Day 3: When Nothing is Good Enough and You’re Tired

It’s 11:11pm on Tuesday night, and Mike and I are side by side in bed writing blog posts.

If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is. 😉

What I did:

Today, the activity was very straightforward. The discussion was service, and the challenge for the day was to offer a back or foot massage. So easy! However, I was really tired (we’d gone to bed late after the movie Monday night). I’d babysat my neighbor’s toddler for the day, and caring for two children… shew. That can zap my energy. And I was having one of my down days – a day when my emotions go to their unhealthy, negative place of comparing, beating myself up, shutting other people out, viewing life as one big worst-case scenario, etc.

Today’s activity was not fancy or intricately planned. I waited till things were wrapped up with putting Noah to bed and cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. We were sitting on the couch, and I asked Mike if he’d like his feet or back massaged. He was really excited about the idea, and had trouble deciding what he wanted. I offered both, but he just went for the back massage. 🙂

What I learned:

(1) It can be simple.

This is difficult for me. When I feel inspired to do something, I go big and consider every detail to make it grand and perfect. But then days come when I’m tired, or there isn’t any big idea. When that happens, it doesn’t seem worth it to try. Why bother just offering a tiny little back rub to show Mike love? How boring. I have this problem with trying to impress and be perfect, then ironically I give up because I can’t attain my high standards. Even this blog entry has suffered from such standards. I’ve trashed five drafts already because they didn’t adequately convey my experience offering a five-minute back massage!

It can be harder, too, to offer something to Mike that feels so small when he just did something that felt so big. (Shout-out to impromptu date night!) I even got angry with the book for not making sure the suggested activities coincided in their “levels” of showing love. Ha! I’ve learned that when I compare, it becomes less about serving Mike and more about making sure I come out the winner. That’s totally backwards. When I offered the massage to Mike, I threw in an apology that I hadn’t really prepared anything. “No. It’s not a competition,” he said firmly (he knows where my mind goes). “It doesn’t have to be big every day. It’s not supposed to be.” Guys… I needed to hear that reminder so badly.

Acts of love don’t require a big, fancy presentation every day. They can be simple!

(2) It can be done.

I also felt like I had a good case for postponing the activity. It’s funny – I listed all the excuses in my head as if I needed to make a defense for myself. I’m tired, I’ve been chasing around two kids while getting things done, and I’ve kind of decided me time is the most important thing to keeping my sanity so surely I deserve at least two hours at this point… 

Here’s the deal. Mike wasn’t forcing me to do something nice for him. I could have skipped the activity and he’d have understood. However, I realized I had this idea that I only needed to offer an act of service when it was convenient for me. And convenient love isn’t a very powerful kind of love. What if, when I could totally use excuses to my advantage, I instead chose to offer Mike an act of service anyway? Could I find the energy?

Fun fact: I could find the energy. And then I actually became more energized and happy by proactively serving Mike (without him asking). Love does crazy things like that. 🙂 Today, the success was choosing to serve in spite of a bad day, and in spite of feeling like what I had wasn’t enough. That, my friends, was a huge win. (Also a huge win: having a husband who brightens your day by making you laugh. Gosh, I love him.)

And with that, Day 3 is complete! This blog entry that began at 11pm on Tuesday night is now being finished mid-morning on Wednesday,* so it’s time for me to begin prep for Day 4… here we go!

*Aaaand it’s being posted on Wednesday night. Así es la vida.

On prayer: I very briefly prayed for Mike yesterday, and hope to bring it to the forefront of my mind again today. I chose a verse to pray over him: 

“And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled up with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:19

 Mike radiates Christ every day in his patience, kindness, and love for people; I wanted a verse that allowed me to pray for his relationship with God itself. My prayer is that his pursuit of God would make it so that circumstances become less important in determining life’s fullness, and that he’d instead enjoy life to the fullest as he experiences God and the crazy fierce love of Jesus.

On TV: Under the revised terms (see Day 2) and so long as playing the Minion Movie twice in a day for two young children is not viewed as breaking the conditions that have been set, it has been 84 hours since we last watched TV. Last night, in lieu of binge-watching a show, Mike and I played Head’s Up. I highly recommend it.

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