Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
So this is the second version of what I had originally posted. My husband said that I didn’t give myself enough credit in the first one, so here goes!
I’m going to borrow an analogy; everyone is on a balance beam. Please note I’m not a gymnast so I may get the analogy wrong ;). We are all trying to stay on the beam while juggling all that life has given plus things we have added ourselves. Some do better balancing more while others can only handle a few items at a time. I am one of those people – I do better with fewer things.
This season for our family has been quite challenging – blind sided by a tragedy, a new baby and my husband stepping into an unanticipated role while resuming his master’s degree. This has meant that I have had to start juggling a few more things.
I perform better on my balance beam when I have fewer things and I’m okay with that. I came to that realization when I started to get really upset at myself as I looked around at the women in my life and started to compare to them. Was I a failure because I couldn’t function at the same bandwidth they did? Were they better mommas for accomplishing more? Trust me, I did try to juggle more but I just felt completely burnout and drained. I didn’t get any joy from what I was doing and my family suffered.
I recently found comfort as I read “For the love – fighting for grace in a world of impossible standards” by Jen Hatmaker (please note I haven’t finished this book so I can’t say whether or not I can endorse it).
The trouble is, we have up-close access to women who excel in each individual sphere…We make note of their achievements, cataloging their successes and observing their talents. Then we combine the best of everything we see, every woman we admire in every genre, and conclude: I should be all of that….
It is certifiably insane. The only thing worse than this unattainable standard is the guilt that follows when perfection proves impossible….
This is beyond unreasonable. It is destructive. We no longer access our lives with any accuracy. We have lost the ability to declare a job well done. We measure our performance against an invented standard and come up wanting, and it is destroying our joy. No matter how hard we work or excel in an area or two, it never feels like enough. Our primary defaults are exhaustion and guilt.
I appreciated how Jen Hatmaker talked about how we need to understand our own capacity in the season of life we are in and do what needs to be done to make our lives more balanced. In my own life that means dinner doesn’t have to be a culinary masterpiece (and why should it when half of it ends up on the floor anyways), things aren’t ticked off my “to do list” as fast as I want them to (if they are ever ticked off if I am completely honest) and being okay if people were upset because plans didn’t come to be because I was maxed from the day.
We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead by wise. Decide which parts are drawing you dry. What do you dread? What are you including for all the wrong reasons? Which parts are for approval? Is there anything you could delegate or hand off? Could you sacrifice a Good for a Best? Throw out every should or should not and make ruthless cuts. Go ahead. Your beam is too crowded. I know it.
What does this season require of you? Unsure? Ask God. He is a wonderful advisor who always, always knows the Best Thing.He will help you sort it out. When you can’t trust your own discernment, you can certainly trust His. God has no agenda other than your highest good in His Kingdom. There is no better leader through this minefield.
So during this season of juggling more items while trying to stay on my balance beam I cope by receiving and asking for help. It is a humbling thing to receive and ask for help but it is important! I am so thankful for our community (family, friends and church) who has come alongside us during this season of life. They have offered support in so many different ways and my family and I are so very thankful.
So mommas, give yourself a break. Every season is different, one season you will be able to juggle more while during other season you may just need to stay on that balance beam without the distraction of any items to juggle. For those mommas who have to juggle more than they can really handle due to circumstances in their lives, I hope you are able to find a community that will be able to support you and your family through this season. Keep on walking that balance beam mommas, you’re doing great!