Things are not going well when you find yourself shouting at the dog in the street and look up to find a neighbour about to greet you and you end up carrying the dog home. Things are not going well when your daughter's dentist has to pass you a tissue because you are crying.
I want to be the kind of person who has an immaculately behaved dog who always does what she is told. I want to be the kind of person who has children with perfect teeth.
I do not want to be the kind of weak-willed and thoughtless person who cannot control their dog. I do not want to be the kind of mother whose child, teeth rotted by Coco-Cola in baby-bottles and endless sweets, has to take the child for an extraction.
In an epiphany moment this weekend I realised that most of my motivation for almost everything I do comes from an idea of the sort of person I want to be, the sort of person I find acceptable, even admirable and an idea of the kind of person I don't want to be, the kind of person I despise and judge. (Although, of course, the kind of person I want to be would never despise or judge another human being.)
I realise that I am not free to choose not to run when I don't feel like it, because the kind of person I want to be is fit. I am not free to eat a whole bar of chocolate because the kind of person I want to be is thin. I am not free to miss tonight's prayer meeting as I am exhausted, emotionally fragile and possibly have a stomach bug because the kind of person I want to be is always at prayer meetings, in fact is deeply spiritual and committed to the community.
What if the me that I really am is not the kind of person I want to be? What if the me that I really am is the kind of person I find hard to accept? What if "God, who puts all things together..." and makes "us into what gives him most pleasure" (Hebrews 13, The Message) has a different idea to me of the kind of person he wants to me to be? Am I prepared to believe that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" and "God's workmanship", that the me that God made is acceptable, even admirable and I don't have to try to live up to the standard I set myself? I think the honest answer right now is "no". Perhaps that honesty is a first step to a "yes".