Something had to give
Have you ever had one of those seasons in life where things are much more intense than usual? Where the pressure leaves you feeling alternately crushed by it all and discouraged more times than you would like to admit?
As previously mentioned, that intense time for me/my family is happening right now. The emotional and mental stress that comes with a change such as moving overseas is, quite frankly, enormous. However, I’ve already mentioned that several times, so won’t go on about it in this post. Let’s talk about you. Have you had one of those times in life recently (or even now)? I’m talking about times when life’s stressors are particularly overwhelming; these stressors can be of a positive or negative nature. Have you moved recently? Had a baby? Had a child require what seems like constant attention because of bad behavior/attitude? Think about your own life. We’ve all had those more challenging times at one time or another.
About a week and a half ago, I realized that I was trying to carry out life as usual in the Fong household as well as prepare to move overseas. I was stressed to the max and this stress surfaced everywhere. It showed up (especially) in my relationships with my kids and my husband, as an almost constant undercurrent of anxiety, and in constant feelings of exhaustion in every sense of the word. It all came to a head and it wasn’t pretty, but it was relieving to finally put my finger on at least part of the problem. I couldn’t do it all. I wasn’t allowing for the extra things that needed to be done and the added stress that was simply a reality in this season of our family’s life. Something had to give.
Right. But then came the more challenging part – figuring out what needed to be set aside, at least for just a time (if not permanently). I sat down with pen and paper and wrote down the things I give most of my time to. I wrote down the things I felt like I “should be” doing. I wrote down all the things I wanted to do before leaving the country. I prayed and thought about it all. I then started crossing out. Some things were easy and were a relief to cross out. Other things were much harder. But folks, I can’t do it all. And neither can you, at least without consequences. And you know what? It’s ok. Really, it is. Because if you don’t allow something(s) to go, more important things will be affected as a result.
Here’s an example. One thing I am letting go of right now is related to our meal-times. I am keeping meals simple. I am not trying many new recipes. Because we don’t have a dishwasher, I am using a lot of paper plates. (gasp!) If I don’t let go of making more elaborate meals, trying new things, and using real plates, I have less time for the things that really need to be done and for those who mean the most to me.
I have deactivated my Facebook account (for now). I sent out a mass email on behalf of our family in order to thank multiple people for Christmas and birthday gifts rather than writing individual cards. I try not to schedule social engagements or appointments for us every day of the week in order to keep some breathing room in our days. I continue to ask God to guide our days and lead me to cut out further things that still need to be cut out.
And … voila’! Now everything is easy!
Except it’s not. The stressors are still there. There are still many, many things to be done. The reality of it being a harder time is just that; a reality. But I have a choice in how I respond. I can keep going and try to do everything “as normal” plus the additional things needed to be done. Or I can admit that something has to give.
I did, and now I’m making the necessary changes. And it’s a good thing, friends. A good thing.
How about you? Does something in your life have to give right now, either for a season or more permanently?