It has been a while since I have written on this page. About a month ago, I was called to my first vocational ministry position in a church. A dream that I have tended, guarded and nurtured in my heart for twelve years, was finally realized. I am filled with joy and gratitude every day for this great miracle.
The challenge is trying not to lose all that I have learned spiritually, in the last 12 years that God has been training me for this…….
The job is part-time, which is what I wanted. I am not ready yet, to give up the vocation that I have guarded for the last 32 years of my life. Teaching. My kids.
I am not ready yet to give up my kids……
So, I am facing the challenge of balancing two jobs that I LOVE- and seeing my Mom three times a week at the nursing home, managing her laundry and other needs.
Here’s the tricky part:
WITHOUT LOSING MY PEACE
Everywhere around me, I see women on the verge. Just about every woman I know has way more on their plate than they can comfortably handle. Too many responsibilities. Too many commitments. No time alone. No time with friends. Way too little sleep.
And they keep on pushing…….
You know you are really terrible at self care when this is uttered:
“It is 5pm…..and I don’t think I have been to the bathroom all day!!”
That is just wrong.
They spent a lot of time in Seminary (thanks Noel Sherry!)- teaching us how to avoid ministry burnout. Teaching us about boundaries, and telling us some frankly terrifying stories of ministers who hit rock bottom and had to leave their posts. I definitely do not want to become one of those ministers……..
But the women around me, that I see EVERYWHERE -are not only ministers. They are moms and teachers and business owners and church volunteers and community service champions and people stuck in the sandwich generation, trying to finish raising their children, while the needs of their aging parents are pulling them into a whole other terrifying world. Some of them work outside the home. Some of them don’t. You can say “yes” to far too many things just as easy in a home as you can in an office.
I watch these women, and I pray for them. I pray for them to recognize the most important truth that I have learned through lots of trial and error.
Nobody but YOU is going to say “I need to rest.”
REST is a foul, dirty, four letter word in our culture of busy-ness and overconsumption. There is always more to do. There is always another thing to push on through. No day is ever really finished. You can work from home, in your pajamas. Shauna Niequist, one of my favorite authors has coined a term for this.
She calls it “fake rest”.
Nobody is going to tell you to stop.
Nobody is going to come up to you with a hot mug of chamomile tea, a cozy blanket and fuzzy slippers to tell you to take a load off and slow down for a while with a good book and a nap.
But you can do that. You can do that for yourself.
And you should…….
People don’t mean to push you. It’s just that they are so busy being pushed to overload themselves, that they don’t even notice that they are pushing. Because everyone is being pushed, and very few people have learned how to set appropriate boundaries for self-care.
I have just turned 50 and I have finally learned……
Man, that took a long time.
But, I know now, and I can’t go back to the way I was before.
That, in and of itself, is a huge blessing.
So, ask yourself today……..
What do YOU need?
What do you need in order to feel cared for and loved?
Time for coffee and a walk to take in the beautiful fall colors with an old friend?
A pedicure or massage?
A pajama day with pancakes, coffee and a great book?
A solitary walk on the beach?
A weekend away?
A religious retreat?
Dinner and a movie?
A day at the museum?
Everyone has their own way of recharging. I don’t know yours, but I know mine, and I have gotten to a place in my life when I know when and where to raise the red flag. And I am glad to do it.
It does not mean that I am weak.
It means that I am wise………
It is MORE than OK to say that you are tired.
It is MORE than OK to say that you need a rest.
It is MORE than OK to say “no” when someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do.
Tell them your Minister said so😉.