Renewal During Hectic Times

A good friend emailed me awhile back with a question about staying focused and getting it all done during times when life has to be hectic.  I’m finding myself in one of those times right now.  I thought I might remind myself of the answer I gave and share with you at the same time.

Her question:

What do you do personally to renew yourself when the schedule outside of school gets hectic? You know — when things are beyond your control like funerals, sickness in the family, elderly people needing help — situations you find yourself involved in at a time when the personal bank of energy and patience are low.

My answer:

I’ve been thinking on your question today and chuckled out loud a few times as I thought, “Who in the world am I to answer such a question??!!”  I’m totally overwhelmed and feel like my life is spinning out of control right now.  I’m chalking up my craziness as a “season” of life and trying to remember that life will become normal again.  Anyway, I’ll give my best answer….

You know what I’m gonna say – – when outside things start pressing, we have to be able to say “no”.  Easier said than done, I know.  Your family won’t appreciate a “no”.  Your church won’t like hearing “no”.  Your friends might not even care to hear the word.

I used to try to be at every funeral, fix a dish for every funeral dinner, work to help serve the funeral meal, send a card to the grieving family….You get the point.  Multiply that by sick people, the elderly, church ministries, friends, family, birthday parties, church parties, co-op classes, co-op food……I was getting to the point where my own family was getting pushed into the background.  Then I read a book called Having a Mary in a Martha World and it really opened my eyes.  I have two responsibilities that I know are God-given – my husband and my children.  God may call me to other things as well, but He hasn’t called me to everything.

Long story short, I quit everything I could at church.  I stopped offering to be the person to “ask if you need anything.”  And I learned to say no to just about anyone who asked.  🙂

Now, if I choose to fix a meal for someone, I usually go in with one or two others to take the load off.  I very rarely agree to any long term ministry “opportunities” at church.  I try to send cards to people, but don’t get around to visit much.  I bring chips to co-op rather than a five course meal.  I help at the funeral meal only if everything else is in order.

I’m far from having all this figured out.  I feel guilty about how much more service I should be doing.  I feel guilty for not meeting everyone’s needs.  But like I mentioned earlier about the season of life I’m in right now, I know there will come other seasons when serving people outside my family will be easier.

When I do have to do certain things, though, I always try to involve the kids.  Serving others is a wonderful addition to the curriculum!  At least those times when other need us can be shared with our kids!!

Well, that’s my two cents.  I’m an utter failure at meeting anyone’s needs (except Eli’s) right now, so take my words with a grain of salt.  🙂  As for the idea of renewal….hmmm….I don’t think I know what that word means.  Maybe if I had one single solitary minute to myself, I might be able to breathe.  That could be renewing.  Or exercise.  Or send my kids away for a weekend.  Or send myself away for a weekend.  Or get a massage.  Okay, back to reality.  I ain’t goin’ anywhere until this kid stops nursing!  Do you think he’ll wean himself by sixteen??

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