|Banner on display at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum|
I like to feel productive. I like to help others. I enjoy all the activities in which I participate. But I think it has become too much.
When I find myself not enjoying activities that should be fun, like swimming or playing a board game with my kids, because I'm too distracted by all the things that I could be accomplishing during that time period if I weren't playing with them - it's too much.
When my children says they rarely see me smile or hear me laugh - it's too much.
When my children repeatedly ask, "Mama, are you happy?" - it's too much.
If someone asks what my hobbies are and I can't think of a single one - it's too much.
(I have come to think of my serving others as a hobby, because it is something that I do truly enjoy doing. I used to say that my hobbies were things like reading, playing the piano, sewing, but I rarely do any of those things anymore. Well, I do read, but almost always to the kids and not on my own, which is still good, but not the same.)
When I find that I can't even clean my house beyond the basic washing the dishes and clothes, or just enjoy time sitting still and quiet - it's too much.
When friends and family members say, "Well, I was going to ask you, but you're always so busy," - it's too much.
Going on a 17-day vacation with my family and spending five days in this beautiful location:
|Wellesley Island State Park, Camping Spot 62|
...and seeing sunrises like these...
and sunsets like these:
|Our kids with a newly met cousin|
...I didn't want to come home. I almost cried, especially when the rest of the family wanted to rush home in two days instead of the three days we already had planned. I was not in a hurry to return to a list of things to do. And do you want to know how my first week back looked?
It really hasn't been too bad, but it has definitely been full, especially when you add washing clothes, making meals, washing dishes, training up children in the way they should go, and other daily tasks to it that don't get written down on the planner. It's as if I have a to-do list that doesn't even make it onto my to-do list. Again, I do find that I enjoy being productive and helping others, so it really hasn't felt too hectic. I've also noticed that two weeks in, it feels more familiar and less like a problem. I'm not sure that's what I want, though.
I think it's time to attempt a change. It won't be easy, and I'm probably more open to the possibility of failure than I ought to be, but I plan to try.
About four or five years ago, I found a Commitment Worksheet online that was very helpful in showing me where and how I prioritized and spent my time - how divided and spread my time and efforts were. Unfortunately, it was a bit buried on the internet and took me a while to find it again, but I succeeded and have linked it here for you, if you click "Commitment Worksheet" above. Thank you to Erica at ConfessionsofaHomeschooler.com for creating this resource and sharing it so others may benefit! (Whether you homeschool or not, she has some great resources.)
God has been showing me that this - finding rest - is an area He wants me to pursue. He has bombarded me with songs, Scripture, devotionals, and even the Editor's Letter in a magazine!
The editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens, Stephen Orr, wrote in the August 2018 issue about how everyone is rushed and busy, and how phones and other technology are taking the place of real, meaningful relationships and action. "We are in a near constant state of reaction." "We often feel that we don't have the time to be creative." (Yes, I've said that to myself and others more than a few times.) People are losing the ability to have original thoughts as they consume "a large portion of info that they haven't sought out. It is coming to them via algorithms that choose what we see." He writes,"I assure you that as soon as you stop for a minute, you'll end up thinking. Real thoughts - your own - will start seeping back in. Problems will find their solutions. Forgotten tasks will be remembered without a calendar prompt. And most important, inspiration and creativity will return and flourish. Think about grabbing those pauses instead of instinctively reaching for your phone the next time you encounter a gap in your day...Those gaps, no matter how tiny, are so precious. Let's make the most of them by doing a little less," (emphasis mine).
Another benefit of the trip is that I often didn't have access to wi-fi services, which meant no e-mail or Facebook. It felt strange at first, but I found that I really enjoyed the time away (which, for a long time I've known I would). I need less time tied up with technology.
It's time to do some weeding, to pare back on some activities so I can focus more effectively on others, and find some rest.
I want to grab those pauses. I want to enjoy time with family and friends without worrying about everything else that "needs" to be done. I want to smile and laugh more often. I want to take long walks, go on hikes, exercise, ride bikes, look at God's beautiful creation all around me, play the piano, sew, read books, and study the Bible more.
I want to see more sunrises and sunsets.
I want the calm that comes with those moments. I want the rest that God intended for each of us to have. What about you?
|A Sunset Near Home|
Devotionals that I've read recently pertaining to this topic:
(All of these are short devotionals found on the YouVersion Bible app, but many are based on books from these same authors.)
"Turning Off the Noise" by John H. Munro
"Breathing Room" by Sandra Stanley
"Soul Rest: 7 Days to Renewal" by Curtis Zackery
"Holy Hustle: Embrace a Work-Hard, Rest-Well Life" by Crystal Stine
Songs that God brought during this current time:
"Just Breathe" by Jonny Diaz (This is a song that comes often for me.)
"I'm in a Hurry to Get Things Done" by Alabama
"Oh My Soul You are Not Alone" by Casting Crowns
"Sunrise, Sunset" by composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick
Scriptures that relate to this topic:
For having Sabbath/rest
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. - Exodus 20:8-11
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. - Genesis 2:1-3
Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. -
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. - James 2:10
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5
For choosing activities wisely
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. - Matthew 6:33
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:17
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. - 1 Corinthians 14:40
Reminders to not become lazy in the pursuit of rest
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. - Colossians 3:23-24
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. - Proverbs 18:9
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - and poverty will come on you like a theif and scarcity like an armed man. - Proverbs 6:6-11
The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. - Proverbs 15:19
The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. - Proverbs 21:25
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." - 2 Thessalonians 3:10