A coworker, who I deeply respect and often turn to for advice, went to get a cookie with me. She asked how I was in that therapist-sounding voice of hers (it’s a blessing for me and a curse for her), and at that moment I said, “Tired of being busy.”
From full time jobs to making healthy meals at home to house upkeep, it is absolutely exhausting being a 30-something parent/employee/American. Add in the grandparents and extended family wanting to see us, and there is little time for a date night or fire pit and s’mores in the driveway.
But as I described our many activities, I realized we didn’t have as much going on as I thought. I realized I was just poor at balancing them all. I chose to replant grass in the bare spots this year. I choose to plan meals ahead. I choose to wash a load of clothes every other night. And yea, those are important, but most people just let the spots in the yard be. Most people eat out a couple nights a week. Most people have more dirty laundry in their house and frantically wash it as needed. Right? Isn’t that what most people do?
How did we get here? How did we get to this unbalanced place of doing tasks non-stop, and never pausing to rest? The next thought that came to mind: But I like a clean and kept-up house; I like having it together. But are those accomplishments worth feeling exhausted over?
I had to weigh the benefits of DIY-ing with the consequences of letting the yard or house “go.” Or struggling in our marriage because we didn’t take time for each other. And I’d like to say that as I pondered this predicament, the answer seemed easy. I mean, who wouldn’t choose laying low and spending time with loved ones?
Type-A, responsible, disciplined, perfectionist little Martha me.
I kind of like the busyness because it makes me feel purposeful. And haven’t we always been told, “Busy is better?” It’s like my self-worth is determined by how much I got accomplished this past weekend or how awesome my kid’s Halloween costume was. (Uh…awesome, btw. Just check out that cute tiger. But I can’t take credit. My mom sewed that when I was a toddler. Then my siblings wore it, and now her grandkids will wear it too.) The more Pinterest projects we accomplish and post to Instagram, the better. Or is it?
Why can’t we just chill and have ice cream? Or wine? Or wine and ice cream?! (Which, btw, led me to believe wine-infused ice cream should be the next invention. I called dibs on the idea, and then I learned some brilliant muse has already created it. Add it to the birthday list, y’all. I mean, look at the Peach White Zinfandel and Chocolate Cabernet. O.M.G. My life is complete. But there isn’t a retail location near me?! Excuse me for a moment…I need a glass of wine to cope…)
We can’t chill ‘til we are start deciding that balance is better. It’s about a conscious choice to let God really bring direction to my life. But I don’t want to stop being Type A. I have accepted who I am and can’t imagine functioning differently from the way I’m made now, even if it does mean I’ll continually struggle with things not being the way I want them all the time. It may be a better use of my and everyone’s time to accept my perfectionism as-is, but find ways to bring downtime to the crazy. How do I do that? How have I had success in the past?
I’ve noticed that when I’m not feeling spiritually connected, I tend to turn inward and let my million thoughts of me-centered actions take over. I’ve got to really choose time time with God: through Scripture, reading other Christian blogs, spiritual conversation with friends, and prayer. When I choose to spend time with God or with others talking about God, my eyes turn outward. I think of others before myself. I see the bigger picture of my purpose on this earth. And while the little things still get to me, I simply feel more peace. Less tightness in my shoulders. And just a bit more balance.