Behind the smiles and facades that we present to other people, there could be a spirit of desperation and fear. Fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of the things we cannot control.
Often when these challenging seasons enter our lives we become overwhelmed, and can lose sight of what to do next. Our minds can be torn in different directions and sometimes we don’t admit we are struggling or need help. We also give in to the lie of “what SHOULD be”.
We tell ourselves we SHOULD be able to cope with the physical scars of childbirth.
We SHOULD be able to handle 2 children, when the woman up the road has 6 children, 5 pets and a full-time job!
We SHOULD be able to put our mind over our feelings and CHEER ourselves out of depression or anxiety.
We SHOULD have Godly teenagers in our house, because we raised them in the Word of God and they SHOULD not depart from the way in which they have been trained up.
We SHOULD be a good strong Christian, and that means never having a problem or lack of faith.
We SHOULD be able to move past one incident of hurt or rejection – because a Christian SHOULD always forgive others.
We SHOULD be able to mange with 4 hours of sleep – because good mothers have done it for thousands of years!
Do any of these lies sound familiar? I thought so. I’m sure you can think of many others. So now I’m asking, what do we do when we have these sorts of thoughts? How can we claw our way back to feeling in control of our lives and happy with our circumstances again? When a hundred different demands are grabbing for our attention, how do we decide what to focus on?
There is a little verse in Ecclesiastes Ch 3 v 1 which teaches us
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
When we are going through a difficult period in our lives, sometimes we can develop a bit of a ‘martyr syndrome’, where we convince ourselves that we have to keep marching on, dealing with everything. Never stopping for a break, never relinquishing responsibilities and never reassessing our priorities.
I believe that during certain ‘seasons’ in life, we need to rank the importance of everything we do. Over the past few months, my health has suffered in a way that it never has before. Not even my pregnancies had made me as sick as I’ve been these past 3 months. Although I feel like I’m coming through the other side of everything now, it challenged my thinking about how I prioritise my duties and responsibilities.
At the beginning of the year, my list of things I thought I had to accomplish looked something like this
- Lose weight, fit into summer clothes in June.
- Work on the blog – finish another book, make more money.
- Use this money to decorate the house (because it’s old and I’d be “happy” if it was all nicer looking).
- Get involved in everything I can, because serving the Lord means saying YES to everything (haha! This was before I read Lysa’s book).
- Conquering the world and make even more money with my new side business.
- Raise children who look and act the part – to verify that I am indeed qualified to be a “mummy blogger” (I do laugh at myself sometimes, but it’s the truth).
I hope you can all see the ridiculousness of this list, and there are more that I would simply be too embarrassed to share. I can now see that my focus was on the wrong things, and there needed to be a change. Running after the wrong goals can led to overwhelm and frustration. If the most important areas of your life are in order, it’s easier to manage all the challenging seasons that come along.
If you are feeling overwhelmed today, I want you to think of the most important, pressing needs that you have and write them down in a list. My list now looks like this
- My Spiritual Welfare – getting a regular quiet time, going out to worship, and having fellowship with other Christians.
- My Health – looking after my physical body. Meals plans, gentle exercise and having a full nights sleep.
That’s it! This is my season for totally focusing on these areas of my life. If I can get these in order, everything else will be easier to deal with. Your list may be different, and possibly longer. Maybe your health is great but you have financial crisis or perhaps your comfortable financially but have a sick child. Our priorities will vary, but one thing we have in common is that we can’t do everything – nor are we supposed to! I hope you can also see that the important things in life are, generally speaking, the ones that require a concentrated effort on our part. For example I will not naturally just get up and eat healthy meals everyday if I don’t plan and shop accordingly. I have to carve time out to exercise because there are a million other ways I could use my time.
To focus on these areas, you have to make peace that not everything will be accomplished at this season. If you’re struggling with a mental heath problem, you may not be able to give your full effort to your business. If you’re a struggling new-mum, you may not be able to keep your house clean and tidy all the time. If you have the burden of a loved one on your heart and mind, you may not feel able to be involved in all the ministries you previously were active in. You need to make peace with this and accept it, or you will continue to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and miserable.
A highly recommend reading some articles over at michelecuchatt.com. Her blog is entitled ‘making peace with an imperfect life’ and she is a fantastic writer with a wonderful life story to tell. She has a book called UNDONE: Making Peace with An Unexpected Life that you will find encouraging if you’re interested in this topic.
This post has went on longer than normal, thanks for staying with me! Hopefully this will help someone today.