in his word and journaling, and I got stuff done! I had dship with Janae yesterday, and I was telling her about my longer time with Jesus. When I was in college, I woke up at 6, had a quiet time while eating breakfast, went and practiced percussion stuff in the band room for an hour, all before the band room had class at 8am. I was nuts, and wouldn’t be able to do that again. “It’s not like I’m going to wake up at 5am every day.”

And then. This morning (Wednesday, the 4th). I woke up at 4:53am. I looked at my clock, groaned, and turned over. But I didn’t fall back asleep. Actually, I was pretty wide awake. Suddenly, I remembered my words: It’s not like I’m going to get up at 5am every day. I rolled over. “Okay, Jesus, I hear you,” I thought real loud as my roommate rustled in her bed in our shared room. She got up to pee, and I sat up to get up. “What are you doing?” she asked me. “Getting up,” I said, taking my phone off the charger. “Anna…it’s 5am.” I stood up. “I know.” And so….I got ready for the day early and spent a longer time with Jesus over breakfast. On normal work mornings, I read a devo and have to run. But this was great. I’ve been going through Proverbs, and although I have tried before, I feel like I’m being spoken to like never before in that book. (I’ve only tried to read it one other time. It’s repetitive and boring. Or is it?) I even called in to see if there were jobs available, even though they probably wouldn’t have called me for another hour, if they even would have. So I worked at an elementary school today as an EA or a para or whatever you call those people who work with kids with special needs and/or do the “extra” tasks of the building. Some of the kids even remembered me from when I was at that same school filling in for their music teacher. I digress.

I like morning quiet times. Starting off the day with Jesus is like waking up to a pleasant thought or a great song. Okay, so I’m a morning person and like waking up to good music. So, like a good song playing on the radio after you’re ready to wake up? I don’t even know how to describe. Dr. Wile E. Coyote was once telling me of this podcast he listened to about tithing our firstfruits. Morning quiet times are like giving the firstfruits of our day to God. And, frankly, my whole day goes better when I start it by thinking of eternal things and not myself or my to-do list. Sundays are the first day of the week, and most church services are Sunday morning—the firstfruits of our week. We all know about the firstfruits of our paycheck. That’s not even up for argument. But tithing our time? In this way-too-busy world, that’s a crazy concept. But doesn’t it make sense!?

I know that not everyone is a morning person, and that’s okay. (We just have to respect that, and follow set rules to not sing VeggieTales songs until after 9am or to wait until an alarm has gone off to start chattering.) I know people who have quiet times right before bed, after they’ve had a long day and just need some Jesus or in the middle of the day, when they actually do have time. Last week, I told Janae that maybe we should start praying or having our quiet times in between the snooze button. I did it once. I mean, it helped me wake up, but it wasn’t consistent and so not what I needed. I was still in my sleep-position, after all. I don’t know if the 5am thing will fly long-term, but I’m taking a long weekend (substitute teachers can set their own schedules and do stuff like that), so I’ll worry about it later. 😉

When do you spend time with the Lord in your day?