How to Stop the Tiresome Striving (with a little lesson from Max)

Still HotI looked at the bottom line: $ 1,800.00 to homeschool my girls this fall, IF we do all the things I’d like to do. The video tools, the new curriculums, the local classical group.

But how in the world? I wondered. How will we ever come up with the money and still make ends meet. 

The answer is simple: we won’t. According to my husband, and President of Allen Party of Five, we won’t go into debt or jeopardize the rest of our expenses just to do the latest and greatest in the homeschooling world.

Part of me wholeheartedly agrees. I can easily and effectively homeschool my girls using materials I already have for far less, and I know in the end we’ll be fine.

But there’s this other part of me. There’s this voice that says it won’t be enough. Without the latest and greatest my girls will miss out. I’ll miss out on important resources and opportunities.

MaxAnd there’s these other things going on with me:

There’s this compulsion to eat. To gobble up anything and everything that has sugar as a main ingredient. There’s this impulse to spend money. To buy this or order that. Something doesn’t feel right, I think as I scarf down a cupcake. I know better, this isn’t me, I muse as my curser hovers over the Confirm Order button.

And there’s also this complacency that’s perhaps the most troubling of all. This lack of a desire to write. To be still and commune with God. To resist the things that bring real, true life.

After three weeks of this behavior I stopped to listen to the voice that kept saying, this isn’t me. I stopped and asked God to show me, on the level of my heart, what this homeschool anxiety, sugar addiction, and compulsion to buy was really about.

In the stillness and the quiet He whispered three words:

Validation

Satisfaction

Joy

That’s what’s at play here. In my heart this is what I’m longing for. Striving for. To feel validated as a homeschooling mom. To feel satisfied and full. To feel real, true, joy.

The tiresome spirit of striving, the urge to make things happen, worms into my heart and mind in seemingly harmless ways, and before I know it I find myself caught in a wormhole of vices, addictions and counterfeit Gods. 

God has spread a banquet before me. His banner over me is love, and all I want is to eat at McDonalds. I want fast food when I need the bread of life. I want a quick fix when I need to slow and taste and see that He alone is good.

What other validation matters? What other satisfaction lasts? What other joy could be so complete? Where can I find any of these things except in Him?

Wild RumpusWhen I saw the striving for what it was, I asked God to come and rescue me, to disarm the meddlesome force. I asked Him to forgive me for all the ways I’d tried to fill the void in my heart with sugar and shine and things that weren’t Him.

I returned to my Savior and His banquet for me. To His soaring banner of love.

It sort of reminds me of Max, the little boy in the famous book, Where the Wild Things Are. How Max goes off to live and roam and romp with the wild things thinking this is what he wanted, thinking this would satisfy the ache in his soul. But in the end he found the wild things weren’t what he wanted or needed at all so he left the wild things and sailed for home.

When the wild things call, when they come with striving, compulsions, and things that make you think, this isn’t me…

Remember the banquet. Remember the feast and the banner over your head. Remember who you belong to, the source of all you want, the giver of all you need.

And sail for home. 

Be like Max who returned to “the night of his very own room where he found his supper waiting for him

and it was still hot.”*

*(From Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak)

4 thoughts on “How to Stop the Tiresome Striving (with a little lesson from Max)

  1. As a homeschooling mom, fellow sugar addict and also a writer, I totally related to this post. The Lord has also been dealing with me about fretting and anxiety on so many levels (including your post). Really spoke to my heart. Thank you.

    • Karen! Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts. I hope you were encouraged and reminded how loved you are and how we have nothing to fear or fret about when we look to Him for all things. Blessings to you and your homeschoolers and for your writing too!

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