I know I've said it before on this here blog, but this past year has been a doozy. At times, we have felt like we were limping, then crawling and then being dragged along with it. We are the kind of tired that most of a week in Belize did not completely fix.
Most of the time, when someone asks how we are doing, I say, "fine" or "okay" or "we're tired, but we're making it." And all of those things are true in some measure. We are fine. I could tick the good things in our life one after another and be blown away by how much grace surrounds us. Healthy children, a good job, rich friendships, and loving family are the tip of the iceberg.
I feel we walk a fine balance between screaming WE ARE SO THANKFUL and simultaneously screaming WE ARE SO TIRED. And when you're tired, everything feels harder. It takes more work, and quite frankly, I look around and regularly think about how many tasks stand between me and anything else. There is endless work.
There's a saying that rings true right now - "Work expands to fill the time allowed." There is always, always, always something else that could be done, could be organized, could be planned for. There is always someone with needs to meet and holes to fill. In the past year, we have allowed work to fill much of the time. Some of this has been necessary and seasonal, but it is amazing how easy it is to fall into unhealthy patterns of constant activity and work. We've become slightly addicted to the productivity and list checking. We unintentionally measure our worth by our tasks accomplished.
I think living in our culture is a tricky thing. We are plugged in with one another in many ways, and this creeping busyness is not unique to our family. Sometimes, it feels like we are in some sort of weirdo competition with who can feel the most swamped and have the most going. Who can keep the most plates spinning while still smiling?
I don't want to be in competition, and for the most part, I don't feel like I am. But there can be a nagging whisper that looks around and pats myself on the back for all that I can do in a day. Selfishly, I have always wanted to make life look easy - and having any level of performance like that is not loving those around me well or being truthful about reality. I don't want to feel all martyrish about the things that I am doing while comparing them to others and wondering what must be filling their time. We all have different gifts, capacities, seasons and needs. Nothing is apples to apples, so playing any sort of comparison game in my mind only hurts me.
I am hopeful that it will not always feel like this, but I think I will need more of God's grace in each season to walk in a way that is pleasing to him and not addicted to productivity. We are also actively taking things off our plate to provide more margin and downtime in general. It's not a good sign when your daughter fractures her elbow and you are most upset about the time lost. We feel like we have done our best to follow the Lord's leading, and when that is combined with our performer/achiever personalities, life is over flowingly full.
Right now, it feels like we are sprinting through a marathon, and at this pace, we will run out of steam around mile 13, if not before. As with most things in life, it would be easier to do everything or do nothing. Listening to the Lord and doing the right things that he has for us is the hardest road and requires the most intentionality. BUT - I believe that is what he's asking from us. To rest in him. To rest in general and to follow His lead, not our own. To God be the glory.