Have you ever had one of those strange dreams that just goes on forever? It’s like you’re watching yourself in a sitcom but instead of ending after 20 minutes it drags on and on for what seems like an eternity? Maybe I’m weird, but every once in a while, I get one of these. Last night was one of those times.
So what was this long and mundane dream about?
Scooping poo out of the cat litter box.
Oh yes, I’m very serious. Hours upon hours of digging, scooping, shaking and tossing little turds in a trash bag. I could even smell it. I suppose you could classify this as more of a nightmare than a dream. It wasn’t scary though, just boring and endless toiling.
I didn’t think much of the dream, except that maybe I need to switch cold medicines, (yes, I am still sick) or maybe I need to actually check the litter box because I am subconsciously smelling it in my sleep. But as the day went on, I kept picturing myself crouched down by the litter box, scooping, shaking, trashing, scooping, shaking, trashing, scooping, shaking….you get the picture.
Now, I am not interested in thinking about cat poo all day, so during my time with God, I straight up asked, “Why God, just why? Is this funny to you? Cuz, honestly, it’s kind of gross, and not even a little funny.” Ok that’s a lie, I guess it’s a little bit funny.
God did not answer my inquiry about the strange dream, so I moved on to complaining about something a bit more serious. Money. Specifically, my lack thereof.
See, I have been on a pretty crazy journey over the past few months. A journey that’s forced me to decide what is important to me, and what I need to let go of. Some of you know that my son has Asperger’s Syndrome, and that the past couple of years have been a living hell for him and for me as a helpless parent. Some of you may know that I’ve spent most of my kid’s precious younger years working multiple jobs at a time just trying to survive as a single mom, and as such have mangled my job as a parent into such an unrecognizable mess, I’m not sure we will ever be able to set things right. Some of you have followed me on a journey to do the right thing, to prioritize my relationship with God, my privilege and duty to be a parent and to trust God with finances as I get these priorities in order.
And in truth, the improvements in my home life, in my son’s progress, in my personal relationships have been priceless! But unfortunately, these improvements don’t pay the bills, and we are once again at an impasse. I need to get a “real” job, or I will not have a place to live in February.
I get it, but it makes me mad, if I’m honest, because I guess I have a set of fairytale themed, rose-colored glasses tainting my view of reality. I keep thinking if I just obey God, everything will work out perfectly. But then nothing does. I see God working and shaping and molding my life and my family’s lives, and then BOOM, everything I thought was going well seems to get ripped away from me with the snap of a finger.
So I was complaining to God about this, and venting my frustration with having to go back to work. In truth, I like working. I like feeling important, dressing up, having something to pour all my energy into, a distraction from all the challenges and battles in my family life that I would rather not think about most of the time.
But I know what God called me to do. He called me to write. And he called me to prioritize my gift of motherhood above all other tasks. Every time I ask for guidance, I get the same answer. So I finally listened, and guess what? God didn’t come through for me. We are just further in debt, I haven’t been able to make any money in any of my endeavors, and now, my chance is over, I have to go back to the way things were before. The constant stress, the long hours, the kids spending most of their time home alone, the drama accompanying co-worker relationships, and a million other complaints I could spew in frustration. I mean, why did God make me believe he would have my back if this was the end game?
*Insert image of me eternally scooping poo from the cat litter box here.*
I don’t want to write about cat litter, but give me a minute here. Clearing the cat litter box means repeatedly performing a tedious and somewhat unpleasant task in order to remove any and all dirt and smell. (Don’t hate on my fancy litter box talk)
To achieve the goal, it takes work. Consistent and repeated work.
Like blogging. Or anything, for that matter.
Now, don’t ask me why this image is the one God chose to speak to me (I still believe he’s laughing at me), but somehow, it communicated to me what a spoiled brat I am being.
Somehow, as I started to get excited about following God’s calling on my life, I twisted the idea of his provision into “I cannot fail, God will take care of me as long as I put in the minimal effort.” Or maybe, deep down, I thought, he would just make it happen while I sat back and enjoyed the benefits.
Have I really worked at blogging? Have I treated it like a business? Have I learned as much as I can? Have I gone the extra mile and done the work? Have I been willing to do the tedious and mundane parts as well as the exciting and emotion driven?
No, no I have not. I have passively and sporadically written when I “feel” God telling me to write. I have wandered from one endeavor to the next trying to make money from home instead of focusing on what God has called me to do. And now, the cat box is too full to use. I have to throw it out and start over.
I want so badly to blame God and be angry at his lack of provision! I want to make this an excuse to throw my hands up and storm off like a moody teenager and give up on everything he’s asked me to do.
But I can’t.
I did this (or didn’t do this). God gave me every opportunity, and I made the choices that required the least amount of effort.
So I will have to go back to work.
But, I still have this calling on my life. I still know what I want, and what God wants me to do. I still know that I can change my future and my family’s future. I still know I can be a light to others who identify with my craziness.
With the haunting image of a crazy, cat poo filled dream and a somewhat painful kick in the rear, I again face the same choice. Will I follow God’s leading, through flood, through fire, through mundane and tedious labor?
And because of my lack of action on the first go, am I now willing to work doubly hard doing this in addition to a full-time job?
The answer is yes. Sometimes, losing something makes us see just how valuable it really is.
Sometimes, God needs to remind us that just because we can only do the impossible through his strength, doesn’t mean we have permission to kick back and leave all the work up to him. We are to do everything to BEST of our abilities, as worship to the Lord, and what we cannot accomplish through our human strength, he will more than make up for.
So I will scoop, and shake and clear out the dirt, one piece at a time.
Well, actually, my kids will be doing that (Me, clean out the cat litter box? Ew, no.) But I will write, and post on social media, and do video clips, and learn SEO, and do all the things that I haven’t been doing to my full potential. And I will do the best I can, and leave only what I can’t do in God’s hands.
Thanks for reading guys, I know this was kind of a weird post, and it was really embarrassing for me to admit my failure and my laziness, so thanks for your support!
Hopefully you will have better dreams than of endlessly scooping poo out of a litter box! Have a great evening 🙂