Do you ever feel like you are drowning?
Drenched in commitments?
Maybe overwhelmed by your calendar?
How about brought literally to tears if someone asks you to do even the smallest little one more seemingly insignificant thing?
The last several months of my life I have felt like a YaYa about to drop my basket, and I have placed the blame for it in one thousand random places.
Oh, it’s because I have all these children.
But spending my days with middle schoolers doesn’t help.
It’s the insomnia.
No, it has to be all the going we do and involvement in All The Things.
It absolutely has to be all these extra obligations I have taken on at work (and only one of the extra five actually pays a small stipend)…sponsoring all these organizations that come with a multitude of responsibilities that seem to grow by the hour.
It’s because I’m deaf in one ear and all the noise just gets to me.
Well, I never really had a summer break, what with the SHORTEST SUMMER EVER in my district and my amazingly exhausting trip to Uganda.
Dem erls ain’t workin.
It’s because I had a birthday and am moving on to a different phase of life. In other words, I’m too old to be sane.
Do you see that ridonkulousness? Are you taking it all in? I have in many ways been a woman on the edge but have incriminated everything from my sweet precious kiddos to my partial deafness to my ripe old age of 34.
And I have near ‘bouts used up a whole dang bottle of Stress Away. Back of neck, behind ears, on the temples, wrists, sniff it in…check, check, check, check, and check. There were days lately that I would lick the stuff for a chance at feeling slightly less About To Lose My Mind.
The real problem? I have never even once in my life tried to perfect the art of saying “no” to the good but possibly wrong things and “yes” to the only the very most important assuredly right things.
The Captain and I, we have rolled through this life for 16 years now and our response to everything has always been “Sure, why not? Yes, let’s do it. No time like the present! Absolutely, we will do that thing.” And you know what? That was awesome when we were 19 and could drive an hour one way to the beach just for the chance at adventure and eating some fresh crab claws. But what I have finally figured out is that we don’t…I don’t have any more room in my Realm of Reasonable Sanity to keep saying “yes” to everything. That worked in our last season of life, but now we are heading into a whole new one, one which requires significantly more moderation, wisdom, and discretion in how we parcel out our time and energies. No more “yes, we will take dinner over to those people by 5pm and yes we will also be 45 minutes away at another important event by 5:15 and yes that will be hard but it is okay and it will all work out. Also, yes, I don’t actually get to leave work until 4:45 that day so it will make it hard to cook and get it delivered but yes, we will figure all that out. Also, we both have meetings with separate but wonderful organizations at 6:00. You will go here and I will go there and we will pass each other on the road and give each other air high fives because Love. So Yes.”
The Captain will tell you, that is absolutely a fitting description of how tightly I have packed our days in the past. I stress and fret from one major thing to another and quite frankly I’m feeling a little overdosed on stress cortisol these days.
I just can’t do it anymore.
Because I generally don’t have the moxie to talk about the hard stuff while I’m still in the trenches, I can tell you now, today, October 17th, that it is possible – even for the most overdone of us all – to drag ourselves up the banks of that raging river of Too Much.
One precious friend spoke some sense into my life about choosing wisely, with the spark as simple as a forwarded blog post and suggestion to start reading this book:
It has touched so many frayed wires in my soul and has helped me understand how to gently draw boundaries around the time I have been given in order to enjoy, experience, and use the gifts God has given me…precious gifts within my family, friends, church, profession, and in specific ministries to which He is leading me to serve. In it, Lysa doesn’t advocate freely saying “no” to everything that comes up, she just gives some practical ways to ensure that when you do say “yes” that it is to the most right things before you in life. She also tackles the role of church culture in creating this monstrosity of busyness, which has long been a concern of mine.
Now that I’ve begun to stretch my “no” muscles a little, and return to the Realm of Reasonable Sanity, I can already feel the peace settling back into my little corner of humanity. I can breathe again. I can smile more out of real joy rather than merely projecting a façade. I’m fighting for room, space, margins in my life.