I felt a huge weight lifting off my shoulders today as I completed a particular task. I mean, I actually feel physically lighter. Do you know the feeling? If you are anything like me, I fear you are all too familiar with it. And the relief is so great right now that I just wanted to talk to you about it, my friends. I’m not sure how long the feeling will last, so I want to bask in it. Roll around in it and jump up and down in it. Because most of the time lately, I’m feeling overwhelmed instead of relieved. I sense that you know this feeling too. I’m stretched a little too thin for my own liking right now. Working two part time jobs, coaching, volunteering, wifing (spell check is trying to tell me wifing isn’t a thing, but I say it is), mothering and grandparenting leaves me with not enough heads for all my hats. But I love ALL those hats. I want to wear them ALL and more importantly, I don’t really feel God calling me to give any of them up right now (accept maybe the coaching – but that’s an entirely different story). So what to do?
Continuing in this overwhelmed state is not really an option. I don’t like it. I have never been one to thrive under stress or pressure. I simply feel stressed and pressured. When my plate gets too full, I feel like I am a jack of all trades and master of none. And I SO want to do a good job at all of these. My jobs are a source of joy to me, and a little helpful extra income for my family. And there is NOTHING (except my relationship with God) more important to me than my husband and kids. Both of my volunteer gigs are acts of service to the Lord, and I want to be available to help my step-son and daughter-in-law – whose very full arms are holding 2 biological kids and 3 fosters (all under the age of 4). I happen to know, though, that I need down time to feel sane. And it’s in short supply right now. I need a little time to read and veg, watch tv and cuddle my dog, enjoy my husband and rest. I cannot work every day until I fall into bed asleep and maintain my normal, sunny disposition.
I read this quote recently from Cindy Crawford: “Life is where you’re at. Whatever you’re doing is enough. You don’t need to do everything well all the time. When you live your life like that, it’s a huge relief.” Well, that may be easy for billionaire super-model Cindy Crawford to say, but how does an average (average looking, average talent, average income) feel like enough? I don’t think lowering our expectations of ourselves is really the solution. I have to differ with Ms. Crawford on that point. I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well. But we have to check our motivation. Scripture tells us “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Col 3:23 NIV When we are striving for excellence to please our Heavenly Father, we may find that it releases us from some of the grind created by striving for earthly success.
If you are finding yourself a bit (or a truck load) overwhelmed, might I offer a couple of suggestions? Please understand that I haven’t mastered that peaceful, easy feeling, so I’m listening in on my own advice. Now, with that warning, proceed with prayer and thoughtfulness.
First, examine your schedule. Even though I don’t feel God’s call to lighten my load right now, that doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. And if we are honest, we put way to much stress on ourselves by jam- packing our days (or our kids days). We all need margin. If you are running from work to appointment to practice to activity every day all day, I guarantee that it’s too much. God created the idea of Sabbath. And rest is not ONLY needed on Sunday (but if some of us would start there, it would go a long way). Children need unscheduled time to enjoy their childhoods and we all need breathing space. Enough space to rest and commune with God on a daily basis. Some of you aren’t liking my first bit of advice, but here is the second anyway: examine your motives. If you have studied your schedule and nothing is screaming at you to be eliminated, then ask the “why” of each activity. Are you working to please God, or man? Do you find joy and peace in it? Do your children find joy in the activities you have them enrolled in? If you can’t answer a resounding “yes”, cut it out (said with Joey Gladstone hand motions)! And once you feel that your scheduling is centered in God’s will for you and your family, press hard into His strength to achieve excellence. You got this! You are enough.
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