Monday, February 29, 2016

Doing the Impossible

I've had that last post on my brain for awhile.  Every day as I teach school and deal with five thousand interruptions per hour, I think, "I really should try to write down what this is like."  I go back and forth between thinking it's funny and thinking something like "If people only knew what I deal with every minute of every day they would never believe it!  I mean, this is crazy!  Who does this?"

So what I did was one day while I was teaching I kept a piece of paper next to me and I wrote down every interruption that happened all morning.  What I wrote in that last post was absolutely authentic, though those interruptions happened more like over the course of an hour or two and not while I was just reading one short paragraph.  Though sometimes reading one paragraph is like that.  But anyway, overall that list of interruptions one morning was a perfect sample of the usual fare around here at this stage of the game.

Anyway, I go about my days with that one detached part of my brain watching what I am doing and saying "good gravy, how do you even?"  And my brain is absolutely right.  Because, what I do is impossible.  It is absolutely impossible.  Every day I begin the day with a list of tasks that is simply beyond the capacity of any mortal, and that's before the barrage of interruptions.  I gamely dive in and do the best I can, but there is no way I can pull it all off.  I never do.

One can get rather discouraged under such circumstances, and sometimes I do.  And sometimes I stress about it because I think I should be doing more, that maybe if I just tried harder I could make it all happen.

Recently I listened to the worldwide devotional talk that President Russell M.Nelson gave in January called "Becoming True Millennials."  Wow, it was just what I needed!  If you haven't read it yet, you really need to.  It was so, so good.  He was so totally talking to me when he said,

"Expect and prepare to accomplish the impossible.  God has always asked His covenant children to do difficult things. Because you are covenant-keeping sons and daughters of God, living in the latter part of these latter days, the Lord will ask you to do difficult things....
...As a True Millennial whom the Lord can count on, you will make history too! You will be asked to accept challenging assignments and become an instrument in the Lord’s hands. And He will enable you to accomplish the impossible.
How will you accomplish the impossible? By doing whatever it takes to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ by increasing your understanding of the doctrine taught in His restored Church and by relentlessly seeking truth. As a True Millennial, anchored in pure doctrine, when you are asked to do impossible things, you will be able to step forward with faith and dogged persistence and cheerfully do all that lies in your power to fulfill the purposes of the Lord.
You will have days when you will be thoroughly discouraged. So, pray for courage not to give up! 
...I promise you that as you follow Jesus Christ, you will find sustained peace and true joy. As you keep your covenants with increasing precision, and as you defend the Church and kingdom of God on the earth today, the Lord will bless you with strength and wisdom to accomplish the impossible."

Reading that helped me make a mental shift that has been really helpful to me.  What I do every day really is impossible.  It's not just that I'm failing at something I should be able to do if I just tried hard enough, or if the kids would just be more cooperative.  It truly is impossible and that's okay.  Having President Nelson tell me that impossible tasks are to be expected has allowed me to better accept my reality and let go of those feelings of self-blame or self-pity that sometimes pop up.  If impossible tasks are to be expected, how lucky am I that my impossible task can be so fun and rewarding and involves the best people ever?

I am resolved, as I always have been, to do the absolute best I can.  And I know that when I do, the Lord, who set this task before me, will cause many marvelous miracles to unfold.  So along the way I have got to enjoy and not just endure.

Since I read Elder Nelson's talk, quotes about accomplishing the impossible have been jumping out at me (I love how that works!)  I feel even more strengthened when I read things like these two quotes from A. W. Tozer:

"God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.  What a pity that we plan only the things we can do by ourselves."

"How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none."

I am grateful that I know so clearly that He wants me to homeschool my children right now.  I am so, so, so grateful that I can.  I am so grateful for the health and strength I have to tackle it every day.  And since I've had this mental shift I have been making more of an effort to notice the progress, to see the good that is happening with my kids and not get so hung up on how crazy hard it is.  There are so many good things going on, even amidst the disruptions.

But I'm glad I wrote all those disruptions down so that we can laugh about them in years to come!


Aflyonmyhomeschoolwall said...

Thank you for writing this.

It is so encouraging!

Bethany C. said...

Wonderful. Thank you for writing about this. I too, found it so helpful and inspiring.

Just Craptastic... said...

Absolutely awesome! This is something we all need to read and remember.

Sarah Millington said...

I could have written this. Since my 8th baby last summer, my life has reached the point of impossible. Everything we are trying to do here is impossible! Thank you for sharing that talk by Elder Nelson. It was really refreshing and encouraging. I think I may write down my interruptions for a day! That is hilarious, but I'm pretty sure I'll get interrupted on my way to find a pen an paper...