The MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) theme for the year 2015 is “a fierce flourishing.” When I heard that, I was inspired…and a tad intimidated. I would like my experience as a mother to be described as “fiercely flourishing.” Maybe I had “fiercely flourishing” moments before kids. But now, as a working mom with 2 pre-schoolers, I’m just hoping for a full night’s rest and praying no one gets the stomach bug.
As a mom who works part time, I am constantly switching gears and changing hats. My friends who do the same juggling act say they feel torn – like they are never operating at 100% in either role – mom or career woman.
I can relate to that experience, and do you know what it causes me to feel?
Do you know what that guilt often fuels me to do?
Go into performance mode, proving that I can handle it all.
For instance, I’ll try to make the days I’m with the kids “memorable” and “MAGICAL” (that’s realistic right?). The days I’m at work, I’ll see as many clients as I can, sometimes skipping lunch, just to make sure no need goes unmet.
Does this sound at all familiar to you?
Whether we recognize it or not, this way of living leads to exhaustion and burnout.
I am (finally) coming to terms with the fact that we are not meant to live that way!
Even during busy seasons, I believe we are still intended to thrive… but we can only do so if we focus on 1 very important concept. I call it – “RESTORATIVE REST.” Ironically, my children seem to intrinsically understand this concept. Let me illustrate….
I remember one day about 3 months ago. The kids were out of school for the summer and, I wanted my days at home to be “summer-time memory making”. On this particular day, I took the kids to music class and then we went to the aquarium. We even squeezed in a picnic at the park where we talked about our favorite parts of the day. I asked Robbie, “What should we do now?” He looked at me a little wearily and said, “Let’s go home, Mommy. Maybe snuggle.”
His response melted my heart but it was also a great reminder to me…
What our children need most is NOT our entertainment. They need our presence…It is restorative. It is comforting. It is RESTFUL.
Let me read to you a familiar text. It’s the Message version of Luke 10:38-42. “As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand. Jesus said to her, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much. Only ONE THING IS ESSENTIAL (emphasis mine) and Mary has chosen it – it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
Oh my. I have trouble with this. Only ONE thing is essential? It sure feels like there’s a lot of “essential” going on in my life and I certainly don’t have the luxury to sit at anyone’s feet! Do you agree?! Here are a few things which tend to be on my “essential list”:
The kids need to eat healthy.
Uniforms need to be washed.
Nut free snacks need to be packed.
Maddie needs to practice her letters
Robbie needs to focus on his pencil grip.
Good manners need to be reinforced
Emotional melt-downs need to be managed.
And that’s all before 8:30am.
Then we leave for school!
And THEN I drive to work…
Can you relate to that scenario? Do you feel all those NEEDS?
Here’s the truth that we MUST face – If we order our lives based on the belief that EVERYTHING is essential, we will continue to live hurried, exhausted lives. We will push aside the one thing we need – RESTORATIVE REST IN THE LORD – because the dishwasher is full and the kids’ socks are mismatched. Do you remember Stephen Covey’s book, “7 Habits of Highly effective people?” In it, he talks about time management and presents his readers with 4 categories for prioritizing tasks. One of them, he titles “Urgent/Important.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I often approach life as if EVERYTHING belongs in the urgent/important category and I can’t let anything slip.
The reality is, the Lord doesn’t expect us to have it all together all the time! In fact, He knows we can’t! We are designed to be dependent beings and yet we have gotten so used to independence and productivity being esteemed in our culture that we’ve worn ourselves out! But if we want to FLOURISH, we must embrace the way we were created. We were created to NEED HIM.
How might you lean into that need this week?