“The only thing consistent is inconsistency”.
My husband and I coined this phrase 7 years ago when he left patrol for a full-time swat position. It has now become our family motto.
It never ceases to amaze me how unsettling this lifestyle can be. Just when I think I’ve figured it out, just when I think I have all of the tools and all of the motivation…I find myself maxed out and stretched well beyond my limits.
Like most supporting spouses, I love the good ole’ illusion of control.
Structure makes me feel safe. Predictability helps me keep all of my bases covered. If you’re familiar with the Gallup StrengthsFinder, Consistency is number 34 of 35 on my list. To explain that bluntly, I’m terrible at being consistent…in anything.
In my daily life, I have found two things that help me circumvent my lack of consistency:
- Personal accountability, and
- Routine (Not to be confused with a schedule).
But what’s a girl to do when my number one personal accountability partner is absent and his service-filled lifestyle bombs my best effort to establish a routine?!
Answer: scream and beat the tar out of a punching bag, cry, throw up and then watch Sleepless in Seattle all at 3 am.
In all seriousness, I can tell you that when I am at my worst and overloaded with the waves of sabotage this lifestyle hurls at me,I quickly reach for change as an answer.
“If only we could just quit.”
“If only we could have a normal life.”
My perspective focuses inward and my expectations become unrealistic.
What exactly am I wanting? If I’m honest…I’m longing for a life free of suffering, pain, and hardship.
I want things to be easy…I want them to be the way I dreamed they would be when I was a little girl fantasizing about home and life and marriage.
When things get hard, I want solutions. I grasp at ways to control and when I can’t seem to find them, I turn to self-pity and resentment.
But what if I choose a different lens?
Life doesn’t turn out the way we dreamed or even the way we think it should go.
But what if that’s okay?
What if we stop trying to get rid of the things that disappoint us and instead hold them alongside moments of joy?
What if I told you that your marriage could get better BECAUSE of the hardship the job brings?
It is in the darkness of life that our senses can sharpen. We can learn to listen more closely, love more deeply, laugh more heartily. It is because of the hardships we can grow into something beautiful.
So what can I control?
I can control my emotions, my actions, and my words.
Controlling my emotions doesn’t mean not feeling them. It actually means I need to be aware of them.
Controlling my words doesn’t mean I don’t speak up. It means I need to figure out ways to communicate clearly, and kindly what is true.
Controlling my actions doesn’t mean putting all my wants and desires on the back burner. It means making wise choices with my time and recognizing the season of life I’m in.
Growth never comes without pain.
Sometimes forging a new path or creating better habits involves the exposing and tearing down of old ones. Sometimes, to gain deeper intimacy, we must confront hard truths.
Rather than seek to anesthetize the discomfort, let’s seek to hold it, sharpen the senses in our marriages and be better for it.
….and still punch a punching bag every now and then.