Thursday, November 1, 2012

set me free

a few years ago i took a hard look at myself, at my life and how i was living.
what i quickly came to realize was my life was full of stuff.
it was full of obligations: things, people, commitments, all of which i had said yes to.
but more importantly were the things i had said no to.
of course this wasn't done intentionally. honestly, it happened and i didn't even know it.
the things i had committed myself to were great things. they were things that most of us 
may look at someone doing and think, wow, that's great. 

so what's the problem you ask... 
well i became overwhelmed.
i wear many hats: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, volunteer, the list goes on.
all of these "hats" take time. 
work a 40 hour work week and come home to be full time mom and that alone is exhausting.
rewarding, fulfilling, but down right exhausting. 
combined with everything else i had on my plate and it is no surprise my head was spinning.

i found myself at the end of 2010 thinking, what am i doing?
what am i doing with my time? why am i so tired?
quickly my mind raced with all those things i had said "yes" to.
extra committees at work, volunteer hours for a service organization, helping with this event or that....
and again, the list goes on.

2010 was a life changing year for us.
what i learned that year is that every minute, every moment, it matters.
how i spend my time matters. the things i say yes to also mean, intentionally or not there are going to be things i have say no to as well. there are only so many hours in the day.

so as many of us do in late december i pondered how i wanted to spend my life here on this earth.
what mattered to me.
it was clear as day, the first thing i had to do was simplify. so 2011 was a year of doing just that.
for the first time in my life i let myself say no. no, to one more committee, one more volunteer event. 
there were even a few things i let go completely. 
and can i tell you a little secret, it was so freeing!

you see, i didn't have all the answers at the time but what i knew was this:
God has blessed me with a family that is remarkable.
i am in awe of them daily. i am in awe of God that He created us as a family.
the responsibility of what i had been blessed with weighed on me heavily.

it resonated with me then and there that nothing i do matters unless God and my family are first.
i can do all the volunteering, and extra work committees and good deeds in my world that i want...
at the end of the day i only get one chance to pour into their lives.... 
to lead them into a growing relationship with their Creator.... 
so in 2011, once the de-cluttering and simplifying had occurred i became very intentional.

it took bringing my life down to the bare basics for me to see what truly mattered.
what truly mattered was that my kids have their momma present as much as possible during these years.
what truly mattered was for them to have a momma who spent time in the word, 
time praying, time with her Heavenly Father... time cultivating her relationship with their daddy.
building a strong foundation for her family.

there is nothing wrong with volunteering, with pitching in on extra projects at work.
 there is definitely a time and a place for that...
but i encourage you to give yourself permission to say no to one obligation outside your family.
use that time instead to spend time in His word, pray over your family, date your husband 
or spend some extended quality time with your kids.
you might be surprised at what you find out. 

i don't claim to have it all figured out. lord knows i don't. i am self proclaimed hot mess! 
but one thing i can share is that i have learned that saying yes, no matter how noble the task, 
also means saying no to something else. there are just so many hours in the day.
now when i am faced with those choices i am very careful about my answer.
there hasn't been a day yet where i have regretted simplifying my life down to the bare bones.

when life became overwhelming i went to the only place i knew, Him.
and in Him i found peace. 

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