To Oz and Back

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On Sunday, I was joking with a friend about how crazy and busy last week was. There were church meetings to attend, our last MOPS meeting to run, a local MOPS Leadership Training to facilitate. Add those things to the regular housework, homeschooling, and everyday tasks and I felt like Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz. Picked up by a tornado on Monday, whipped and whirled through the week, crash landing in the weekend, and wondering how I got there. But instead of Dorothy’s wide-eyed wonder as she explored the beauty and splendor of the new place she had just arrived, I felt more like the Wicked Witch of the East, flattened and lifeless by a week of events the size of a house.

After these big weeks and big events, I can get really good at self-criticizing and critiquing all the things that did not go as I had expected, analyzing things I said or didn’t say, and overthinking people’s reactions. Over the years, I have been able to recognize these tendencies in myself and have tried to implement a few ways to guard my heart and my mind. Like the water splashed on the Wicked Witch of the West, I have learned to throw “water” onto my own negative thoughts, insecurities, and doubts to shrink them down to a nonthreatening size.

When I find myself on the other side of the “rainbow,”  I……

Celebrate:  

I treat myself to a cup of coffee and a sweet treat and celebrate what has just happened. I think about all the good work that was accomplished, the people who came alongside to help get it done, and the strength and energy that God gave me to finish what needed to be completed. Instead of thinking about all the things that did not go as expected, I celebrate the unexpected things, the surprises along the way and the opportunities I was given to love and serve others. Leading up to an event, I spend hours in prayer. An equal amount of time should be spent devoted to praise and with a posture of gratitude when the event is over.

We ought not to leap in prayer and limp in praise. -Charles Spurgeon  

 

Rest:

To be honest, this is probably the most difficult of the three things for me to do. It takes time for my adrenaline infused body time to calm down, be at peace, and rest without movement. I usually have to push away feeling of guiltiness that come around to remind me about the laundry needing folding or the dishes needing to be washed and put away. But here is the thing, there will always be a thousand things to do.

Rest is not selfish but it is necessary and especially vital after a busy week. Rest is needed to restore and refresh our hearts, minds and spirits. The Bible speaks of rest in many places and God’s gift of Sabbath gives us permission to rest, even when all of our work is still unfinished.

“It’s best to give myself a few days to rest and replenish emotionally and spiritually before I delve into reviewing a ministry event I just led or a speaking engagement I’ve just completed”

Jodi Detrick, The Jesus-Hearted Woman

Notice Goodness: 

There is always good to be found. Always.

Only after I have celebrated and rested, I feel as if my emotions and thoughts are clear enough to start to evaluate and review the busy week or big event. I ask myself: What went well? What needs to change? How can I do things more effectively? Who can I bring in to help?

I have some very special people in my life who I trust wholeheartedly and know they have my best interests at heart. I will often debrief my week/event and share with them my thoughts and perceptions. I trust them to give me honest feedback and advice.. Sometimes,  what I hear is not all rosy and a pat on the back. I appreciate the constructive criticism my people offer because I know that they want to see me grow in my faith, leadership, and as a person. In her book, The Jesus-Hearted Woman, Jodi Detrick says, “There are times when we need a rebuke even more than we need a compliment.”

Goodness makes greatness truly valuable, and greatness makes goodness much more serviceable.- Matthew Henry

Whether you find yourself in Kansas or in Oz, walking the yellow brick road or the halls of a church, falling asleep in a field of poppies or on the living room couch, know that you are enough. Keep going, step by step, and allow friends to come alongside you on what every journey you find yourself on. Rest when you can and know that you can always go “home” when ever you want. There is no better place then home. Well, expect maybe home with a short list of things to do. 🙂

 

 


Keeping It Together-Part 2- How are you?

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I love talking to people. My favorite part of a conversation is when it moves away from the polite “Hi, How are you?” to a deeper level of sharing.  I love when people open up and talk about the unique challenges they are facing, what they are interested in and share their hopes and dreams. It allows me to feel like I am not alone and inspires me to move towards my own interests. Conversations like this do not happen overnight. They are built on trust and authenticity. Today, I want to invite you to be honest and ask yourself “How are you? How are you really doing?”

The first step in “Keeping It All Together” is stopping. Let’s hit the pause button for a moment and start to evaluate where we stand physically, mentally and spiritually. This is an opportunity to be completely honest. Let’s allow ourselves some grace in this process too. Our responses will serve as a starting point for our work in finding a better balance in life.

Let’s begin….

According to research conducted by the Barna Group 1,  

 56% of moms feel overcommitted.

62% of moms are dissatisfied with work/home balance.

70% of moms are tired

80% of moms are stressed out.

95% of moms want to be better in one area of life.  

You are not alone! The world is filled with overwhelmed, exhausted moms and I do not think we were created to live life this way.

Ask yourself the following questions. If you can journal your answers, great. If you only have time to read and think about one or two of the questions at a time, that’s great too. There is no right or wrong answer. Remember no pressure or judgement. We are working on lessening the burden not adding to it.

  1. On a scale from 1-10, how tired are you? Can you pinpoint the reasons why you are tired- baby in the house, lack of sleep, dealing with stressful circumstances….?
  2. On a scale from 1-10, how overwhelmed do you feel? Can you identify sources of stress? 
  3. Is your current schedule working for you? Are you satisfied with it or do you wish for a change?
  4. Are you using your gifts and talents wisely?
  5. Are you overcommitted? Are the commitments things that you once enjoyed but now wish you could get out of?
  6. Are you surrounded by family or a community that supports you and you can depend on for help?
  7. How would you describe your relationship with God? 
  8. Is life what you thought it would be? Are you enjoying your life?
  9. Are you making time to take care for yourself or explore an area of interest?

Every couple of months or so, I go through these questions again. Each time, I hope the changes I have made in my life or family’s schedule will be reflected in my answers. If not, I don’t stress it. It just means there is more work to be done or that I am in a particular season of life. Remember GRACE is key here! I would also encourage you to pray as you work through the questions. Ask God to give you eyes to see dissatisfaction and areas that need His strength and healing.

Now that we have taken a good, honest look at ourselves, we can move on to the next step. In the next post, we will work to identify what our priorities are and look to see how we are spending our time. Do our priorities and time match up?

PS  If you can find six minutes, watch the following video clip from Barna Group. I do not think you will be disappointed.It’s for every woman trying to maintain the perfect everything and still falling short.