It started exactly two weeks ago. The heart palpitations. The disturbed sleep. Then, the flu-like symptoms. Headache. Stuffy-nose. Nausea. A general feeling of unwellness, overwhelming and disconcerting. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older how my body responds to stress- it manifests itself into tell-tale, physical symptoms, that mimic the flu. This was my body telling me that I’m doing too much, thinking too much, just, too much over-all. Which, honestly, really made me mad.
For once, I wasn’t over-whelmed with the many things I have on my plate- I love them all. I love my work, I love the prospect of new clients, and I love how I get to do something I’m good at, and provide supplemental income for our family. I love seeing signs that we are digging out of the debt we fell into after staying home full time. I love the meetings we have with friends throughout the week, some struggling, some not, and I love the opportunity to pour into their lives, and them into ours. I love our (very large) small group and relish the time I get to prepare a meal and pray for them. I love hosting a weekly women’s bible study, that though we can’t provide our living room all the time, the times that we do feels so natural, and comforting, and exactly why God gave us this home. I love the new musical opportunities I’ve been given to revisit a gift I haven’t used in quite some time. I love the mornings and the days off I get to spend with my little lady, and still being her primary care-taker while I do everything else is the most important thing to me. Which made me re-evaluate. What is the root of the stress? Why am I suffering under the weight of it all? What can be done?
Firstly, I had to remember to pray. And repent- totally. I am not SuperWoman, and to think that I am, and worse, allow others to view me that way is damaging and, well, wrong. I cannot do this by myself. It’s not up to me to. That’s why we have a heavenly Father, to rely and depend on. But then I had to ask him, “Why did you give all of this to me and then have me unable to handle it all?”
It’s a question I’ve asked so many times, but always about trying circumstances. It’s a rare feeling to ask God why he’s clearly lead me to do so many of these things, things that I love, and not be able to keep up. He and I have been slowly working it out together this week and here are a few things I think he’s shown me.
Firstly, I am a huge proponent of letting my yes be yes, and my no be no. The problem is, I like to say yes much more often than I like to say no. I say yes to everything, and then struggle with keeping my yes when my weeks begin filling up in advance. I had to remind myself that there is a second part to that verse- letting my no be no actually requires that there is a no every once in a while.
I am the family budget manager. I do the bills. I track the debt. I obsess over the finances of our family. (But, if you’ve read this for the years I’ve been writing, you already know that). When I began working part time again, there was so much hope. We could pay our bills. We could begin paying down our debt. We could buy groceries. Money so easily becomes distracting for me, and something I have to work so hard in reminding myself that I have a Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills…. and none of it belongs to me. I didn’t earn it…..monetary wealth is a blessing, a gift. I have a tendency to want to hoard it, save it, put it away before I can even see it. For security. But, it was becoming quickly apparent, as it always does, that the more I worked and gave myself out to the other things God put in our paths, it was not the security that saves. I hate spending money as the false security I have when I have it, goes with it. But there were certain things I had to consider this week. We as a family feel called to provide these ministry opportunities for others in our home. My job is a blessing and needs the space to grow with more clients. The times that I have at home need to be spent with Rich and El, at the park and at the zoo, and singing and writing like I was meant to. In order to maintain those things, I had to let go of the false security I had in my growing bank account. I hired a housekeeper. I did. It felt weird and indulgent and not anything like me at all, but when I calculated the time it took away from my family to prepare our home for the ministries it holds, and to make sure we’re all in clean clothes, it was a staggering amount of time. Time that can be better spent with my family, working, ministering to others. I began the search for a babysitter. El’s on a few wait lists for the only pre-schools I would consider sending her to, but she’s still too little to be gone all day, and can’t miss a nap time. My availability for jobs was limited due to my inability to secure a babysitter as often as I need during the week, and so, as much as it strains our finances right now to hire someone else, we both agreed it’s what must be done. After hiring someone to clean the house twice a month yesterday, the relief I felt was so overwhelming it was tangible. I hadn’t realized what a weight it was that shadowed my thoughts. Our family has increased their sacrifice for us and has offered more time to spend with El, so that I can work and not worry about who she is with, opening up time during the day to take more kiddos as clients and time to prepare for them properly. I’m not sure how anyone lives life with children without Grandmas and Aunties to help. Really. I have no idea.
Lastly, taking time off is essential. Rich and I have a full weekend coming up…..to do nothing. 🙂 We’re celebrating our anniversary a little early and spending the entire weekend sleeping in, eating pancakes, watching movies, and taking a much needed break from thinking about, well, anything. Taking time off, though it always felt like such a waste of time to me, is crucial. I realized this when my headache starting to dissipate when we planned on a relaxing weekend.
So, that’s why it’s been a little silent on my front lately. I had to pretend to be Super Woman for a while and had to be reminded of who I really am. A daughter of the King. A servant to others. A women who, right now, just needs a large cup of coffee and the promise of a do-nothing weekend. Someday, I’ll learn this lesson for real and not have to revisit it every few months. Hopefully.
What lesson do you re-learn over and over again?