Friday, October 24, 2008

Conviction From The Real Housewives Of Atlanta?

Sounds crazy right? I think so too, but stick with me here....

Yesterday was my day at home. I have been forced to schedule one for every week because my schedule has become so crazy.(TOTAL blessing) I try to ask my husband what one thing he would like me to accomplish that day and use it to tie up one of the many projects we need to finish, clean house, do laundry, blog and whatever else I can fit in. Yesterday, this included sitting down with lunch in front of the TV. I came across this show on some cable network called, "The real housewives of Atlanta." The show is filled with exceptionally wealthy women, who aren't even necessarily married, but are living in a house in Atlanta. Anyway, there is this one wife who is married to an NBA player. They have just purchased the estate of their dreams and are in the process of hiring the staff. Personal chef, nanny AND governess (whatever that means), estate manager, personal assistant, gardener, blah blah blah...
So this particular wife is saying how because of her husband's job, during the season he is away from home 6 out of 7 days of the week. And she keeps saying how it's like she's a single mom having to do it all herself. "I mean, if I didn't have this personal chef and I had to make breakfast AND get the kids up for school - they would be late. I just couldn't do it all myself." Golly gee, how DO you manage with your millions of dollars and all your staff and CHILDREN WHO ARE OLD ENOUGH TO DRESS THEMSELVES to do it all without just crumbling for lack of your man help?
As I am sharing my shock and outrage over this ridiculousness with my children (something along the lines of - "Guys! I saw the most outrageous thing on TV today") I was called back to several moments in my recent past when people judged MY situation less important because they held it (and what they believed to be the truth of it) up to THEIR situation and found that their suffering was, "real" suffering and, therefore, mine was not and I should just crawl quietly into a hole where I would stop bothering people who have real problems.
I do agree that there are, in fact, worse problems in this world than I have experienced in my life, and it is right and good to be thankful for what I have and how I have been blessed.
But let me be clear about something - just because I laugh, or smile - or do not tell you the depth of the truth of my situation, does not mean that my suffering is not real. Just because the only time you see me is on Sunday morning when I am praising my Lord, does not mean that I must be able to do that because there is no pain in my life. Just because I don't choose to lay on the ground every minute of every day flogging myself and crying to every passer-by about the struggles I face, does not mean that I do not struggle.

And THAT, my friends, has brought us full circle. Whoops. The truth is, that whatever my beliefs about what can be done with money and wait-staff, I have no idea what this woman goes through and I have no right to say that my life is harder than hers so she should just get over it, strap on her big girl panties and deal. And here is what Paul tells me about that....

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Galatians 5:16-26

5 comments:

God's Guitar Girl said...

I guess I should have more sympathy here, but the view through my eyes is one of personal experience.

Being a middle class widowed single mother, I have no way to identify with an upper class married mother. We may have various commonalities, but our demographics are markedly different. To compare our lives is like comparing apples to water buffaloes.

It is hard to hear a person talk like this and not have an opinion about it one way or the other. I know many people feel that way about comments I make. The bottomline here, which you articulated well, is that struggles are relative to each person. Burdens that would kill some are barely noticable to others, per God's wisdom.

On the other hand, I think our entire generation is self-centered and coddled, myself included. I hear this woman complain about performing the functions that parents who want to keep custody of their children are required to do, and I think of my great-grandmother, a two-time widow and mother of seven who, during the Great Depression after the death of the second husband, farmed her children out to orphanages because she could make enough money at her two jobs to feed and clothe them all. After she worked non-stop to save, she went back and claimed her children back. Even I am lucky to have the support of numerous people and have had to use creative ways to make my life manageable. Compared to my great-grandmother, I'm a spoiled brat myself!

It is good and right to extend to this woman the love that Paul exhorts us to give; however, consistently doing that is hard, heart-searching work. Good point!

God's Guitar Girl said...

Sry, that should say "couldn't" make enough money...

His Girl said...

I am so often frustrated by people who won't allow others to vent or suffer (and with myself when I do the exact same thing... which I do all too often) because they believe their suffering is so much worse. "You think that's bad..." or "It must be nice to only have to worry about...." and things like that are so insensitive. The attitude that "my suffering is so much worse than yours so you need to shut up" is a sticky place to land....

I keep having to remind myself that if I want to play the 'i can only have sympathy for you if you suffered the worst of anyone' game, that Jesus could TOTALLY trump any hand I would even think I had.

praise the Lord for perspective... even when it comes from odd places like spoiled atlanta housewives.

MyShilohRanch said...

As I read this post, I couldn't help but think at the same time: what AWESOME gifts the Lord has given to you, S4J AND GGG! (2 of my RL heroes, seriously) He has and continues to enable you, and each one of us, to do the "impossible!"

Without faith and a personal relationship with Jesus our Savior/Friend and our Father/God of the Universe - without the help of the Holy Spirit and God's Living Word ...NO way could any of us do ANY of the amazing/impossible things He has called us to do! EVERYthing would be overwhelming!!! In fact, I remember a time when that WAS true for ME!

As you both pointed out, burdens are relative only to your own experience. That POOR woman obviously doesn't live our world!!! But then we don't live in hers either! Right on S4J!! Thanks for sharing!

I just, today, read something Jon Courson said about people that upset you - praying for them, prevents bitterness. That speaks to me on many levels! Ouch! That woman needs prayer more than judgement. Ouch, again!. Thanks a lot now, passed on some conviction to me! :/

HG, as usual, you are so right! I love you gals!

Gretchen said...

I have nothing to say that doesn't echoe the ideas of those who commented before me, except this: I'm glad you got to sit down for a minute and take a break. :)