Thursday, October 7, 2010

Go, and vent no more

From one fallen human being to another, let me tell you, this post has been a long time in coming and I'll be the first one to admit that it's still something of a challenge for me.

For all my young adult years, until the recent past, I've been a "venter." In other words, if something/someone was bothering me, whoever I was close to with an ear to listen was going to get the full story about just how I'd been the victim of some great injustice. I'm sure my husband still gets his fair share of this from me, but even with him, the person I am most comfortable with in all the world, I am trying to be more virtuous.

It wasn't until I moved to St Paul and heard it mentioned that a particular formation talk was on speech and particularly not venting, even to one's spouse, that I even considered that perhaps this was...sinful. "WHAT?" I thought. What's wrong with voicing a bit of frustration?! Needless to say, rather than the correct response of trying to let that wisdom sink in, I simply decided that I must not have much in common with this person (yes, instead of seeking holiness, I just stuck my head in the sand...and probably vented to my husband about it...except that if I had done that, he would have lovingly corrected me 'cause he's that awesome!)

4 years and lots of percolation later, I have slowly taken to heart why venting is never helpful and is, in fact, sinful. Here are a few of the reasons:

-It doesn't solve the problem or even seek resolution
-It shuts you off from the possibility that you may be partly at fault
-It feeds pride and squashes growth in humility.
-It is gossip at best and probably slander
-It doesn't move toward or seek out love

If you're anything like me, you may be sitting here wondering, well how on earth am I supposed to process anything if I can't talk about it?! I agree, for women, it can be very helpful to process things. I do feel like there can be an intentional difference between processing and venting. Here's what I think appropriate processing should include:

-Compassion for any others involved in the situation (ie, the person(s) that offended you). And no, the line "I love so-and-so, but...." doesn't count as REAL compassion; how many times have I used that line?!!
-Assuming the best of the other person(s)
--(note: if this clearly isn't an option, at least giving the benefit of the doubt that they are a) too wounded or b) too ignorant to know better, in which case, see the first point)
-Honestly and objectively analyzing your own conduct and determining if/where you were at fault
-Having recognized your weakness, choose to work on that area and, if necessary, apologize for your behavior and choose to forgive the other person(s) regardless of their recognition/admission of fault.

If we can't choose love, choose forgiveness and have the humility to recognize and admit our weaknesses, than how can we call ourselves followers of Christ; who are we imitating?

So, again, I am a WORK IN PROGRESS. But I do think I have seen the light in this area. Please hold me accountable; my humility thanks you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Unpacking the Roller Coaster

Faff, faff, faff. I don't even know if I'm spelling that right, but it's my acknowledgement of exactly what I'm doing with my time right now: faffing. Sometimes it sounds like piano music (although I give myself partial credit b/c I usually play/sing praise and worship songs), sometimes it's catching up on my blog-reading, sometimes it's schmoozing around on Facebook, sometimes it's just watching the leaves fall off the tree across the street. Right now, it's updating my blog.

The roller coaster is the prime analogy used for the weight gain and loss associated with pregnancy, seconded perhaps by the yo-yo, but that one really belongs to the dieters of the world.

-Roller coasters are exciting; so is pregnancy
-Roller coasters are often repeated; so is pregnancy
-Roller coasters make you brace as you climb; so does pregnancy weight gain
-Roller coasters are a thrill as you speed down; so is, uh post-partum weight loss
-Roller coaster riders often want to repeat that experience as soon as possible; um, not usually so much.
Well there you have the analogy falling apart as all analogies must.

5 months ago, Lydia was 8 months old and, due to her lack of interest in eating and my lack of interest in pureeing-to-death any/all food for her, was just entering the world of finger food, having been nursed 100% up until then. I was also, as a result of all that good milk-producing calorie-burning, at my wedding weight. It was pretty awesome and I was relishing every second of it.

Fast forward 5 months. Lydia is 100% weaned. I am pregnant. I am also 15 pounds heavier than I was in that dreamy time of life, 5 months ago. Ugh.

I had high hopes THIS time I might looke "cute" during my pregnancy and not morph instantaneously into a swollen puffball. Well, thanks to the following, I'm afraid that hope is dying fast:

-weaning a baby (and therefore not burning those calories)
-throwing out my back the same week I discovered little Sticker's existance and therefore restricting my activity
-a separation-anxious 1 yr old who screams in childcare when I go to the gym; not much motivation to go, let me tell you! (esp. when they ask me to rescue her after 20 min)
-nauseousness which was only relieved by eating - first 10 lbs piled on in 2 weeks
-threw my back out AGAIN - stuck on the couch this time; definitely not working out now
-intestines that rebel at the first sign of fiber, dairy or fat. Needless to the say, the BRAT diet isn't low on the glycemic index and I'm already prone to blood sugar levels that drop like lead.

And so, here I am, 11 weeks along and up 15 pounds. I did finally get back to the gym today. I can't do much except walk which, while good for my back isn't going to get me back in shape anytime soon (I can't risk raising my heartrate too high on account of being pregnant). I also don't want to overdo it and exercise myself right into bedrest. Lydia fussed through childcare and apparently had to be held the entire time.

So, any and all of you who temporarily (I hope) hated me for being able to fit into size 4 jeans a mere 5 months ago, will probably be happy to know that those days are but a happy memory. The train I'm on is speeding towards the town of back rolls, muffin tops, stretch marks, thunder thighs and cankles. Goodbye bone structure; I hope to see you again in roughly 14 months.

But, God willing, in 29+/- wks I will meet my little Baby Sticker who makes it all more than worth it!