If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time doing things for other people. Especially if you’re a mom with young kids. Life just buzzes by. You have to-do lists longer than your arm and some days you just don’t know how you’re going to get everything done. I hear you. I have a lot of friends in that season right now, and I remember it well. I also have friends who seem to live their life serving others with little thought for themselves. A surefire way to burnout. Been there, done that.
Maybe it’s because we’re taught from an early age that if we want to please God, we need to serve. We need to put others above ourselves and sign up for every committee the church has to offer, go on every mission trip, feed the homeless, basically be there every time the doors open, whatever the event and however you feel. I don’t know about you, but while I won’t say those things are bad choices, I wonder if sometimes we’re so busy serving we forget about living.
I’ve stepped back from that kind of service, been out of it for a while now. And my horrible secret is that I don’t miss it. I don’t miss the pressure to please, the striving to get it done, do it better and be all things to all people and God forbid, what if I mess up? Nope. Don’t miss that.
Some people are just born for it. They seem to have superpowers that the rest of us admire and thank God for, because we sure don’t want their jobs…but I bet if you asked, they might tell you they get tired too.
Jobs, families, friends…we give and we give and we give. And that’s okay because we need to. We need to show up, be supportive, lend a hand, be a shoulder to cry on…but…whew…sometimes it’s just…exhausting, right? Sometimes…well, wouldn’t it be nice to just…I don’t know…rest?
I’m in this weird space right now. Emotions are up and down, sleep can be sporadic, there are good days and bad days and most days I drive myself crazy concentrating on stupid things I can’t do anything about. I can’t predict what’s coming next for me with my writing – that’s a biggie. So much work, time, effort and money to really make a go of this gig…and I’m still not sure I’m going to make it. Which is okay. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be on that journey, but you know…I don’t to the whole be still and know that I am God thing very well.
I’ve learned to pick up the signs that it’s all getting a bit too much. And instead of giving in, I’m stepping around them. I’m taking care of me. Figuring out ways to be productive without killing myself or cutting off my creativity. Being kind to myself. Spending time reflecting and reminding myself that things are still good, no matter my current mood. I have much to be grateful for. And I am loved.
I thank God for encouraging friends. He brings them into my life at exactly the right time. It’s easy for me to isolate myself, hole up and write and forget everything else, but that doesn’t feed my soul. Fellowship does. Conversation and a chance to kick back and be goofy with people who get you – that’s vital for me. Even if some of those people live thousands of miles away and we only see each other once a year. I rely on them to be my go-to’s when I’m feeling down, because they get it. They’ve been there too.
When I was in high school I used to enjoy art. I was pretty good at it. This week I decided I would get back into it, so I went out and bought a bunch of art supplies. And I walked back to my car with a big goofy grin on my face. I was happy. When the words on the page start to scream at me and my characters refuse to cooperate, I’m going to go paint. It’s a little thing, but for me, right here and now, it’s a huge thing. It’s deciding to do something for me. Deep down, I’m probably a pretty selfish person…but I’ve never had a problem giving of myself – I pick and choose friends carefully, but once you’re in, if you ever want to get rid of me, I can tell you I’ll have a hard time with it. I believe in investing personally in people, but that takes a toll too. Sometimes, as I’m learning, I need to put some of that emotional energy back into myself.
So, I’d like to encourage you – what are you doing for yourself? Something that makes you happy, helps you relax, grows your soul? Anything? And if you’re not, why not?
Conversation is good. I’d love to chat.