How do we know when we are doing too much? I mean, is it just me or does it feel like there is pressure everywhere you turn to do more and be more? Put in more hours at work, make more money, volunteer more at church, keep your house more picked up, give your kids more opportunities, cook more healthy meals, exercise more, get more sleep, be more sexy, be more crafty, be more friendly, be more educated, be more engaged, be more thrifty…more, more, more.
I’m totally exhausted already.
You know what I’m going to say here. You’ve heard it before, but I’m here to gently remind you that you do not have to be everyone and do everything. Let me rephrase…you can’t be everyone and do everything. If God wanted it that way, He wouldn’t have made so many of us to color the world so creatively!
The reason I am writing this post on the topic of do, do, do, more, more, more is because I am feeling poo, poo, pooped. Yep, three poos there. I’m Wiped with a capital W, cashed out, down for the count, want to crawl under blankets and sleep for a week pooped.
I was thinking today, why do I feel so exhausted? As I recounted the last couple weeks, I was instantly reminded that I did too much. Way too much. Let me remind you that I have five children, three of which are homeschooled, a two-year old who could keep the world busy if given the chance, and a just turned one year old who still has me up some nights to nurse, and when awake is into everything.
Now that sounds like enough right there to keep a person busy, right?
Well, on top of the ordinary everyday life, I had way over committed myself. Over the past two weeks, we had a few evenings where couples were over that we mentor (we love doing this by the way), we also helped at a marriage class at our church (love doing this too), we hosted a soup night for our life group (love), Kevin had church meetings, and any extra mental energy I had was being poured into Kevin’s business because of some changes we are making. Oh, and last but not least- drumroll please…Kevin was out of town on a business trip for 3 whole days (Peeps, that’s a lot for me. Did not love this). That does not include the lunches and dinners out with friends, or the classes I help with at the kids home school co-op, kids activities, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and the to-do list that never ever EVER ends.
Why am I telling you this? To brag about how busy I am? (What a silly question, yet I do feel like our culture praises busyness, which I don’t get at all.) NO! To tell you that this. Is. Too. Much! No one can do that much and do it well.
This is why I’m wiped.
If your plate looks similar to mine the last couple weeks, I think you and I need to learn to say that little word that so many of us have trouble saying. No. Try it with me…no. No, thank you. No, I will not be able to help with that. No, I’m sorry, I think I will have to take a rain check. No, I would love to, but I don’t think I will be able to make that possible. Nope, nope, nope. It doesn’t have to be said in a mean way, and it doesn’t have to be said to every invitation or expectation.
On the flip side…you may have to learn to say no to yourself.
No to the extra hours at the office, no to starving yourself to be more skinny, no to the stress that you haven’t made all the crafts on Pinterest that you’ve pinned, no to the idea of having a perfectly picked up house, no to the temptation to be more for others. If you resonate with any of this (umm, my hand is way in the air), you just may need to rest in who you are and in God’s peace for a while. He is certainly not asking you to be more or do more. You are putting that on yourself.
Jesus said “come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”, Matthew 11:28-29.
What yoke are you putting on yourself? Jesus wasn’t talking about taking the yellow part of his egg and sharing it with you (that’s spelled yolk, just in case you were wondering). He was referencing the yoke placed on oxen when they work together to pull a heavy load.
He is saying that when you are attached to His work load, it’s an easy one.
We should have peace when we are that close to Him. We should have peace when we are working with Jesus. We should have peace when we are doing the things that He has asked us to do.
So I must ask you, are you doing the things He has asked you to do? Or are you getting caught up in the “mores” of life instead of yoking yourself to Him?
As you ponder that, I do have good news for you, and that is to say YES to the best stuff. Everything that we get invited and asked to do is good stuff. Everything I would like to do more of is good stuff. And I want to do it all! But, how do we decide what is the BEST things to commit to? Well, here is the check list I try to go through in my head before committing to something (…when I’m level-headed, unlike the last couple weeks)…
1. Does God want me to be committing my time to this? Ask Him before you say yes, and take a few days before giving an answer.
2. Does this activity benefit the whole family? This is our plumb line with kids activities. If it doesn’t benefit family life, we aren’t doing it. We have the kids in gymnastics classes and swimming classes at the same time so that I am not running children this way and that and screaming to get in the car all the time. I don’t want to live that way, and I certainly don’t want my kids to remember me that way.
3. Does your spouse think it’s a good idea? It’s tempting to want to be involved in everything or have your kids involved in everything, but I think spouses can see the routine from an outside perspective and know if it’s going to be too much. Kevin and I rely very heavily on each others opinion when it comes to commitments. I know I am very grateful for the way we work together in making decisions. There have been many times that one of us wanted to commit to something, but the other didn’t think it would be our best yes, so we didn’t, and were very grateful afterward.
You may also want to set boundaries like only committing to two social events every weekend, or three evening commitments in a week.
Talk with your spouse and decide what you want your normal flow to be like, and revisit it often. Kevin and I had a “two social events per weekend” rule for a while, but have found ourselves as of late having weekends where we are running from one event to the next. That’s not how we want our weekends to look. We want it to be full of restful and rejuvenating time to connect with the kids and each other before starting another week. So we talked, and committed to scaling back again.
As I leave you with these thoughts, I ask you, are you weary or burdened? Remember that Jesus said to attach yourself and your energies to Him, and He promises rest for your soul. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? If your answer is yes, then your rest may start with saying no more often…or maybe it’s saying yes to only the best things. Whatever your answer, know that many of us are doing this juggling act with you. It’s a skill worth mastering, but for tonight what do you say we call an intermission and get some popcorn? Yep…I think I’ll go for that too.