Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Struggles Within

Weight struggles.

Prayer life struggles.

They really go hand in hand.

The two are so similar in so many ways.

I get frustrated with myself, when I don't make my goals,

or I don't do as much as I should.

Do you think God gets frustrated with us?

He expects us to pray.

He expects us to do our best and give our best for Him.

How often do we measure up?

A perfect start to a day would go something like this:

(after a full night's sleep with no interruptions)


6am: morning prayers and breakfast

7am: 1 hour long workout

8am: Shower and get ready for the day

8:30-9am: The kiddos wake up!


What actually happens is something like this:


2:30-3:30am: One child wakes up coughing so hard that she pukes in a bucket and the sink,

You calm her, give her Vicks on her chest, give her some warm tea (after going downstairs to get it prepared) rub her back and feet til she goes to sleep.


4am: Another child sneaks into bed with you because her sister keeps kicking her and pushing her over in their bed. She snuggles up, wraps her legs around you and plays with your hair.


5:30: Baby wakes up crying and screaming, you don't want the whole house to wake up this early, so you take her into bed with you and she finally falls asleep around 6:30, but you do too.


8:30: You wake up, finally, wanting so badly to workout, but everyone is awake and wondering when mama is going to get up. Mama puts workout clothes on anyway, hoping for an opportunity in the day sometime to workout.


4pm: You get your opportunity, but only have 1/2 hour to workout and so you take it, shower and then it's time to make supper.



But you feel failure because you had your workout clothes on all day and did nothing. You didn't go outside, because those workout clothes were on, You didn't run any errands, you didn't get a head start on laundry or anything. You didn't even have (make) time to say your morning prayers.



This has been my life the past 4 weeks.

Pretty much since getting back from Mexico.

It's funny, from December 28 until March 24 I exercised 6 days a week,

every morning except Sundays, at 6am.

(There were 2 days in there where I exercised later in the day)

That's almost 90 days!

I had drive, energy and couldn't miss a day.

I woke up energized and ready between 5:30 and 6am.

Then Mexico happened.

I got up early, but didn't exercise.

I didn't gain any weight.

I came home and actually lost another couple pounds making my total weight loss

18 pounds!

Now, I'm back to 11 pounds lost.

Yes, that means gain.

Loss and gain,

I can't keep track.

I've still been exercising, just struggling to do so

and

barely 4 days per week.

Why is this such a struggle?

My prayer life struggles too.

Every day.

Every day I give thanks

I offer up my day.

I long for quiet time alone with God.

I long for exercise time alone.

I want that energy and drive I had before.

Why do I struggle to get up early?

I have time to see my husband before he goes to work

(I love that, I miss him in the mornings)

I have time to pray

I have time to exercise

I don't have these inner struggles

and

I feel great!

So

Why is it so hard to do it?

Am I alone here?

Does anyone out there have any of the same struggles?

I pray for order and timeliness

for the ambition I need to be all God wants me to be.

I pray for you too.

22 comments:

  1. You are not alone. I struggle in much the same way. The older I get the harder it gets to have this drive and energy. I keep waiting for these to take a turn. Sometimes I see slow turns, but I feel so impatient with myself. Bless you.

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  2. you are sooo not alone. i have the same struggles on a daily basis. i'm working on enjoying the journey and not being too hard on myself.

    prayers for perseverance.

    pax Christi - lena

    “Do everything for Love. Thus there will be no little things: everything will be big. Perseverance in little things for Love is heroism.” ~ St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 813

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  3. You're most definitely not alone!

    Try to remember, though, that the days of little ones needing you in the middle of the night or waking you up early in the morning really are fleeting - just yesterday this was my life, and now my teenaged boys would sleep until noon if I let them!


    One thing that helped me tremendously in my prayer life while my kids were smaller, is that when I had to sit with an ill child or snuggle an infant back to sleep, I prayed then. God gave me quiet time, but not alone time, and I took the time to pray while my hands were busy elsewhere. Serving and prayer go hand-in-hand, I found, and He is always able to listen no matter what circumstances we are in when we lift our hearts to Him.

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  4. Definitely not alone. I can relate to the prayer struggles and the desire to have time alone to pray. Sometimes the noise is about all I can handle and I just 'long' for silence. It feels unattainable.

    I am not consoled by just 'having the desire' to pray.

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  5. It is hard to find the time when I am at home. I do not work out. The only time I got in shape was when I had a gym membership and I had the kids in a daycare sort of thing for one hour. I am an ALL or NONE kind of person. If I cannot have one hour to myself to workout then forget it. Doesnt seem like a workout then.

    Hang in there Jamie. It is hard to have little kids now. They will grow up and you and I can go for 15 mile walks!!!! JUST IMAGINE!!!

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  6. I was doing really well with my weight loss effort and pressures at work and home caused me to indulge and before I knew what was going on I had gained most of the lost weight back. I know what I need to do, I just don't do it and that frustrates me. You are not alone with struggles girl. Hang in there.
    Odie

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  7. Jamie

    You sound so much like me. There are days I just feel blah, unmotivated and lazy.

    Prayer life.
    If you are truly wanting advice, here is mine. Commit to a half hour a day. Make yourself do it. There are no excuses. Be very firm with yourself on this. Do it before a workout. Because you are probably wanting to work out more than pray.

    I pray the rosary every day, but it can be difficult with kids. But I tell them that I NEED this time. They interrupt me constantly but I'm teaching them that unless it's very important, they HAVE to leave me alone to pray.

    Yes, there are times that the baby toddles around and distracts me or when I have to run downstairs to settle an argument, but I go back to prayer time. It's not about knowing you're weak and that's why you don't want to pray, it's about knowing that you are weak and that is WHY you should pray.

    It's not easy to get into the routine of things so make it simple but make it count. I spend about 10 minutes of spiritual reading and then 15 minutes of the rosary. I say 2-3 decades and finish the rest before i go to to bed.

    Here is something else that I do. (Am I annoying you yet? Never ask for advice! :-)) I tell myself that if I don't spend 15-30 minutes (whatever I can do) in prayer, than I will spend 15-30 minutes doing something else that is frivolous. If I have 10 minutes here and there for the internet than why not for prayer? That usually motivates me to stick with my prayers.

    Don't be so hard on yourself--instead, go to God, ask Him to help you and leave the rest up to Him, and simply spend your time doing what you were made to do-loving God.

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  8. It's so tough! I KNOW that the lack of sleep is what can sabbotage the best of intentions (and make Momma crabby and frustrated!!)
    My frustration is even when the littles (and bigs!) are sleeping, this pregnant Momma isn't able to. All 9 mos of sleepless nights! (then baby comes ;)
    Don't get on that crazy scale - just enjoy fresh air and park time with your beautiful kids, the exercise you do get, and throw a little caffine in there for good measure :) Your second wind will be coming back! Miss you!
    PS Mary Hannah's Ramona locks are growing out!
    PPS I like LuAnn's suggestions!

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  9. My perspective may be different than some. I am sooo impressed that you have five children and homeschool them all while managing Type 1. I hope my Type 1 eight year old becomes a nun :) , but if she doesn't, I can only hope and pray she can handle children and a household with grace and love. You have three or four full time jobs (at least) - taking care of yourself, taking care of your children, educating your children, managing a home etc... If we could all only think and feel about ourselves the way our friends and God do! I also have discovered I like sparkpeople better than weight watchers! :)

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  10. Oh Jamie Jo, you are not alone on this one! I think we all have goals of spending more time in prayer and exercising each day but somehow... our day gets hijacked and the race is on!

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  11. This sounds so much like my life! Every time I have (make) an oppurtunity to pray, I feel like it's the same prayer, "I'm sorry for not putting you first. I'm sorry for not using my time more wisely." Every night, I set the alarm for EARLY so I can pray, workout, maybe do some laundry. It NEVER happens. It's very, very frustrating.

    Thank you for writing this post! It makes me feel as though I'm not alone!

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  12. I love what Lauren said; she's a real cheerleader!!! Jamie - you are a beautiful woman of God and He's blessed you with so much (not too much, mind!). Take it in stride. But, do set aside time for yourself to exercise (since it's important to you) . . . it makes you feel physically good as well as emotionally good so do keep trying! However, do not berate yourself or consider yourself a failure on any level. Pray while doing - ora et labora, yeah? Work and pray - your good works are your prayers.

    Love ya, sweetie. You in spire me!

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  13. Just had to stop in and let you know that you are not alone! But then, I see that lots of others have already let you know that ;)

    Prayer time and exercise seem to be my battles as well, daily. I already get up at 6am in order to shower and start my day at least a little before the kids are up (they are early risers and usually up by 7am). In my ideal world, exercise would be first in my day too. I know I feel so much better when I do it and I would love to have it crossed off the list right away in my day. Unfortunately, right now it doesn't happen that way and I spend at least the morning time wondering when I will fit it in. It usually happens, but not always at the 'perfect' time.

    I'm still juggling figuring out how to best use my time, fulfill the vocation of motherhood and feel best about myself and really be healthy. I want to feel better and know that when exercise is in my day, I do. It's the balance of it all that is tough.

    And prayertime, right now I get tidbits and even those I don't feel are the best. I keep thinking that once school is over for the year and we're on summer time that both prayer and exercise will take top priority and hopefully I can get into a good routine before the fall again.

    We'll see, I guess. Good luck Jamie and keep on plugging along. You're a great mom and I know you are doing the best in every way you can. That alone is a major accomplishment each day!

    Blessings, dear friend.

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  14. SO not alone! It seems impossible to schedule anything-especially exercise-because we never have a "typical" day!

    I realize that I have felt burnout with homeschooling this year for that very reason. I have been talking with my husband about how I can schedule that time and make sure he is here (then, as you say, I miss seeing him!). but I think it is so necessary.

    I also know that if I hit the ground running, and do not start with prayer,I can feel it all day long. I am going to start setting a prayer corner and telling the kids they can either join me, or not-but they have to respect that time (15 minutes at a a time)when I am in my prayer corner!

    I will be praying for you as well!

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  15. Your title of this post drew me over as I, too, have these inner struggles. As a Mama in mid-forties, I am at my heaviest weight and it really affects my mood, hence opening to doors to the evil one to fill my head with doubts about everything. I am wondering if it's the time of year? Thank you for sharing and for praying for others who struggle too. I will offer my prayers as well.

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  16. I tried to post a big long comment last night but it disappeared. I never know if this means that God is trying to tell me to be quiet or Satan intercepting my message. I will try again through email and see if the same thing happens! I might try posting again too.

    What I was trying to say was how much I admire you for even trying to keep up with prayer and exercise with five children and homeschooling. I am right there with you but, unlike you, have temporarily surrendered my ambitions. Maybe when the baby sleeps through the night I can get up on time for these things. Maybe if the weather ever gets nice and stays nice I will get out for more walks. I might even take on the lawn mowing this summer if the kids will watch the baby. Mostly, though, I am thoroughly tired of the stop & start of a good exercise routine, the up & down of my weight and size. I look back to photos after baby #3 and try not to think that I could be a size 10 if we had stopped at three kids. The fourth and fifth really did me in.

    We are perfectionists, I'm suspecting. We know that we pray best alone. We know that we get in shape better and faster with an hour of exercise - alone. We know how refueled we would feel (for the sake of our families) if we could do this! Trouble is, this dedicated activity is usually left as a sacrifice on the altar of homeschooling and openness to life. I wish it could be different, but for me I have to get out of survival mode and I feel like I am still in it. I really don't know how other moms can do this and pay enough attention to their kids and homeschooling. I am just not there. However, we are having a productive school year with both academics and music.

    Many a day I long for a life in which I could drop off the kids at a Catholic school, spend an hour in adoration, then head to the gym. I imagine I would be fit and happy and spiritually close to God. I would feel so much better as I head into my 40s and possibly avoid the low back pain and knee pain I struggle with now. I could be a really fit and healthy grandma when the time comes! Another mother of five I know in town has a life like this - though I do not know if she prays before going to the Y. Most likely she attends school Masses when they have them. She runs half marathons, is getting her doctorate online and has a part time job teaching at a university. Her children each have something they excel at - ice skating, karate, gymnastics. But from the sound of her Christmas letter she does not spend much time with her children.

    I think for me, I have to learn to pray with my kids in a way meaningful to all of us and to find ways to exercise together. We got a trailer hitch on the van and are looking at the best options to haul five bikes and a double bike trailer so we can hit the trails this summer. Maybe by fall the baby will actually sleep through the night and I can get up and at'um. I have hope that it will get better over time but right now I am just not pushing myself.

    Blessings to you, Jamie!

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  17. I didn't have time to read all the comments, so maybe someone already said this - but can you combine the two? When I go for my walks, I pray a rosary and then listen to music. It's a win-win :) Also, sometimes it's just easier to work out in the evening after hubby gets home from work and/or kids are in bed. (But my kids still go to bed crazy early, so that's not an option for everyone, I know.) Good luck, you know you can do it and succeed - you'll get back there. I once heard the advice from someone who lost a lot of weight that she would just try to go through each day and not gain anything. That's it!

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  18. Dear Jamie,
    To everything there is a season. You will not always have babies who wake you all night long, but that is what you have right now. I think it's an awful lot to expect to be up in the night with littles and then wake up and pray for 30 minutes or more early before they get up, and then work out for an hour during the day.

    Someday, and sooner than you think, you will be able to manage more, but for now you need to be more content with less. That's hard, but God gave you babies and they are a priority right now.

    That said, children do need to be taught to wait sometimes on their needs. It's hard to teach a baby that, but the older kids can and should be able to keep an eye on her for a bit each day.

    Do you have a treadmill? Can you manage a 20 minute walk while the baby is napping? And while you are walking pray the rosary or listen to a devotional CD.

    Maybe you can dress for a normal day (without the workout clothes) and if it looks like you can work it in, do it. If not, without the workout clothes you won't feel guilty all day for not working out. You are probably feeling anxious about it all day and it is affecting your mood and how you feel about yourself.

    It's important to take care of yourself physically, but it's also important to take care of yourself emotionally and if you are beating yourself up over this you are causing undue stress. Take it easy. Take care of yourself! And offer your works as a mother and wife as your prayer. Know that He appreciates your effort. Remember St. Therese's Little Way.

    Also know that you are loved for who you are, dear lady.

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  19. Of all of these beautiful comments, I think I agree with Barbara the most. I agree with Barbara because I have wanted to BE Barbara--with all her rosary-making and quilting and knitting and whatnot--and yet, I am NOT Barbara. I am far from who I "want" to be and I know, in part, it's because I'm not in that season of my life just yet.

    Is it vanity that makes me want to be 15 pounds lighter? Because my kids don't care and my husband is happy with me the way that I am. Re-read that last line: MY HUSBAND IS HAPPY WITH ME THE WAY THAT I AM.

    Tracy, too, hit the nail on the head with her comment about perfectionism. I believe that sometimes our fastest way to heaven--and our closest path to God--is to accept that we are NOT perfect and lean on God for the help that we need.

    If we were praying as much as we'd like...

    If we were as skinny as we'd like...

    Well, there'd be a whole slew of other problems that we'd be dealing with.

    I'm just saying.

    So for now we have the kisses & love from our yummy 2-year-olds...the crazy antics of our 6-year-olds...the innocence & helpfulness of our 8-year-olds...the constant questioning from our 10-year-olds...and oh my gosh, should we even get started on what we've got with our pre-teens?

    THAT'S God's will for our lives right now. It's not our will, Jamie--it's HIS, and we've got each other to help us through.

    And the communion of Saints...

    And those dear souls in Purgatory.

    We'll be fine, I think!

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  20. I think the best thing is to realize that you've given God five children and are raising them in the beauty and Truth of the faith - THAT is a prayer - a gift - a symphony to God's ears - wouldn't you say??? And at this time in your life - when you are obviously your busiest - quit thinking of it as "your life" - it's a phase of your life - it's part of your life - and this part will pass sooner than you realize. When you wake up - just tell God it is ALL for Him. All of it. Including YOU and your body - your body is a mother's body - and you should be happy to just be who you are right now - lithe and agile, slim and shapely mother's often aren't putting their family first - not ALL the time - but lots of the time.
    God knows your heart.
    That's enough, I should think.

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  21. Everyone else said what I wanted to say, so I'll just say this: I'm praying for you my friend and yes, I understand your struggles completely.

    P.S. you know what I was doing last night? I was going way over my weight watchers points stuffing my face with enchiladas smothered in sour cream and downing a margarita. Btw, did you know that 1margarita is 5 stinkin' points?!! wtheck?!

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  22. I can so identify with what you've written here. Despite our best plans sometimes, life happens. We do what we can, when we can.

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