I have challenged myself. For the next 10 weeks, I am going to do three things each week that I do not want to do. It is time for me to grow more as a person – as a wife – as a homemaker – as a child of God – as a person on this earth. For this challenge I can pick anything for any week, as long as it is something that I would not willingly choose to do if given the choice. I don’t know how this challenge will end! Will I be in better shape? Will I be better at keeping the house clean? Will I have learned a new skill? The uncertainty of the outcome is as interesting to me as the challenge itself!
How this came about:
Three nights ago, my husband and I talked about his upcoming academic quarter at the university. He is a second-year graduate student, and he was talking about having to get back into books, and classes, and schedules after a summer of getting to do research. I had laughed a little, because in my new non-rectangular life, I pretty much get to do what I want to do when I want to do it. It doesn’t matter if I clean the rabbit cages in the morning or afternoon. As long as I feed the chickens, it doesn’t matter if they get crumbles or pellets, in a bowl or on the ground. I want to potty-train the cats to get rid of the kitty litter expense, but it doesn’t matter if I start that this week or next. My visible results are the only thing close to a grade or a review that I get, and my husband and I are the only ones who care. It’s an extremely nice life. I’m comfortable in it. Very comfortable.
Maybe too comfortable.
That night I went to sleep thinking about what had been said. And despite being comfortable in my life, I was suddenly almost uncomfortable about that level of comfort. Is “comfort” really what I am striving for in my life? As a Christian I certainly want to do what God tells me to do. It was pretty wild over the summer to be told to go with my husband to the Philippines to help hubby in his research. That’s the kind of instruction from God that we all like to receive. But I can not remember when the last time was that I asked God “is what I’m doing now the best that you have for me?” I was absorbed in the idea that maybe it wasn’t. Was I still growing, or had I stagnated? What direction should any new growth go?
The next day was Sunday, and I opted not to go to church. God and I needed to have some deep conversation. And we did, for hours. By that afternoon I had realized that God has something in mind for me. I am supposed to do something more than I have been doing. Perhaps I am supposed to be something more than I have been. But what… I am not yet sure. And how far… I don’t know that either. From that conversation with God I also drew the conclusion that movement toward doing… and being… more than I currently am is not something I should wait for passively, but it is something toward which I must take active steps.
And so was born my 10 week challenge to myself.
For the next 10 weeks (mirroring my husband’s academic quarter), I will do three things each week that I do not want to do. There is not a focus on any particular area of my life – it can be anything. Anything that I would not willingly choose to do when given the choice. Maybe I’ll give the bathroom a deep clean (I truly hate that chore, and would rather earn the money to pay someone else to do it). Maybe I’ll mow the yard the way my husband likes it instead of the way I like it (but I’m the one who is always outside!). Maybe I’ll get up early and do one of my husband’s chores (oh how I hate getting up early). Maybe I’ll eat an apple instead of a brownie (nooooooo!).
I have no rules for this challenge other than things I don’t want to do. Three of them. Each week. By midnight Monday night, so I can report it to you in a blog post on Tuesday. (Public accountability – urk!)
Sticking with things is not my strong point. I prefer to work hard enough and fast enough to finish quickly, rather than spread things over time. I’d rather do 30 things this week. But no – three things each week for ten weeks is the challenge. I hope you’ll call me out on it if you think I’m slacking, or counting things that I shouldn’t count. It may be a personal issue I’m working with and it should count – or you might be right and I’m trying to fill space because I slacked off that week.
I’ve started already. I cleaned the bathroom last night. REALLY cleaned it. Even scrubbed the toilet. My husband was impressed, I don’t think I’ve cleaned it that well since we’ve been married. And the only reason I did it was because of this challenge – this impetus – to do better than I have before.
So I’m off and running. Ten weeks to a … something. Perhaps ten weeks to a better ME.
Growing Pains challenge reports, week by week: