There were, of course, outward things that contributed to my feelings - I haven't been eating very healthy, I did not get a lot of sleep, and I have not been exercising (all things that added to my feelings of guilt!) I had lots of my list of things to do that were not getting done, including things I wanted to teach my kids and other ideals I felt were important. I felt I had so much to do that it was almost useless to start anywhere because I didn't know what was most important right then. I knew that I needed to do something good to help me out of my slump. It was almost like I knew it, but I didn't want to know it, so I preferred not to think I knew it and I worked on some things that were not as important and did a lot of dilly-dallying (which also contributed to my feeling of guilt).
Towards the end of the day, I decided to watch Women's Conference online at home (usually I go see the broadcast at the church). The kids had been playing outside with friends all day (which added to my guilty feeling since I had told myself I would not let my little ones outside anymore without me being with them) so I thought I better be home for them since their dad and Bud were doing some father-son things downstairs. Then I decided to go pick some plums off the tree to make some fruit leather and to not let them go to waste, and to pick up the plums and peaches that had fallen to the ground. I also figured this would be a useful thing to do that would help me feel better since I had been putting it off. So I put on some headphones to listen to Women's Conference as I worked outside. I knew I wanted to watch it with a pen and paper in my hand and to give it my full focus, but I figured I could do that later.
I started picking plums and peaches up and just when I thought I was almost done, I would see more and more. I decided this was a job that we'd have to do as a family on Monday because I couldn't do it on my own (we had been cleaning up periodically so I was astonished that it was so bad). I decided to pick the plums from the tree instead. They were so covered with gnats and they were getting in my hair and everywhere. And then Ray came out to help, and little Gem was crying at the door. And as I looked at the meager plums I had picked I saw a big bug and I thought to myself, "This is not worth it! I do not like plum leather this much! But it needs to get done sometime. I guess I'll put it of until Monday, but I have so many other things to get to on Monday, how can I get it all done?" So I took the two little ones in to take a bath. As I put them in the bath and thought about how I was not getting much out of Women's Conference. I had the thought, "Karen, you are careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful." I realized I needed to pay closer attention to Women's Conference. I got out my journal for notes, took my kids out of the bath and let them play around my feet as I tried to pay as best of attention as I could considering the circumstances.
As I paid attention, I realized something that Heavenly Father wanted to get through to me. He loves me. He loves me so very much. I also realized how much Satan wants to discourage me. He knows the power I have for good in this world and over him and he wants to stop me. He is in full out war against the women who want to follow God. He is constantly whispering, "You are not good enough, you lack so much, you mess up so often, you cannot possibly do it all, you lack self-discipline, you'll never measure up." He wants so bad for us to feel like I was feeling yesterday (and a little bit today as I looked around at my messy house and thought of all of the things I didn't get done on Saturday). And wants us to give up - to not think - to distract ourselves from those feeling with mind-numbing things. I noticed I felt like I was on a downward spiral. Like the picture at the top of this post - the light was in the middle, but I was slowly spiraling away. I wanted to get out of it, but I didn't want to make the effort. It was as if I felt, "You've already wasted so much of the day, you may as well waste it all." And the more I listened to that lie, the more I spiraled downward. And I knew it and I didn't want to care. And I felt terrible inside.
Like I said, it is not the circumstances that made the day difficult. It was my choices. I have had way too much to do before and a complete inability to get it all done. I know I set really high standards for myself. I am an idealist (as you know if you read my blog). I don't actually do all of my plans and lofty goals, but I set them high. As I reach for the starts, I stretch and I grow. But I can have high expectations for myself and reach for them with hope and trust that things will work out despite my weaknesses because of the atonement and love of Jesus Christ, or I can set high expectations and despair because I can never reach them.
I am grateful for the lesson yesterday. I hope to resist the adversary a little better and to go forward in faith to do what I can. I'm here to learn :-)