I used to wake up most mornings dreading the day ahead. It was stressful keeping up with all the activity and I lived in a constant state of overwhelm. I had no idea that it was my own inability to make better choices that were the problem.
I blamed everything and everyone else.
I was doing far too much and my body was shutting down emotionally. I desperately needed and wanted to change things. I wanted to look forward to my days and not dread them.
It’s obvious now looking back, but at the time it was all I knew. My pain was in the form of depression and anxiety.
Our family had just moved and we were living in a new city with no family, I was studying full time. We were building a home to move into and it was taking longer than we thought it would…
Even writing out that series of circumstances just now makes me feel tired, and makes me want to go back in time, give myself a great big hug and…a serious talking to!
See I was the one allowing all the stressful situations I was in.
Decisions I was making to put my time and energy into had been 100% my own.
I had a gigantic AHA moment when I realised this.
I COULD CHOOSE. Whaaat?!
Yes, there are many many many commitments with being a parent that you can’t say no to. Their general day-to-day health and well-being is always my responsibility.
So why was I increasingly resentful towards my family that I loved very dearly?
It was because I was doing too much extra that could be removed, and it was causing a bottleneck for the tasks that were far more essential to me.
I was 100% responsible for all the extra things I was doing.
My own choices caused me a lot of pain.
My struggle to say no, not wanting to let people down, thinking I needed to do certain things to be responsible or progress. etc. etc.
God gave me a clever brain and the ability to make decisions but I wasn’t exercising it at all. I was doing what I thought I should do.
Stumbling along, working it out as I went.
Getting frustrated that I couldn’t get to everything each day and the annoying repetitive tasks like dishes, pick-up and drop-offs, meal times that blocked all my progress.
I was making decisions based on assumed expectations, things I thought I needed to do.
My job as a mum was already there before I committed to full-time study, before we decided to build a house and before we needed to move across the country.
The extra things should have been the added tasks that I fit in around the essential tasks I was ALREADY committed to if I had time and energy.
Where we trying to settle into a new community. Definitely.
Did I have time and energy to do fulltime study? Possibly.
Did I have time and energy to build a new home? Probably.
But I did not have time and energy to do it ALL.
You can have it all. Just not all at once.
There are physical laws in place that stop us from fitting too much into a set space. A hallway, a road, some stairs. We cannot fit more than will fit at one time.
If we try to fit more than there is room for it becomes cramped, chaotic and nobody gets through.
The same goes for our time and energy, but the limitations have to be set by us.
That cramped, overloaded and chaotic feeling is real and it’s also a warning.
We have to decide for ourselves what our limitations will be. We all have them.
Put together an idea of what you know is essential and important in your life right now.
For example, be sure to include things like sleep, time with family and time for yourself and your job, then see what is left over. If you have major things already going on then you need to be realistic about the time and energy required and factor this in too.
From there you can start making some grown-up educated choices on the extra things you commit to.
After all, we now know that it is always OUR CHOICE.