I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to maintain any pattern of consistency in my life lately. Maybe that’s obtainable for some people, but I can’t. Some people seem to be the same whenever you see them – talkative, or quiet, or crabby, or cheerful, or dumb, or intelligent…you can count on that person being just what you expect. When I look at myself, I never know what I’m going to get. Some days I feel like talking someone’s ear off, other days I hardly feel like saying a word. Some days I feel so crabby and angry inside that I can hardly stand it, other days I can’t stop smiling at everyone I meet. Some days I feel very intelligent (I did very well on my ACT test and I speak Spanish fluently, so I must be smart, right?), other days I feel dumber than a box of rocks (I have made mistakes on extremely easy math problems and sometimes can hardly stutter out more than two sentences of English and make any sense).
Sometimes my house is extremely clean and well organized, other times it is dirty and there are piles of stuff all over. Sometimes I cook wonderful, balanced meals, other times I can’t figure out what to fix and we settle for take out food once again. For a while I write daily in my journal, then I skip it for months at a time. I update The Robyn’s Nest monthly (way back when), then I stop writing for way too long. Sometimes I feel overwhelming love for my husband and I show it by baking cherry pies for him, showering him with affection, and cheerfully serving him in many different ways. Other times I doubt our love, resent his requests, and grudgingly do what he asks of me. Sometimes I delight in my spectacular children, I love being with them, and I find fun things to do with them. Other times I just endure the childishness of my kids, I order them around, and I react to their bad attitudes with a temper tantrum of my own.
As I put these feelings into words, I am struck with the thought that my irritation with inconsistency stems from my desire to be perfect. As I think about the world around me, I realize that most other people go through cycles just as I do. I may see someone when they are usually cheerful, but surely they go through times of sadness and anger, too. Most marriages go through wonderful seasons of intimacy and disturbing seasons of frustration and doubt. Our relationship with our children can range from joy to frustration or even apathy.
If I were perfect, I would love my husband and show it every single day, I would delight in my children constantly and be consistently cheerful, patient, and kind. I would have a perfectly clean house, fix fabulous meals and healthy, delicious snacks. I would never forget a friend’s birthday, would always prepare for MOPS meetings at least a week ahead of time, and I would exercise and do devotions each and every day. Whew! I can’t do all of that!
Webster’s dictionary gives these definitions for the adjective “inconsistent”: a) not in agreement, harmony, or accord; incompatible [acts inconsistent with belief] b) not uniform; self-contradictory [inconsistent testimony] c) not always holding to the same principles or practice; changeable.
I hate reading that definition. I want to see myself as unchangeable, holding fast to the beliefs I have about my faith and my relationships, and acting in ways that are true to those beliefs. Instead I see a woman who says she believes certain things but acts in ways that don’t match those beliefs. What’s a girl to do?
Well, as usual, it comes down to two things: trusting and obeying the One who is always consistent, truly unchanging, and forever the same. The Bible says, “I the LORD do not change.” (Malachi 3:6a NIV) “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)
If I want to be more consistent, and yet not drive myself crazy trying to be perfect, I need to remember that God’s love and holiness never change – I can always count on them. I can forgive myself when I make a mistake in some area of my life because God forgives me when I am truly sorry. I can listen to God’s promptings in my life and obey His commands, and then I will become more and more consistent in the way I live. I won’t ever be perfect, but I can be a humble, honest, and real example for my kids and others in my life.
With prayer and practice, I hope I can become “usually consistent” someday.
© Robyn Mulder 2003, therobynsnest.org