"You can die early if you want to, but if you want to live strong and healthy, you have got to change your life choices," was the pronouncement I heard from my doctor.
Mid-forties, exhausted, and running at full speed for many years, it was time for a new plan! I did want to live, and live more sustainably. Naming my challenges and difficulties and figuring out ways to rule over them has helped me to find contentment in this journey with different kids, different friends, a different husband, ........!!!!
"What was the hardest issue for you with your different child?" is the question many have asked me in podcast interviews in the past few weeks when they talk to me about our new book, Different.
What are your most challenging issues? Some of my issues were not just related to my Nathan and his different issues, but the combination of personalities, issues, ages, and demands combined to challenge me on a regular basis--combined with the challenges I describe in the book, Different.
Because we each have different personalities and different children, we might vary in details of our struggles. But I have listed five areas in which I struggled most.
1. I do not like argument or conflict, and lots of contention happened on a daily basis. This disturbed me on a regular basis. Even just the normal personality conflict, boy-girl stuff, selfishness of kids, my lack of patience and my own selfishness--conflict, rudeness or ungraciousness, and just the constant emotional drama goes against my grain.
2. The relentlessness of housework, messes, laundry, and details can some times overwhelm.
3. Feeling like I was in the dark and didn't know, specifically, how to help my different child move forward. Feeling guilty for all the ways I failed. Not always understanding what was going on or why things happened, and feeling helpless to change anything.
4. Bearing burdens alone, without support systems, and trying to meet everyone's needs amidst the out of the box issues.
5. Misunderstanding of others who would advise me to "fix" my issues with magic bullet formulas (spanking, eating the right things, using different expensive tests or curriculum--feeling I needed someone who knew and understood my issues and who could help me move forward intelligently was a long term desire.)
What are your issues?
In my mid-forties, I was burning the candle at both ends, taking care of all of these needs: staying up late, over-committing in projects, with the kids 24/7, and never saying "no" and it was catching up on me--taking toll on my health.
Realizing that I needed to stay relatively happy and content, healthy and filled up so that I could last the whole course came upon me slowly. Realizing that i had agency to influence the long term outcome of my journey helped me to begin to make life changes that helped me make it through the long journey. I went on a long health fast, changed my ways, planned more sleep, ate more healthily, exercised more regularly, had regular quiet times, and took Sundays off. If I can't get something finished by Saturday afternoon, I put it on my schedule for Monday and take Sunday off.
Staying strong and healthy into my 60's was a commitment I had to plan and make. I am still working on this and a perfect storm of life has placed me in the over-committed place again. Trying to tame that, again. A constant tension to walk through year by year. Life is never static for any of us.
Planning to be strong inside and excellent of faith also requires a plan. Now, at the end of 20 years of Mom conferences, I am taking time to rethink my priorities and commitments for the next few years. I love mentoring, podcasting, teaching. I am excited about the Renew My Heart Conferences this year and hope to give lots of input about ending well. Yet, I must cut lots in my life and include new things in order to live sustainably. Only as I plan my life can I become most effective. I wrote about it a lot last year in Own Your Life.
Because I have learned, through many seasons, to have anchors in my life and in my home so that we can all have work, play, education, ministry and fun in ways that will keep us growing strong as we go. I also created a planner for The Lifegiving Home so women could also plan and prioritize their ideals to live life intentionally in The Lifegiving Home Journey, hoping this book would help women think and plan according to their own family and their unique messages and ideals.
Most of all, I want to help women be able to finish well, because I knew how hard it had been for me.
As a thank you for all that you have been doing to share about our book, Different, Kristen, Misty (a friend and assistant) and I wanted to give you the gift of over 30 ways to plan ways to bring some delight and relief in your own challenging life. We all have lots more we did, but this is a partial list we hoped would be a fun encouragement.
THIRTY + WAYS TO BRING GRACE TO YOUR LIFE--A PDF
Kristen and I had a great time talking about this today on our podcast. Hope you enjoy and hope you enjoy our pdf, here: Investing in Things That Delight