Friday, August 5, 2011
Have you ever had "one of those days"? The ones that make your hair pop out like Cruella DeVille? The ones that as events unfold you find yourself asking "really"? Yesterday was one of those for me. I must say that most of my life is fairly stress free compared to the average person and I have chosen it to be so. You see, years ago I was under a significant amount of stress. Probably not more than the average mother of two young children, with a third on the way, all the while trying to renovate a house with a husband that traveled for extended periods of time with his job. I noticed, at the time, that I knew more mothers taking some sort of "mood inhibitor" prescription drug than I knew not taking them. I happened to be friends with a doctor and one evening we were talking and I asked her about them and if she thought I needed them. She shared the most wonderful advice with me (this type of thing is why she is such a wonderful doctor). She said to me, "Kerri, you have to look at your life and see what are elective stressors and what are required stressors." Then, she pointed out that required stressors are things you cannot change at the time, but the elective ones are choices we make...good or bad. What makes it more difficult is that something that appears "good" can be bad for your family. You know the phrase our parents often used when we asked if we could eat all of our Halloween candy at once..."Too much of a good thing can be bad!". Let me interject here and say that on any holiday on which my children receive candy I have a strict 24 hour rule. They are allowed to eat all they can in 24 hours because at that point it goes in the trash. My dear mother-in-law knows about the said rule and because she is a super-star she now only brings my kids each a candy bar (maybe 2) and a pack of gum and sometimes clothes instead....isn't she awesome? I know homeschooling mothers who load their kids up and leave their house daily to do honorable things like Meals On Wheels, volunteering at the animal shelter, etc. Don't get me wrong, I believe that the Bible calls us to serve but we must look at what we are giving up in our life? Another godly woman and I were talking a while back and she said that we needed to be careful looking at the lives of others and measuring ourselves against them. That each of us are only given 24 hours and that if we are impressed with what they have done or get accomplished we must remind ourself that there is another part of their life that it "cost" them. You see despite how hard we try, each of us only gets 24 hours in a day. And, it's our choice what we do with those 24 hours. If we are constantly on the run are we truly spending quality time with our children? What are we accomplishing in that? But, we tell ourself the lie that it is okay because we're doing it all "for a good cause".
Last year I was talking with another homeschool mom whose kids are much older than mine. I asked her about their participation in a particular extracurricular activity. She shared this with me...."Our motto is 'Say no to the good and yes to the best!". Again, it was another moment that I took to heart. She went on to tell me that there are so many good things out there for our kids, but we had to choose the very best. And, it's true, kids today play soccer, do ballet, participate in karate, and 4-H (this one is my weakness...there are SOOO many wonderful projects it is easy to be consumed by them...and before you know it you are away from your home 4 days a week for meetings).
So, six years after those words were spoken to me by my doctor friend, I still hold them dear to my heart. It was a moment when God truly used another person to speak to me. I will say that six years later, I have gotten pretty good at slowing down and being able to say "No". There are weeks that go by that I never leave my house and I LOVE it! And, as for you Mr. Yesterday, you tried hard to steal my joy but I hope it made you mad when I laughed in your face. It was a day filled with required stressors.....things beyond my control. However, I took each challenge and addressed it and at the end of the day, my heart was not heavy with anger or frustration. I laid down on my pillow (exhausted) and slept like a babe...
Living life in slow motion,