Monthly Archives: January 2017

If I Don’t Do It, Who Will? Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: Unlisted Sightings Flickr via Compfight cc

What is within your control, and thus your responsibility and what is not within your control, and therefore not your responsibility?
My counselor posed this question to me this week. I wasn’t sure what to say. When you are a mom, it feels like everything is your job, and it all hangs on you. My wonderful husband is involved and helpful, but it’s just not his natural inclination to think about whether the kids shoes are getting to small or whether it’s time to bring the next box of handmedowns down from the attic. Whereas on a daily basis my brain spins with all the variables. The kids health, education, and development. The cleanliness and organization (or lack there of) of our home, our finances and future plans. That’s just the daily survival stuff. Then there are the big picture things like my writing endeavors, where will we be as a couple in 5 year, in 10 years. What do we want our post baby/toddler and hopefully survival mode years to look like.
But the truth is, much of this isn’t within my control and it certainly isn’t all on me. Some of it is the nature of this season. Three small children, a house move, etc. But some of it is the lie I’ve bought. Whenever I’m up against yet another task that I don’t really have time to do, I think
“But if I don’t do it, who will?”
Sometimes the answer is no one. It’s not a necessary task. Or maybe it’s just something that has to be delayed. When it comes to ministry and service everyone always assumes that someone else will do the work. Coming from a ministry family I see so often how the few faithful volunteers are run ragged because no one else can spare the time. But I’m also in a season of my life where I’m practicing saying no. (As I told my counselor, I still feel guilty about it, but at least I’m learning to say it). Or really I’m strategically saying yes. That is something I can control and in fact should.
So sometimes the answer to the question is someone else will do it. (And perhaps my unnecessary involvement will prevent someone else from growing.) In some cases that person is my husband who is willing and able and only needs to be brought up to speed on what I need. Maybe it’s delegating more of my ministry responsibilities in order to train up new leaders. Sometimes it’s as simple, yet difficult, as making my kids do things themselves. It may seem easier to do it myself because then it gets done right and I don’t have to argue with them. But then they aren’t learning important life skills. I’ve learned to settled for poorly organized drawers and the frequent complaint of “Mom, I can’t find anything in here.” as part of the process of letting them learn. (We’re still working on the room tidying.)
There is one more category. Perhaps one of hardest ones for me. Where I leave something completely up to God. These are usually the things that it appears as though I may be able to do something about, our finances or my childrens’ behavior. But that I am carrying alone. Trusting God isn’t necessarily a reason to be inactive, but it can be a call to stop our vane striving and believe that God has a plan, even if it doesn’t look like ours. (Anyone else spend too much time obsessing over budgets numbers and worrying how it will all even out?) We can be responsible without allow duties to consume us.
My counselor has pushed me to spend more time being and less time doing. To meditate on who God wants me to be rather than just what he wants me to do. This is perhaps the antithesis of control. It is that call to stop my constant rush and worry, and trust that I can in fact pause, and just be still. He has it under control.

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Categories: Faith, Five Minute Friday, Writing | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

I’m Being Refined, But I Don’t Enjoy It: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: Domiriel Flickr via Compfight cc

This is the third Five Minute Friday post I’ve attempted in the last three weeks. The others died on the page, not because they weren’t worth sharing but because I couldn’t finish the thought. I expressed my gratitude for the blessing of friends and family who helped us through our recent move. I talked about the process of trying to make this place home. As we approach two weeks of living in this house, I feel as though I’m full words but short on strength.

I’m being refined and I admit I don’t much like the process. Because in my case it looks like kids who fight all day and the merry go round of illnesses that never seem to end. I know that somehow all of this will be used for a purpose. But right now I just want to feel some peace within the storm of chaos. As I look at the walls which are my new home, it’s hard not to see all there is to do. The boxes waiting for shelves to be hung and furniture rearranged so they can be unpacked. The practical considerations like, are my children reacting to the latent pet hair and odor of the house is it just yet another cold. (In either case, what do I do about?)

I can feel the heavy clouds of my old friend anxiety beginning to circle. He is indeed an old friend, one that I managed to leave behind me when I became a parent and whose toxic words and tendrils of mental poison I am usually able to ignore and bat away. So I am back on my knees, as I have been many times before. But this time without the same confidence. I know that once over this mountain I will be stronger. But the part of me that believes this might be one barrier I can’t break through is louder this time.

The winter here cannot decide if it will come or not. Instead we are surrounded by gray and damp and mud. It only seems to feed my uncertainty when things as reliable as the seasons don’t seem to arrive as expected. It feels like an anticipated sleep that will not come. Something my body and mind parallel as well.

So I just pray, and breath and wait and hope that tomorrow will be better. Maybe we won’t all get the stomach bug this time. The house will be under control soon. Focus on potential paint colors and dream of summer evenings watching the sunset from our front porch. I’m searching desperately through the dark night for a star to hold me fast and keep me on course. I know I’ll find my way eventually. But the process makes me tired.

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Writing | 7 Comments

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