I stare at the wall hanging in one of my favorite stores, then carefully place it into my shopping cart.
It was perfect. The words, the font, the message. And I purchased it without guilt because somehow I knew our home “needed” it.
I had just finished cleaning the best gun shop in town, and enjoyed chatting with the bright eyed little boy who occupied one of the back rooms while his daddy put in a few hours of work.
He walked on my wet floor and chattered incessantly when all I wanted was quiet. But he taught me a lesson.
I had left my own little boy at home with his daddy while I did my weekly job away from the house. It was hard to leave. Somehow, I always feel I’m not good enough of a mama when I pull out of that driveway.
Feeling like I’m not enough is a constant challenge for many of us mothers. But here was a little tyke with eyes so bright and happy they nearly blazed with confidence, and he was, get this, occupying himself in the back room of a gun shop.
And here I was, feeling badly that my own little boy was running around a large house and property with his dad and three siblings. Perhaps the boy alone in the room was happier than my own boy in the house—because love isn’t felt with things as much as it’s felt with rest and freedom in the atmosphere—and it may or may not be happening in either place.
I wanted to meet his mother. I did get to observe his father, and there was this relaxed, all is well with our world type of demeanor. He had the bright face, too.
Mothers, our kids do better with our sometimes-absent bright face than they do with our constantly present, stressed out countenance.
I’m thinking knee-deep into this dilemma of wanting to fill every single gap I think I need to fill—and then find myself snappy and exhausted as a result. This summer, I’ve been taking a step back.
It’s hard. I’m wondering if my friends are offended because I haven’t had them over as much as I’d like to.
I’m wondering if my husband’s thinking I’m slacking on taking care of his needs.
I’m wondering if I’m enough, enough, enough—and I’m choosing to let go, anyway.
I fill that gigantic glass jug [the one I found at a yard sale for two dollars] with granola so the kids can eat breakfast before school, and I’m hidden away in my office with my Bible, laptop, and coffee. The next week, I purchase cups of instant cereal at the outlet store for a treat. My kids thought I’d finally joined the “fun mom” crowd until they read the ingredients—get this, the first ingredients were beans and lentils, and the fruity cereal was colored with paprika and beet juice.
I let go of two weekly commitments so I could add in two others for the benefit of our family.
I quit pinching every penny, and I purchase a few lovely things for our home along with teaching DVD’s to create a more restful school atmosphere.
Because the mind that never quits will soon have a brain that doesn’t know how to shut down. And when you’re pushed so hard for all things good you soon can’t be anything good.
I speak it to my husband, this thing of trying so hard to create a perfect life for my kids that I end up creating a stressful atmosphere. Because the body that never stops will soon have a brain that doesn’t want itself or anyone else to stop, either.
We were born to be, not born to perform.
Be full of smiles.
Be connected to the people who matter.
Somehow we’re conditioned to think that the busier we are, the more productive we are. Did you know we can spin crazily for a lifetime without producing the product of a moment?
Life is not so much about what we say or do or what model of parenting we choose as it is about what kind of presence we host. The peaceful presence of God determines what we say and do; therefore, taking time to know and commune with God is the most important gift we can give to our kids and spouses.
Cut your corners but don’t cut your time. If you’re willing to cut corners you will soon notice that you enjoy your extra time much more than you need the satisfaction of accomplishing everything.
And if you wonder if you’re a good enough wife, mother, or friend, remember that you are a human being more than you are a human doer.
I’m noticing an extra smile twinge the corners of my mouth these days. An extra moment to give. Extra energy to put out. I’d rather have extra energy to put out than have no energy because I’m constantly stressed out.
God is a Being, and you are made in His likeness. Because God is the Being He is, He does the things He does. He doesn’t do the things He does so He can be the Being He is. In the same way, you can’t afford to push too hard to do many things so you can be something.
You do the best thing because you already are something—and you don’t need to prove what already is.
When you allow His Being to enter your own, you will be love, peace, and kindness.
I pick up that wall hanging. I drink that coffee, alone. I have that quiet time. I create space just to be, simply to enjoy, breathe, and smile.
I’m done rushing about trying to do everything I think those around me need me to do—because I’ve seen that doing so much good takes me from being all things good.
There is never too much to do—there is only an inward push to be too much because we think we’re not enough. Mothers get this—that push is a lie, and if you need to, drop that paring knife and go purchase onions that are already chopped.
In a burning world, we don’t need to be burnt out. We need to be lit right up, because we were made to be long before we were stressed with too much to do.