I was hit by that yesterday.
It could have just been one or two bricks, but my own foolish denial let it build to a ton. I built this ton of bricks myself, and its weight has finally caused me to say “Enough!” I don’t even know what the last brick was that made it crush me.
I don’t know what I want to share here and what I want to keep to myself. I just know I have to share.
Where to start?
I have been considering this, praying about it, crying about it, and debating it in my head for several weeks now, and I think I’ve finally figured something out. Okay, I didn’t figure it out. It was shown to me. It hit me like a…well…you know.
In my efforts to be as available as possible to everyone I care about, I have only become a hypocrite, unhealthy, and unreliable. I council everyone else to learn to say “No,” and to set good boundaries, while I recklessly blur my own, to the detriment of my emotional health, as well as my relationships with my husband and my kids.
I am finally realizing that I really do need to put into practice the priorities I wrote down over six months ago, instead of leaving them in a random notebook in my nightstand. Priorities I put in place with the help of a trusted mentor and friend, as well as my dear husband.
My husband, who has gotten the short end of the stick from me in so many ways in the past few years because of all of this.
I hereby take full responsibility for every brick I have been carrying. I take full responsibility for the hurt, confusion, and misunderstandings that have often resulted, both in my home and among my friends. Not to mention illnesses in my family. I realized, as I was looking back at the past few years, that every time my family got sick, it was right before a stretch of time that we had several commitments in a row. Like this past weekend. I was steeling myself for it, readying and planning everything.
Now, I know that it was God intervening. Since I wouldn’t listen to his direction, or my husband’s, or anyone else’s, and just back off a little, he took us out gently. Like the Good Shepherd he is, he used simple discipline to force me into a space of rest. He broke my legs and carried me. He’s done it many times in the past few years, only I am just now recognizing it. Oh! what it sometimes takes for us to finally learn!
The reality is that, as I’ve tried to be everything to everybody, and to be “the dependable one,” I’ve become over-booked, stressed out, and flaky. I have become unreliable for anyone. Even my family. That’s the simple truth of it.
Now, I have a choice. I can let myself drown in self-pity while I over-analyze everything, or I can put it all out there for the world to see, and change something.
It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt, and too many people within my circles have been hurt lately. It’s nice to talk about, pray about, and think about priorities. It’s quite another to actually wake up in the morning with a practical plan. I got out my list, prayed over it again, and decided something. So, here’s my plan:
In addition to implementing at least one day a week that we don’t make any plans – errands and family time only – every Monday – I came up with something else I think I need to do in order to enable me to bring my priorities into line with my life instead of leaving them on a piece of paper, looking pretty, but with no power.
I am also trying to re-evaluate each of my current commitments, one by one. I have taken on far too many. I haven’t yet decided how many commitments I can make in a month, but I will be figuring that out as soon as I can. I don’t want to leave anyone hanging, and plan on giving plenty of notice so that I can back off a little at a time. I do want to stick an arbitrary number to it for now, until I grow into a better judge of how to use my time.
Spontaneous play dates and movie nights and such will stay spontaneous, and as long as I’ve done all I need to do for that day – something inspired by dear, dear Sabrina (a very good butt-kicking fairy when you need one) – then I will still have lots of “yesses” to go around.
I hate, hate, hate breaking commitments, which has happened far too often of late. I figure that if I make fewer of them, then this shouldn’t happen.
I need help.
I am learning to ask for it. I emailed my closest friends about this last night, before I published this. They deserved the heads-up. They are the ones who will be most affected by this decision, and so I asked them for help.
I’m convinced my current stress level, misunderstandings, illnesses, and emotional upheaval are all due to me and my poor decision-making in the past. I’ve really been deeply struggling, and denying that anything was wrong. I know the Lord is teaching me something in this, and I want so very badly to learn!
I feel very discouraged, bruised, and battle-worn, when JOY should be my dominant feature. Joy is there – it just feels kind of pushed down by all the other junk.
I’m so tired. And I think it’s because I didn’t realize I was fighting God.
Voila. The proverbial ton of bricks. I was fighting what God has been asking me to do for at least six months. Maybe more. Not very smart.
I’m sad that it took a ton of bricks for me to begin to learn this. It hurts. But hey – progress and change hurt. Growing pains and all that jazz.
God is so kind and good – even in his rebukes. This post is not so much about cutting things out, as it is about putting the right things at the top of the list where they belong. I have not done that.
Grace & Peace,