Sometimes I make things so complicated, and truly that is unnecessary. I realize there are circumstances that require extreme measures, but my life is not one of them. Why do I get so stressed and anxious…wound up like an eight day clock? I suspect it is because I am tired, just plain tired. Being tired is not a sign that my life is falling apart. Maybe it is a sign that my life is good, that I have a full and wonderful life…so much to be thankful for.
However, when things start piling up, pressing in, and coming undone I know it is time to do something different, settle in and refocus…just tweak things a bit. There is no need for me to take a magic eraser to my whole life or to go through everything with a fine toothed comb. Just a gentle redirection is all that is needed. Gentle, but thorough. You see, the bones are good, the underneath is still in tact, the anchor is what holds this ship in times of crazy schedules and busy days. In times past I would begin a complete overhaul when I felt this way, but I have learned that extreme makeovers are most often the acting out of obsessions. You know…that running dialogue in your head that makes you feel thin and shaky, nervous and irritable. We moms have to learn to be gentle, even with ourselves.
A very dear friend asked me the other day if I believed that sometimes there are cases where a person who was once whole could now be broken, with no hope of being whole again. I listened to the question and took my friend seriously. I told this friend that, yes, I think it is possible, and that she did not have to be whole. As I have thought about our conversation I have come to the conclusion that we are all broken in some way, and that it is most likely that we always will be. Being whole is not about being completely put together…there is a reason that all the King’s horses and all the King’s men could not put Humpty together again. Life comes down on us, it presses us, it breaks us, and we fall apart. Once we have been broken there is no way to be whole again…not the kind of whole that we desire. Being whole often times means we do not want to suffer this life and its trials, we long for naivety and simplicity. But, those who get out in the world and bare burdens, get hands dirty, work hard, walk with damaged people, befriend the unfriendly, and try to be a part of the world will always be broken..it is inevitable. The only way I ever imagine that I can avoid this is by shutting the world and people out. In the end, I would rather be broken.
And this can apply to practical areas of my life as well. If I desire to be out in the world living and learning with my kids, if I value relationship over everything else, if I put people on the top of my priority list, well then other things suffer…my house, my laundry, my body, my put togetherness. I always feel that my life is a little undone, a little unkept. But, in a way this is intentional. I have chosen other things, to me they are more important things. When criticisms come, and they will, I must be prepared to OWN my own life and choices. I must be rooted and grounded in my heart. I must also be willing to be honest, truthful with myself most of all. This is the way that I face my life head on and how I deal with brokenness.
Today, as I was dealing with all of the emotions and stress that obsessions cause I waited for the panic to pass. I got still and a wonderful thought came to me. It does not take much to Get Your Life Together, Mandy. In fact I am confident that it only takes one day of gentle internal work to feel better. This is because I am not expecting too much from myself or anyone around me…we are all broken. It is easy to be gentle when I recognize this. Here are a few things I am doing today to regain a sense of confidence and beauty…how I am getting it together.
- Recognizing the dialogue in my head. I am not trying to change it, just being aware of the Editor in Chief, the voice that keeps bossing me around, criticizing me.
- Writing this post to share my thoughts, getting them out in the open.
- Talking to my mom on the phone and enjoying our friendship.
- Putting on a fresh face and a nice outfit.
- Planning a trip to the pumpkin patch near our house.
- Lighting candles.
- Letting my kids be tired as well, we have been very busy. No drill sergeant barking or correction.
- Taking a survey of my pantry and planning the meals I want to cook this week.
- Doing a few loads of laundry.
- Taking care of a speeding ticket that I got a few months back. I made it through my probation period, and a big stress is off.
- Opening windows and doors to let the cool fresh breeze in.
- Drinking Ceylon Tea..a new favorite and a wonderful gift from my husband.
- Being quiet and just doing the next thing…gently walking through this house…room by room… accepting and being very thankful.
- Praying the prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.” Over, and over again.
- Accepting the financial stresses of a large family lifestyle and owning my spending choices.
- Letting my kids be who they are…not requiring that they be caught up, on target, or ahead.
- Washing dishes in warm soapy water.
- Listening to sounds…a lawn mower, Mockingbirds, eggs boiling on the stove. Just listen.
- Smelling the things cooking, the fresh autumn air, Samuel’s little head, Elinor’s sweaty puppy dog yumminess, out of the dryer laundry.
- Waiting for my husband to come home so I can give him a hug.