When I was younger, as in a child and then a teen, I couldn’t wait to be ‘grown up’. The prospect of perceived freedoms and opportunities seemed so incredibly appealing, especially to a teen curtailed at times by wise and caring parents yet whom I viewed as being ‘spoilsports’ or the ahem.. ‘Fun police’.
Fast forward 30 years and my perceptions of adulthood have somewhat changed!
Mortgages, bills, caring for the needs of my children – basically that means having an incredible memory, always always thinking ahead, dropping everything that’s on my ‘urgent’ to do list to pick them up or sort out a problem, being organised for work, keeping the house eh ‘spotless’, have the laundry up to date, maintaining relationships with friends and family – that is, investing quality precious time in actually being together – not just catch up with a few whatsapps, planning holidays, walking the dog, getting hair and beauty treatments and oh yes, now add ‘gardening’ to the list, spending time with my husband and yes of course, God as well. Woooooaaah. I’m exhausted typing these.
And not to mention achieving all of this with a few uninvited hormones dropping in on occasion just to spice things up!
A while ago I stopped. Literally stopped. I held my hands in the air and said, enough. I was exhausted, feeling permanently pressured with a knot in my stomach, and feeling like I was always ‘behind’ and failing. At everything.
It was time for lots of much needed reflection, wondering how things had become so busy despite continued efforts to ‘let things go’,and to reprioritise.
Was it that I couldn’t say no? Was my time management lousy? At times yes it was as I tried to pack everything in, and felt frustrated when I couldn’t. I realised life had become so busy that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d laughed, that is laughed so hard it hurt and offended people because of the machine-gun like sound it produced, accompanied by a few snorts.
I knew in my heart what the problem was. My focus was wrong. I was spending time with God but I was fitting Him in amongst everything else rather than my time with Him being top of my ‘list’. I was trying to manage and control everything myself, not in a perfectionist way, rather a ‘it needs done and if I don’t do it then it won’t happen’ way. Yes things do need done. At times I do think that the impact of feminism on modern day women hasn’t been all rosy but has left many of us worn out and disillusioned. Maybe that’s for another blog! But life has become fast and exhausting for so many of us. Chatting to friends I knew I wasn’t alone. So often I now hear talk of ‘wine o’clock’ or the more fashionable ‘gin o’clock’ – alcohol is viewed as the saviour and answer to weary, exhausted minds and bodies that need help to relax and switch off from IT all. This is not a judgement call on alcohol, merely an observation as to why so many yearn for a glass to get through life. To cope. To function. I knew that wasn’t a solution for me. But I needed to take steps to find a way to laugh again. Correction, I didn’t need to take a step.
I needed to stop, to breathe out and to let the Holy Spirit soothe my soul and whisper truth into my heart and mind.
Essentially I had let myself believe a lie that if all these worthwhile in themselves tasks weren’t completed, that I had failed. I had piled expectation upon myself and used my task completion rate as a measure of my own success. It’s so far from God’s truth and his heart for me. We’ve been learning in church recently about how the bible is life-giving and life-changing. It really really is! By adjusting things so that I was starting my day with an intimate and connecting time with God rather than a hurried read of a couple of verses, has been so incredibly refreshing. It just makes so much sense! Giving my day to God, the source of love and life, and letting Him lead me in even the mundane, asking him to guide me in all my choices has made such a difference. God has and continues to help me refocus and to have my self-worth shaped by him, not my own or even others unrealistic expectations.
I’ve been a Christian for 31 years and really it’s in recent years that I’m fully believing in how much He loves and adores me – I love that word! I know how much He wants my best and when things don’t go according to MY plan, it’s ok because his is better and trusting Him despite myself is always a gamechanger.