The Secret to Making it to the end of December without blowing apart

The Cup of Tea ~ Mary Cassatt

I am reposting from a couple of years ago. But as I was rereading this post, it spoke to me. This week has added stress to an already very stressful season with the shootings and economy and so much more.

But the essence of this post is still so true. We must guard our health--mentally, spiritually and physically, and see that we do not run dry, or else we will crater. Even today, I decided to lay down for 15 minutes and just seek peace because I needed that more than I needed to keep pumping more adrenalin into my body from so much to do.

So, today, instead of mentoring Monday, I offer you the admonition to take care of yourself today, say no to something, sit down and listen to some music for 5 minutes with a lit candle--just find a way to decide to walk this week with peace.

Dear Sally, HELP!!!!!!!! Love, A Mom

Dear Mom,

I have said and felt a need for help so very often and so I offer you my best advice. First of all, chill out. Take a little time for yourself until you can get perspective. I hope something I say may help. I have had to learn that no one else in the world will be responsible for my over-all well being. I have a husband and children who need me, and as I have said before, they are going to want to continue eating every day and want to wear relatively clean clothes, with the expectation that I will be the one to keep this going. However, there are times I run out of soul-fuel and have to stop it all to refuel the tank of my heart, soul, mind and body.

As we all know, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. So, I have to tend to my own happiness and well being and you need to tend to yours.

I am responsible for my rest, my quiet time, my eating and exercise, filling my cup, so that it will not be empty when others want to keep taking and taking from me--and I am also the manager of my  my chill time. Laughing and lightening up really brings health to the bones. (A joyful heart is good medicine has been proved by the medical research1) I do have countless emails in my inbox vying for my attention, and people expecting to hear from me, but I know that I will never get to them all, even if I wish I could--never, ever, but it is God's will for me to survive with grace.

And there are tasks calling my name around the house, but I have become the queen of turning my head away and trying to stick to my most important priorities. I have found that there will be just as many things screaming for my attention tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

But today, I know that my body and mind need a little rest and my emotions become frayed and I become grumpy if I don't create a little break. No one else is going to tell me when I have reached my limit. But if I do not monitor myself, my children and husband and I will come to regret it when I blow!  I am a steward of my limitations and body. If I don't protect my  walk with the Lord, it will get eaten up in everyone else's agenda.

Though still learning, I am always simplifying and evaluating if something is worth the effort--(I do think that making things beautiful and special during the holidays are worth the effort as it builds the taste and values and work ethic and ministry skills of my children--but all in its season, and only so much.

Not everything "we have always done before," has to be done. Fast food with candles lit is just fine. But it may not be worth it to answer one more phone call or one more email--as this will certainly steal from my children and husband who need me today. Sometimes, I have even been known to hide from my children. It made me smile.

Each of us has a different puzzle and different personality and we must accept our limitations within our own story and be comfortable being ourselves. There is great freedom in deciding to enjoy who I am, as I am not going to essentially change any time soon! I see so many moms seeking to live up to other's expectations and ideals and then burning out in the process. I have high work times,  and times when I just can't get anything done--and somehow the world does not crash when I take time to just live and enjoy, and avoid the "I have to do everything or I will be a failure" syndrome.

It is why I have my cup of tea every day--a way of saying, "I will take time for a moment of pleasure and peace, because it centers me, and I have decided I will last a lot longer in this very long distant race, if I build anchors of serendipity into my schedule."

If you and I don't eventually make peace with our own life circumstances, then we are in danger of cultivating a heart of bitterness, inadequacy, guilt or whining, or possibly blowing apart into oblivion. But if we become the conductors of our own life symphonies and live within our own melody of life, we will last longer more gracefully with the God of grace who leads us.

Spend time in God's word and let Him love you and you love Him back. He came for you--he came to comfort. Let His comfort be yours. You cannot find peace without the prince of peace.

Take time to regroup today--Go eat some chocolate, and don't feel guilty as you are eating it--that is a waste of good chocolate! Listen to some beautiful music, watch a heart-warming movie, take a nap, eat off of paper plates! The rest of December is still coming and you will be the better for it! I'll be praying for you!

Love, Sally