I was the crazy girl in college who did everything – school, work, friends, boyfriend, family time, helping to run a ministry and lead two Bible studies. I remember it like it was yesterday. I went out for a sunny six mile run down my favorite country road. When I got home I went right to my phone to find 12 text messages and 6 voicemails waiting for me; and they were all from different people needing or wanting something from me. That was my breaking point because I realized that was my normal and it was too much. I spent the next month lying in bed feeling unable to get up. I was diagnosed with depression in the form of fatigue and had to take a quarter off school because I was just so tired. My body forced me to begin to learn how to say no. I was a yes girl. I really believed that becoming more like Jesus meant saying yes more – yes I’ll have coffee with you, yes I’ll bring homemade cookies, yes I’ll babysit him, and take all of your Pilates clients while you heal from surgery. When I realized that becoming more like Jesus doesn’t actually mean becoming more extroverted and it definitely doesn’t mean being everything to everyone my life started to change. I stopped wondering if I really knew God because I started to actually get to know Him.
One of the very hardest things for me is being okay with letting people down. Especially people I care about. And remembering everyone is on their own journey. It’s the people who feel like they can’t say no and must do so much that have the hardest time with me saying no and that makes sense. I have to be okay with it even though sometimes I’m totally not. Since I can remember I have felt like I am always letting people down. Like almost everyone in my life wants more of me than I either have to give or want to give. And it’s painful. Add to that what I’ve been learning recently – the art of slowing down and the feeling seems to be magnified. I fear that I am perceived as super selfish. And I am selfish so maybe that is fair. But it hurts. The thing is though, I can’t look back. I feel like I am finally becoming someone I want to be. I am filled with joy and present to my actual life as it is today right now in this moment. I am better able to live out my priorities not the priorities someone else has for me or would like me to have. And most importantly, I feel like I am finally beginning the life long journey of keeping in step with the Spirit. And that is the answer to everything really. Should I say yes to this or no? Should I do this or not? That is what keeps me up at night. The balance between rest and sacrifice. Pouring out and filling up. Giving freely and having something real and meaningful to give. Bringing Heaven to earth instead of trying to make my life on earth Heaven which I am certainly guilty of. I live in the tension of feeling like I’m not doing enough and knowing that I am enough and maybe God isn’t asking me to do as much as people want me to. And maybe sometimes He is asking me to do more.
I’m so thankful that I’m not missing my daughter growing up. I’m not wishing away any stages or wondering how I’m going to be married for another fifty years. Instead I’m wishing for more kids and another hundred years of marriage. The changes are small but aren’t most real changes small? I am able to sit on the couch and listen to my husband tell me about his hard day at work because I have space in my day for that now. And that is new and it matters.
Maybe I’ve needed to swing too far to the rest side in order to learn how. But if so I’m open to God using me. Stetching me. Calling me in to hard things. At least I want to be. I’m just tired of doing things to prove my worth to people and believing the lie that if I enjoy my life I am doing something wrong and should feel bad about that. In writing this what I have realized is that I’m tired of feeling guilty that I want to prioritize having time to make my family a yummy healthy dinner at home most nights. You wouldn’t believe how many nights someone would like me to do something else. Or maybe you completely understand. I’m seeing that change does not come without pain and I want to stay in the tension. I am aware that I may be prioritizing myself too much but I also know that I never ever want to go back to the frantic rushed proving life I used to live. And maybe that is the only way I could really learn that I thrive with a slow pace, spontaneity, and simplicity and I will keep fighting for that.
As I look forward to turning 30 tomorrow, I’m inspired. I feel like I’m ready for a year of giving and connection. And that will be a big change. I have rhythms in place in my life to be able to hold on a little looser to my time and still be okay. Better even. I won’t be giving or connecting in order to fill a need in myself – to make people like me or view me a certain way. Or even in order to view myself a certain way. Of course I will sometimes but not like I used to. Sincere love. I’m excited.