I had a breakdown freak-out sobfest last week. I feel like if you’re gonna cry, go hard or go home. So the sobfest included my slamming my fists into the couch, standing up, screaming, “Don’t laugh at me!” at my husband and then stomping to my office with the intent of slamming the door until I realized my kids were sleeping so I just flipped off the light switch with as much fierce fervor as I could muster. (I don’t recommend taking your anger on light switches. It’s not satisfying.)
In other words, my sobfests may be dramatic but there was a reason my husband was laughing. I tend to tantrum like a four-year-old. Fists clenched? Yes. Punching furniture? Yes. Attempting to slam doors? Yes.
The whole display of frustration may have been infantile, but its buildup was typical: I’ve been so incredibly frustrated with myself. I’ve been tired and anxious and overbooked.
There are things I wish I could talk to you about. A project I’m giddy over but haven’t been given the go-ahead to mention. That project is a big one, one that’s demanding all the time I can scratch from the sides of my life. I’m finding the sides lacking in time.
This year I am Pursuing Enough. And I’m claiming that there is enough time to live wholeheartedly. But while I may be claiming it, I’m deep in the process of learning to believe it. I know something’s got to give in order for me to find that wholehearted way of living in Time.
I need to say no. For a people pleaser, saying no is equivalent to bringing home a D on a report card. (Not quite failing, but almost.) I need to say no to August’s school, which wants parents to plan the February carnival. I need to say no to joining a Community Group at church, so I can claim that night for family time. I need to look at how this extrovert spends time with friends and ask God to show me how to make that time rich, even if it’s limited. In attempting to make those choices, I feel a heavy burden of failure.
I know, I know. I’m not failure because I’m saying no. But, there’s a big go-getter inside of me who wants to prove that I’ve got it under control. After all, my kinfolk were cotton farmers from the rain-forsaken plains! We’re a somewhat fierce, mostly hard-working, small -boned people! I can do this! I can grit my teeth, sleep less, and be the woman I want to be in every aspect of my life.
Here’s the true thing: I am not enough. To Pursue Enough, I have to believe that I am not.
I cried and punished the light switch last Wednesday night because I’d missed a writing deadline and I felt like a total idiot for never having noted it in my calendar.
I cried last Wednesday because earlier in the week, at the teacher/parent conference, I mentioned how August has been having trouble with transitions, and his teacher asked me whether he had the sort of routine he needed in his home. I had to admit that he didn’t. I’m terrible at schedules. When we’re home in the morning my natural inclination is to simply feel my way from one part of the morning into another. I realized my disorganization is affecting my kids.
I cried to my husband, who was sitting on the couch, pathetically nursing a cold and a fever. He was sorry for laughing. I was sorry for my sorry attempt at an outburst. He said, “I think you need to pray through this before you break your office light switch.”
So, on Thursday morning, as I sat down at 5:30 with my coffee, I prayed for God to straighten me out somehow, to give me some sort of guidance. How do I make a morning schedule for my boys? One that is consistent, healthy? How do I prioritize the writing I need to do and be content with what isn’t going to get done? How do I weave prayer into all the movements of my day? How do I actually make to-do lists and follow through with them?
Sometimes, God uses Twitter. (I know, weird.) And that’s what God did on Thursday, when lo and behold, my girl Ann Voskamp had given me 25 (Twenty-Five???) ways to keep my sanity. I opened it up, leaned into that Ann Voskamp piano music and said, “Okay, okay. I can do that…I can maybe, kind of, sort of do that…”
This is the list she gave. (Caution: It may be mind-blowing to all you ENFPs out there.) So Friday morning, I woke up at 5:30 and prayed through the Divine Hours. Then I pulled out my “Day’s Draft,” wrote down, You are my hope, O Lord, my confidence since I was young. I lit a candle (Ann Voskamp’s idea) to remember that I am the light that is put on a stand so that it gives light to everyone in the house. And I was ready when Brooksie woke at 6:30. I was ready to chat with him and read stories and snuggle on the couch. Our “Morning Routine” was written on the marker board.
One day doth not an organized mother make!
But what matters is that I’m learning. I who hate being tied down to routine, I who want every day to be new and exciting and outrageous, I who will never return every email that is still sitting in my inbox right now, I who long to lead bible studies and write massive amounts of words without ever having to give up time in other areas of my life.
I am learning that submitting to Time, submitting to the reality of my kids’ needs, submitting to my own limitations as a human, is scratching away the pride in me. It is carving a path for a true humilty.
I cannot be enough. I will let people down. I will have to undo some deeply ingrained habits in my life. But I need to rest the wild triggers in my head. I need to sleep. I need to get to work on the big stuff and let everybody else’s opinions about me matter less than God’s.
I need to lean into Enough.
Time wants to show me that there is enough of twenty-four hours to go around. Christ wants to show me that there is enough of him to widen my whole heart.