Instructions for a meltdown-free Easter

As I was researching what to write about today, I came across this post I put together before Easter last year. No matter how hard I try to get caught up, I always seem to feel overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of each week. Thankfully, this post reminded me how to have a truly restful and joyous Easter. I hope it does the same for you …

From time to time, I experience what I like to call a “mom meltdown.” For example, as I was driving home yesterday after a late-night Easter basket run, I looked around my vehicle, at the kid crumbs and discarded french fries and junk from all the projects I’m working on, and I mentally threw my hands up in the air.

“Why can’t I ever seem to get it together?” I asked myself. “I’m always so overwhelmed and behind on everything.” And then came the other inevitable questions:

  • How do my friends do it? They always seem so organized and at peace.
  • When will I ever get caught up?
  • What do I need to change to make things easier?
  • Why does life seem so hard?
  • What is wrong with me?

And as I drove home in the dark, exhausted and on the verge of tears, this verse popped into my mind:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Cor. 12:9 (NIV)

For Type A people like me, this verse is hard to grasp. Because I want so much to improve myself, to accomplish my goals, to please others, to control the outcome. It’s unnatural for me to boast about my weaknesses because I spend so much time trying to get rid of or minimize them.

But during this particular late night “mom meltdown,” it was as if God himself laid His hand on my shoulder and simply asked me to let go …

… To let go of the idea of perfection – the perfect home, the perfect family, the perfectly organized and chaos-free life.

… To let go of the silly notion that I will catch up on my to-do list.

… To let go of the striving for significance, influence and approval.

And then He asked me to rest. Rest in the promise that He’s still working on me and I will never be complete on this side of heaven. Rest in the promise that He cares for me and has never failed to provide me with everything I need.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

 

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

So in spite of the fact that my life often looks and feels a lot like the wobbly fan I renovated on my back patio, I can actually rest and rejoice in the chaos of every day. Because it is one more piece of evidence that Jesus is alive. His power rests on me and is made perfect in my weakness.

Hyacinth

May you enjoy a restful and joyous Easter celebration!

3 ways to find clarity amid life’s chaos

First of all, let me offer a big “Helloooooooooo!” I am finally back home after eight long weeks of military training and I am so excited to reconnect with all of you and return to DIYing and blogging.

AMS graduation

Can you spot me in this picture? (Courtesy photo)

Stepping away from regular life for such an extended period of time has given me the rare opportunity to gain perspective about what really matters and what my priorities should be.

Today, I thought I’d share with you three ways I’ve found clarity through my experience and how I’m trying (yes, this is a lesson I re-learn every day) to make choices that will give me more peace and joy despite the struggles that come with a jam-packed life.

1. Embrace your insignificance. I confess that, as a wife and mom, I often have this notion that the whole world rests on my shoulders. It is my daily duty to feed and care for, clean up after, make happy, and instruct and correct all members of my family (spouse included). I guess I believe that, without me, nothing would get done … or get done right anyway. Admittedly, operating from the premise that all decisions should begin and end with me is an incredibly narcissistic – and anxious – way to live. And it can be really annoying for those who live with me. Being away for two months taught me that the show goes on without me around. People get fed, clothed and to school and work on time. Despite my fears, no apocalyptic-level crisis was triggered in my absence. 😉

Although this may seem like a depressing revelation, it’s actually very freeing because it reminds me that my family loves me and wants me around not for what I can do for them, but for who I am. And it’s OK to let go of my annoying perfectionism and let people do things their way. I really can depend on others to take care of important things. And I.can.delegate. I have smart and capable people all around me who will rise to the occasion. Who am I kidding? I never had the time or energy to do it all myself anyway.

2. Say yes to only the best. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve read in a self-help article that we need to learn to say “no,” I’d be a wealthy woman. I realize this phrase has become cliché. And I think we all understand there’s simply not enough time in the day to say “yes” to everything. The real problem is that we aren’t clear about how often we need to say “no.” In other words, we’re still saying “yes” to more than we can comfortably handle.

So the growth and change is not in learning to say “no.” Rather, it is in understanding what is really possible to accomplish well in any given day, week, month or year. The word “well” is the key. To gain clarity on what to say “yes” to, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • What can I take on today that I can do well?
  • What can I devote the proper attention to and do thoroughly, using my best efforts?
  • If I say “yes” to this, will I feel good about the finished product?
  • Can I take this on without sacrificing my health or well-being?

This is one of the biggest struggles I deal with every.single.day. I have so many wonderful things I want to do. Awesome … noble … fun things. But the truth is, I can only devote 100 percent of myself to a few tasks. This year, my goal is to give 100 percent to my most important priorities and fuggetabout the rest.

3. Get comfortable with pain. Here’s a sobering truth: Growth and positive change in life rarely, if ever, happen without pain attached.

We all have goals and dreams we want to accomplish. Many of us even have detailed plans laid out for how to meet those objectives. Many times, however, we get derailed from our plans to improve our health, work, relationships, etc. because we haven’t come to terms with the fact that getting where we want to go will require ongoing discomfort.

Climbing-wallMe climbing a rock wall during training (Courtesy photo)

Simply put, if you’re not experiencing some discomfort or pain, you’re probably not growing. “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” as the old Marine recruiting slogan goes. We must push through discomfort to reach our potential in life; it’s the only way to get there.

The beauty is that what begins as discomfort or fear quickly evolves into strength, accomplishment and fuel for the journey.

Do you have any secrets for gaining clarity amid life’s chaos? I’d love for you to leave a comment and share the tips you’ve learned along the way.

2015 Word of the Year – What’s yours?

A few years ago, I began choosing a Word of the Year to guide and shape my actions for that particular set of 12 months. In 2012, it was “available.” In 2013, it was “build.” And in 2014, it was “push.”

These simple words have proven to be absolutely life-changing for me. It seems there’s something almost supernatural about speaking out loud and writing down our intentions that sets the wheels in motion to make great things happen.

That’s part of the reason I am such a fan of Michael Hyatt’s “Best Year Ever” course. I completed the course last year and met eight out of the 10 goals I set for myself in 2014. These were not rinky-dink goals, either. They were big, hairy goals, like tripling my speaking engagements, doubling my income and writing a book!

Needless to say, I’m keeping the Word of the Year tradition alive (and also going through Michael’s course again). I’m convinced that 2015 will be my best year ever!

After much thought, I’ve decided on the word:

SEEInstead of a judgmental, critical eye, this year I will:

  • See potential rather than problems
  • See progress rather than imperfection
  • See God’s provision rather than my own lack
  • See people with eyes like God’s, full of love, grace and compassion
  • See possibilities instead of past failures
  • See the beauty in everyday moments
  • See the hand of God working all around me

This is my desire for 2015. Now, what is your Word of the Year? I’d love for you to tell me by leaving a comment so we can encourage each other.

Cheers to 2015: Our best year ever!