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Friday, September 7, 2012

Racquetball and Motherhood

Racquetball and Motherhood - they seem at first to be an unlikely pairing.  However, there are many more parallels than I would like to admit.  I usually play racquetball twice a week with a group of men, all of whom are better players than me.  I feel out of my league motherhood wise at least twice a week, if not more often.  Most days, I play racquetball hard, give it my all, and still lose.  Every once in a while, I win, usually in doubles, every now and then in cutthroat (3 players) and very seldom in singles.  When it comes to mother hood, every once in a while. I feel like I have a great mommy day, where I gave it my all, my emotions didn't rule me and I was successful in handling Emma's unexpected behavior.  I win more often in parenting doubles as well.  John brings the balance and sense of perspective that  I often lack.  Three player parenting is where we have the most success - remembering to include God in the everydayness of our lives - the mundane and the miraculous.

Every once in a while, on a really bad racquetball day, where nothing goes right, it brings me face to face with my very worst self.  My inner voice tells me to quit, I am stupid (among other things), and I am wasting everyone's time by playing.  I plunge into a downward emotional spiral that easily bleeds over into other areas of my life.  I recognize that voice, but can't always silence it.  I am certain it stems from building my self esteem at an early age from performance, both athletically and academically.  On my worst mommy days, that inner voice would have me believe I am failing miserably, that Emma deserves so much more than I have to offer and so does John, for that matter.

I could walk away from racquetball and at least avoid the confrontations with my very worst self, but it wouldn't really solve anything, just remove the outward circumstance that reveals a soul still so in need of changing, maturing and growing in my dependence on the Lord.  Walking away from motherhood isn't an option.  Even on my worst days I take great comfort  in knowing God knew these days were coming and He still chose me to be Emma's mommy - me - flawed, broken, incomplete, imperfect me. And I do trust Him, even when I don't trust me.

Better days always come, both in racquetball and mothering, when my perspective is right and I am able to enjoy the journey and not worry about keeping score.  I realize anew my identity is Christ, not my performance, whether it be racquetball or motherhood, or a number of other things that I somehow try to use to measure my worth.  I have worth, eternal worth, for one reason alone: because God loves me.  That's it - He loves me.  I can't add to it or take away from it - just learn to accept it and revel in it.  He loves me.

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