Sunday, May 1, 2011

...ruling over [too] much

I am an all or nothing type of person. I get obsessed, and when I get obsessed, its all I can think about.

I grew up not cleaning my room, not because I was irresponsible (ok, well, maybe that’s not totally true) or defiant, but because I couldn’t get myself to focus long enough. I mean, if I am going to do it, its going to be right, and who has the time to sort through all those papers on my desk and all those clothes in the closet? I obsessed over school, spending hours completing assignments perfectly, beautifully. Hours in ballet. Hours practicing violin. I would disappear until my task was finished.

Needless to say, the transition to motherhood was rough for me. In my head, being fully a mother meant dropping everything else. When I focus on something, I tune everything else out. Motherhood meant death for me in a lot of ways, because I didn’t know how to be who I was and pay attention to someone else’s needs as well. I lost my way, and had to totally refigure life. Time with God wasn’t “real” unless it was uninterrupted, if I had a creative project to work on, I couldn’t figure out how to arrange the time to get it done in a manic wave of a few hours. I slowly sunk under confusion. How could I still be me and be a mom, too?

I hit a low around #3 and #4, because packs of kids don’t really pack up and follow mom all that easily. I really had to learn to be content with being a mom, and only a mom, if that was what this life stage meant for me.

For about a year, I was just a mom (according to my definition of mom), and all the things that help me to thrive—creativity, learning, personal health—were cut out. I just couldn’t find a way to fit them in.

Until I hit bottom. I started having horrible migraine headaches, never had any energy, didn’t want to leave the house, and the gloomy cloud of depression was never far away. Through a friend’s recommendation and some self study, I started eating healthier, and the migraines went away, and because I didn’t want to take meds while breastfeeding, I started looking for other ways to fight and be more healthy.

I ate more healthy, I started to exercise (little by little), I spent more time outside, I started to read, and I started to get up before my children did, because I needed time to think.

And it occurred to me: faithful in little, ruler over much. The way to getting myself back was little by little. Not all or nothing. Simple things, like setting my alarm back 5 minutes at a time in order to wake up earlier. Permanently.

Manageable things, like doing 5 minutes of sit-ups, push ups, and lunges (click here to download the e-book that really helped me) as soon as I got out of bed, and taking back my life through exercise.

Small things, like planning ahead for meals, and having a plan for what to eat when I craved sugar.

Easy things, like cutting unhealthy things like sugar out of my diet.

Mundane things, like scheduling in time to learn and create.

Little things, like developing a schedule for my kids.

Accessible things, like being disciplined to go to bed earlier, so that I could really experience life in the mornings with my Lord and my kids.

These things are little, but I realized that if I was intentional, that they would bring me life.

Those small things turned into big things. They transformed me. They changed who I am. I learned that I can’t do projects all at once, but if I do a little bit each day and break it down into manageable chunks, it takes time, but the big task truly does get finished. I feel blah and weak right now, but if I am faithful at this 5 minutes of exercise this week, then I will be stronger next week to add more. I don’t feel it, but if I get out of bed right now, I will be prepared to welcome my kids as they wake up.

So my goal is to choose one thing this week to make me more successful in my role of [insert role here]. What is one small goal you can set this week?

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