Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Honestly Cynical

"The enemy of our souls first tempted Eve by asking her a question, “Did God really say…” It was a question meant to challenge the goodness of God. It was evil and cynical in nature.
A cynic is a faultfinding captious critic; especially one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest. (source – Miriam  (Oh my goodness, most of the time I truly believe this with all my heart!) (Sometimes though, I know it isn't true for that has to be the case for other people too.)
Cynicism is to prayer what cancer is to the body. It eats away at the very life of the person it embodies. A cynic is suspicious of everyone and questions the motives of what makes them do what they do. When we apply this to our prayer life, the cynic actually questions God – like the serpent in the Garden. (Being a cynic is exhausting!)
These are hard words to hear. Yet many of us if we’re honest, will admit our prayers are often hindered by our cynicism. We pray and our prayers seemingly go unanswered, so we think to ourselves – why bother? Why get my hopes up just to see nothing happen."

I am really struggling with cynicism right now.  Probably in every area of my life.  Definitely in every area of my life.  In fact, my whole attitude of late can be summed up as cynical.  Examples:
  • Why should I do anything for him, it just goes unnoticed or is quickly forgotten?
  • Why even bother to talk to the kids about that, all they hear is 'nag nag',  'lecture lecture'?
  • Why clean the house, it just gets messed up again?
  • Why should I be the one to volunteer, I always volunteer?  It is someone else's turn.
  • Why do I always have to be the one to take the high road?  (It's lonely up here, LOL.)
I think this post came along into my life to day as a wake up call.  I am almost totally given over to my selfishness and cynicism these days.  I have been so busy thinking that I try and no one else does that it has consumed me.  Thinking that I am so much more sacrificial and refusing to give in one more time has cause me to be totally self-absorbed and selfish.  Which is quite the opposite of sacrifice.  Sacrifice is choosing to do something regardless of the outcome.  Meaning if no one appreciates it, you still do it because it is the right thing to do.  If no one even notices, it is still the right thing to do.  Being plugged into God is essential for this to happen without bitterness.  It is only His overflow which can provide me with th ability to love without expectations.

Parenting is the most sacrificial job ever.  The sacrifice of self is endless and seldom produces the results we think we want.  We look at the small picture of NOW and forget that growing up is a process.  We compare the worst of our kids to the best of others.  We listen to other parents paint their children as a Picasso and get depressed over our fingerpainted mess.  I am praying to give my kids more grace.  They are amazing kids and yet I keep pushing for more...better grades, better cross country times, cleaner rooms, better attitudes, better communication, making quality friendships, doing meaningful devotions, praying, treating family wonder they feel like not even trying sometimes.  This is the abbreviated list of expectations.

I am a very blessed mom and wife.  I am flawed and so is my spouse and so are my children.  We will never be perfect this side of the dirt.  I need to stop trying to be perfect, expecting perfect, and perhaps worst of all, trying to put perfect up as our family display.  I am often complimented on being 'real'.  However, this is often a backhanded compliment because the people who look and act perfect seem to get the most attention and respect.  They are revered for having it all together...even when we all know deep down no one does.  I guess I just want to be honest in a world where honesty is not rewarded.  I know that being real is MY only choice...but I sometimes feel completely naked in my 'real' when everyone else is dressed to the nines in their 'pretense'.  I desperately need to know other people have struggles too. I also need to be seen as something other than 'flawed'...which is another word for 'real'.  I am forgiven...I get to be seen as Christ sees me...or at least that is how it is supposed to be.  I sure don't want anyone to look at my life and think I have it all figured out.  However, sometimes I feel like the only one with skin showing.

My cynicism and I need to go take a shower...hopefully the cynicism washes down the drain...but the cynic in me wonders if that is even possible.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.


ShortyMom said...

Have you ever noticed that those who seem to have it all together eventually everything falls apart?

I am a cynic. I am always questioning my actions because I feel they are constantly judged by others and always suspect that those who are supposed to support me are actually my own worst enemy. You are not alone!

Hula Girl at Heart said...

The arrest of a local high profile person this week was a reminder for me that we truly never know the demons that each person deals with or the secrets they are keeping. I am so guilty of the same cynicism. With a dash of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.

Debi - The Romantic Vineyard said...

Thanks for the link to our post on cynicism. I highly, highly recommend Paul Miller's book, A Praying Life. It will effect your cynicism in a way I've never experienced before. It is truly a timely gift to the Christian world in these cynical times.
Blessings to you,

Susie said...

No! You can't lose heart and become a cynic. Don't do it! When you become a cynic, you close the door to the joy that God wants to bring to your life. :)

As for the facade mom--I'm a textbook case. LOL--my Momma always brought me up to put my best foot forward, and girl, I can't even leave my house without my face on! I feel naked! But for me, even when I feel inadequate, I'm "faking it till I make it". It's honestly not meant to make anyone feel less or even to appear less real. It's as much a part of me to "put my best foot forward" as it is for you to be real and honest. The disadvantage for me is that it is very difficult for me to bare my heart and soul and tell people my problems. Oh, sure, I tell the superficial ones (how will we ever afford to send our son to a Christian university, etc), but what about family issues? I was raised with the whole "Never air your dirty laundry"--and "No one wants to hear someone complaining all the time". So, I can't even tell most of my Christian sisters, who could pray for me and help carry my burdens. ::shrug::

So, I figure you're doing okay. ;)

Love you!