You’ve had those weeks right? Where you’re going so fast and you’ve committed yourself to so many things that you can’t breathe anymore? The Yeses that sounded like fun and worthy challenges are piling up and it feels like you’re disappointing everyone, accomplishing nothing?
No? Just me. Okay.
I’ve never not had a job. I’ve worked (and earned a paycheck) since I was 12 years old. Not sure it was legal then but we’ll call it a paid internship I guess. Nevertheless, coming out of college, I started my first career two weeks after graduation. I worked for SuperTarget in Minneapolis for five years. I worked as a Store Manager for Starbucks in Maine for the next seven years. I went to work for a church (by the grace of God, not because I knew what I was doing) for the last four years. And now I’m a stay at home mom.
Stay at home mom. Sit in that for a minute with me. I never really got how it worked. And I still don’t get it because I’m really bad at it. Being a stay at home mom means that my priority is my family. Being a stay at home mom means that I need to give my children and husband the attention I’ve always given my work. Being a stay at home mom means that my work environment is all around me. My “sanctuary” and workplace have collided.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve come to realize just how much stock I put in my job title. I was my work. Sure, I was still a wife, mom, friend, etc. but primarily, I was my job title. And I was good at it. I got fulfillment and satisfaction from it. There was reward both monetarily and emotionally. I was serving, providing and leading in ways I could quantify and understood.
I was totally one of those misguided fools who thought it would be nice to not have to worry about work and just be home. But when the opportunity came along, it terrified me. We had just uprooted our family from everything we knew and loved. We had been in Maine for 11 years and established deep roots with friends and family. It was our home.
But God called us to a new place. We relocated to south-central Florida and my family needed (needs) me to help us stabilize. Our kids were totally starting over in a new school with new friends and new activities. We moved into a one-bedroom apartment then four months later into a three bedroom, three bathroom house. As if the southern culture shock for this northerner wasn’t enough, it’s very bizarre to go from 800 square feet where you settled quite nicely to quadruple that space and feel upside down. I know that sounds totally spoiled and you may have just stopped reading, but it’s my truth. I’m still wigged out by what to do with this place that so I often do nothing with it. Not a good steward and not an awesome mom.
Rather than deal with the uncomfortableness of my unknown, I jumped right back into what I know and love. Work. Paid work? No. But work in a context I understand. By the time it was all said and done, I have volunteered myself for six different organizations taking on leadership roles and major projects in each of them. That doesn’t include the mommy groups I joined and extra-curricular activities for our kids because that’s what stay at home moms do, right??
And, by the time last weekend rolled around, I was crumbling under the weight of my Yeses. I was stressed, not doing the work God gave me and failing miserably in most areas of responsibility.
I really do have the best husband in the world. Sorry girls, but this guy rocks. And he gets me. He gets me better than I ever give him credit. His genius is that he lets me go but he doesn’t let me burn up in the fiery mess I make. As the flames start to lap around me, he grabs the hose, rescue ladder or helicopter basket and pulls me out. He’s brutally honest when I ask what he thinks and listens patiently when I’m ready to spill it.
He looked at me on Monday night during the Final Four and said it was okay to stop. I think I needed that permission to take a time out. He reminded me that’s it’s okay to say no.
This stay at home mom gig might not be an option forever. He reminded me that I’ve been given a chance to be the one who’s NOT stressed. I can be the safe place for my family. I can work out with my girlfriends, read a book, cook food and decorate our house. I don’t HAVE to save the world this week. I can’t really do that anyway.
Why am I afraid of the peace? Why do I not trust that I am enough, just as I am, without the busyness, the titles, the responsibility to others and accolades? I think there are times when the enemy twists what is a gift in me from God and turns it into something more of a distraction and sinful ambition.
So…TIME OUT. I’m taking a time out. I’m not running away. I’m not cutting all ties. I’m not neglecting my commitments. But I am taking a time out. I’m reassessing what God’s really called me to in this time of my life. I’m taking this week to decorate my house. I’m swimming with my kids. I’m not on my computer – except for right now.
I am working out. I am spending time with God. I am intentionally focusing my attention on my family. I even bought hanging baskets for my patio yesterday.
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Developing a deeper dependency on Jesus is a beautiful thing. There are so many times when I still cling to the idea that I have to go it alone but God is so good and so patient with us…with me. Matthew 11:28 says, “Then Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” This isn’t permission to quit, but it is permission to pause, regroup, and focus in on what God is calling us to at this time in our lives.