I shared something with Levi and a few others yesterday that I didn’t share in my post.
The night before last, before I wrote my horribly long-winded and badly worded email to my friends about the changes I need to make in my commitments and in my life, I was alone in the house except for the sleeping kids. I was reading my priority list, and a strong, vivid mental picture asserted itself.
I was standing, smiling, in an apron, surrounded by my closest circle of friends (some who are here, and some who are not). Outside of that circle, and out of my reach, were my husband and children.
That mental picture, I think, was from the Holy Spirit. He showed me the reality of what my life has been for the last few years, in increasing measure, whether I wanted it to be or not. That was at the heart of my motivation to change NOW, it’s what caused me to ramble on out of my pain and need to communicate with my friends immediately.
It hit me so hard when God showed me that no matter how many times I said that my husband and kids came first, my actions spoke otherwise.
Not always, of course, but even one time I put anything or anyone else before them, it’s wrong. There is no getting around that conviction.
There’s a whole list forming in my mind of things we have put off as a family, things we have just not done, things we have said no to in order to make ourselves more available to everyone else. Things that my children and my husband have been longing to do, but I just brushed them off, saying “We can do it later.” I spend more time telling them no, denying them, and making them wait, so that I can feel like I’m a generous friend.
Ugh. I want to delete that. I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve been incredibly selfish. Generous to everyone except the ones I claim matter most.
Let’s move on from that ugliness. I don’t want to dwell there, now that my family and God have forgiven me. I’m truly grateful that my friends all seem to have forgiven me, even though it’s really shaken things up in their worlds as well.
Anyway. (I know I’m rambling, but hey. It’s what you get today.)
The changes I’m making aren’t so much about ruthlessly cutting things or people from my life. Heaven forbid!
It’s more about elevating my husband and children into their rightful places, and letting the chips fall where they may. My parents have always told me that if I keep my priorities straight, everything else will fall into place, and I know they’re right. I just haven’t experienced it because I wasn’t doing it.
I am learning that I need to evaluate each and every decision I make for more than three seconds, and ask myself how it can uplift and encourage my family before I answer. (Another lesson my parents tried to teach me.) I need to pull out my priority list each time, figure out where the commitment would fit on that list, pray about it, and answer accordingly. There may be times I need days to decide, and other times I just need a quick conversation with my best friend – my husband.
I just want the balance to shift so that the majority of yesses go to my family, instead of the majority of noes. (Trying to write the plural of yes and no really, really amuses and perplexes me. Can someone tell me if it’s right?)
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with making commitments and helping my friends who are in true need. I need to be as generous and helpful as I can be, but never at the expense of my family. Even if I don’t mind sacrificing my own time, I do not have the right to sacrifice theirs.
This morning, as I was reading blogs before the kids woke up, I read this:
“If I what I am carrying is too heavy, it isn’t mine to take on.” ~Jem
I realized it was about me. In spite of support, understanding, and confirmation from trusted people in my life, I was beginning to doubt that I’d truly done the right thing. Individually, the commitments I have made are not too heavy. Collectively though, they have become more than I or my family can bear. That isn’t right.
Jesus promised that the burdens he places on me will be easy and light. So, it makes sense that if things that I have control over get too heavy, I shouldn’t be carrying them in the first place, and they need to go.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Sure, there will be trouble, trials, and tribulation. Even these changes I’m making are going to be ridiculously hard. He doesn’t promise that life will be easy – just the load he asks us to carry. I have to trust Him that, as I learn to strike the right balance and order in my life, it will get easier along the way, and it will never feel heavy.
I am determined to trust in the LORD and do good, so that he can give me the desires of my heart: Right priorities, opportunity for generosity, and the ability to set an example for my children.
There will also likely be a commitment or two I can keep. I’m just in a state where I don’t know if that’s the case, or if it all has to go. I have to take this one step at a time, looking at everything through the lense of what God asks of me, and the priorities he has given me.
Grace & Peace,