Lately I’ve had this suffocating feeling in my chest. It hits randomly during the day, never at a convenient time. It arrives in a storm, heedless of the lack of invitation or welcome, bringing along tension, anxiety, and irritability.
All at once, I am overwhelmed by my limits. By my impatience at being interrupted. By my weakness to handle unmet expectations. By the realization that in this moment I should choose gratitude, but really what I want to choose is an attitude that says, “I deserve more.”
It’s not pretty, there in my head among the tumultuous thoughts. And when I’m not alone to struggle, it’s often not pretty in my house either. I’m in internalizer, and being needed when I am trying to process thoughts is hard. A short-tempered version of me emerges and snaps at anyone expressing a need and distracting me from the important work of reflection.
Have you ever felt like this?
School has been in session for a few weeks, and while I am loving it, the increased responsibility and time constraints have added just enough pressure to squeeze out a few unsightly attitudes hidden in my heart.
Our days are full and there just isn’t as much time as I would like. Whether you are teaching your kids at home or sending them to school every morning, whether you are at the soccer field in the evenings or at home waiting for your baby to awake from her nap, no matter what it is that keeps you busy, we all feel it– the pressure to do it all, and then do some more.
I’m not just referring to the pressure prompted by browsing on Pinterest or scrolling on Facebook. It’s simply the long list of all the things, the good things, we would like to accomplish in a day.
In some ways, it’s a problem of time management. There is always an adjustment period anytime a new season starts. Our schedules and routines must be held loosely and must always allow room for flex and change.
But the problem must also be addressed in the heart. What is it that is making me so uptight? Why am I coveting more time? Why is it that my kids are the ones who are often at the receiving end of the snapping?
God gives grace upon grace and thankfully doesn’t leave us to ourselves and our tumultuous thoughts. His Spirit convicts us of sin and generously gives wisdom and insight in even the most mundane areas of our lives.
When We Want To Do It All, But Can’t.
These are the lessons fresh on my heart and mind this week…
We are called to be servants.
I want to use my time how I want. I crave free time to pursue hobbies. Half the time I am simply irritable because I want to do something and I can’t. Instead, there is dinner to be cooked, or questions to be answered, Mount St. Laundry that erupted on my bed, or an unexplained natural disaster in the bathroom. It is neither pretty nor easy to admit, but the truth is that my grumbling and self-pity reveal the selfishness in my heart.
God calls us to a much higher path. A path which He Himself walked before us in perfect humility.
This week, He has been reminding me that I am called to be a servant, just as He was.
God’s word is full of paradoxes and this is one of them. If you want to be first, become the last. If you want to parent in strength, then you must serve in weakness.
“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.””
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…”
We are finite and so are our resources.
Almost every day, I wish for more time. More energy. More of whatever it is that I feel like our family needs.
I can fill up my day with everything that ought to be done, but I am powerless to add more hours or minutes or even seconds to the clock. Even the coffee I liberally pour is often unable to touch my fatigue.
Does this make you feel helpless? It does me.
The world says you can have your cake and eat it too, but the truth is that often, we simply must be wise enough to admit that we can’t do it all and put our trust in the only One who is not limited by time or resources or anything else.
“Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.”
Humility is the answer.
How do we go from wishing we could sit down and do our own thing to serving our families with joy? How do we exchange feelings of inadequacy for confidence in a limitless God?
By clothing ourselves with humility.
A common misconception is that humility means thinking less of yourself. But all that leads to is morose obsession and further self-absorption.
Humility is really thinking of yourself less and thinking of God and His perfections more. It’s the only way we can overcome the suffocating feelings of anxiety, covetousness, and self-pity.
When we take the focus of our ourselves, our feelings, and our to-do list, and put them on God, we see Him who is worthy of our service. We see the mission in our motherhood. And we see the source of our strength to change and choose love.
“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God.”
“He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.”
The change won’t be overnight. Our kids won’t have perfectly tempered mothers simply because we realized these things. But sowing seeds of truth in our hearts is the first step.
If you struggle like I do, print off these verses (When You Want to Do It All, But Can’t- Printable Verses) and place them in your house (or your pocket) where you will see them. Fight sin with truth and prayer and a greater vision of God’s glory.
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