I’ve been in a funk. It’s hung over me like a cloud since a month or so after Asher was born. I’m not sure if it was his colicky nights of constant screaming, the reality of having two kids needing me and the adjustment from having quiet evenings to myself after Zeek went to bed, to having zero time for myself because a screaming newborn demanded my attention, a husband finishing up his last two terms of nursing school, or all of the above… but I was in a major funk.
I’m sure my close friends could tell you. I sank into a roll of Negative Nancy. Of a complainer. I could hear myself whining all the time to my closest friends about how hard life was with a screaming baby and how I “never” got a break because Skyler was too busy with school. I complained about the sometimes intense demands from my kids, but mostly I complained about my husband. I could hear myself and hear the words I was saying and hating myself for saying them… but I just couldn’t stop myself. Ever been there? Where you’re annoying yourself because you can hear yourself being negative and mean but you JUST.CAN’T.STOP??
Even in all of that, even with knowing I was in a funk and I was irritated at myself for my constant complaining, I still had the gall to think, “Ugh, I wish other people knew what it was like to be married to Skyler sometimes. Doesn’t that man see how hard my life is right now? Can’t he do something to help me out a little more?!” How easy my complaints about my husband can flow and I can list several reasons why it can be challenging to be married to HIM. But how often do I ask myself, “Well Kayla, what exactly is it like to be married to YOU?!”
That one makes me stop and think a little more. Usually I come up with an answer like this, “Well, I’m a pretty good wife. I give him a (pretty) clean house, I (often) put dinner (and lunch and breakfast) on the table, I am a (pretty) good mom to his kids, I am (mostly) nice to him and serve him when the kids aren’t needing me….”
I sound like a total winner, huh?
At least, I thought so. I certainly wasn’t the problem. He was the problem and the reason I couldn’t get out of my funk because he just wasn’t doing anything to help me!
Do any of you have “male-bashing” friends? *raises hand* I’m sad to say that I’ve been known to have a few and to partake in the criticism of our men. It never leaves me feeling better after “venting” about my husband. It always has left me feeling even worse because then I’m validated and “yeah, you’re right Kayla, your husband DOES sound like the pits!” But it’s only because I’ve painted him in that light, am I right?
A few weeks ago, I had the courage to really look at my complaining, Negative Nancy funk and try to dissect it and find the problem. I prayed that God would give me clarity and that I could see what was causing such a cloud over my life. What it was that was making me so “miserable”. What it was that was making me complain so much.
In order to really make effort to find some answers and get out of my funk, I knew I needed some alone time and since night time wasn’t working out so much, I decided I better just go to bed with the kids and wake up at 6 to get a couple hours of alone time in the morning. I haven’t been a morning person since quitting my office job a few months before Zeek was born, so I knew this would take some effort. I didn’t want to set an alarm and risk waking up the baby or Skyler, so I prayed that God would wake me up in the mornings. I know my dad has done this for years – relied on God to be his alarm clock so that he can have an hour of time with God before going to work at 6 am. He has never missed a morning. I took this challenge and asked God to please wake me up at 6 for some quiet time with Him. I have been doing this for nearly 3 weeks now and probably 70% of the time, I have woken up, checked the clock and it’s 6:00. On the dot. I smile every morning, thanking God for waking me up. Other mornings has been right around 6, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how many mornings have been 6 am sharp. God has a sense of humor. You ask to be woken up at 6? Done. 🙂
So, I started my days waking up early and doing some reading and praying. After a few days, I asked God to show me what he would like me to be reading or doing to help myself out of my funk, because while Bible reading and spending time in prayer with God is always good, I’m not always the best at subtle hints and need some clear cut help!
Then I read this post by this girl Megan, who I have been getting to know a little better. And I thought, wow. She’s on to something (go read it!). The very next day, my friend Whitney wrote up this blog post and titled it “Gripes be Gone”. I wasn’t sure what exactly she was leading up to with just the title, so I had to click it. She wrote about reading a new book called “What’s it like to be married to me? And other dangerous questions” by Linda Dillow. When I read the title, I knew I had to read that book. I didn’t really want to – I feared what I might read that would make me *actually* have to do something to change…. but I knew I needed to. I knew it’s what God put in front of me as an answer to my “what should I be reading?” question.
I’ve been spending my mornings for the last few weeks reading this book, journaling and spending time in prayer. Oh, and enjoying some much needed cups of coffee in the quiet of the morning. (Not because I need the coffee but because I’ve learned I can never just SIT and enjoy a full cup of coffee when the kids are awake! HA!) I’ve decided that I really like alone time in the morning much more than I ever enjoyed it at night time. There’s something so fresh and new about morning time; when the sun is rising and the house is still, there’s a certain air of peace that hangs around.
And ladies? This book has been good. Really good. Really convicting in such a great way. Stormie Omartian (author of Power of a Praying Wife) was right on when she wrote about how change in a relationship comes from starting with ME. I’ve read through four chapters so far in “What’s it Like to be Married to Me?”
Like I said, I’ve been doing some journaling through this book (as author, Linda Dillow, suggests). I want to be held accountable to this challenge. To say goodbye to gripes and hello to gratitude. Linda is a wise woman (who, after some quick math, I think is in her early 60’s.) who speaks from experience. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in the “complaining wife” role and to know that someone else has made it out to the other side of living a life in gratitude instead of complaints, that it CAN be done.
To be held accountable, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts and journaling as I read through this book. Want to join me in the discussion and life change? Pick up your own copy (I’m reading it on my iPad with Kindle for the first time ever and LOVE it! Highlighting without feeling guilty of marking up a book!? YES! And there has been A LOT of highlighting.) and join me on this journey.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences too.
The Woman Working on Being a Wife of Gratitude