Busy? Tired? Stressed? Or Creating Calm?

As I thought about my resolutions for 2013, I kept coming back to the idea of creating calm.  I was feeling rushed and harried and like I didn’t have a good handle on all of the things I was juggling.  So when I made some of my specific goals for the new year, I included things like making time for more quiet interaction with my kids, deeply connecting with my family and others, and creating calm by underreacting to situations rather than my default response, which is to go into turbo mode whenever possible.  🙂

In January, I managed to “create calm” exactly five days.  I was able to put a check mark next to “don’t hurry” only three times.  Some of the other resolutions about connecting were more successful, but somehow I was not getting a lot of traction on the whole idea of slowing down and creating calm connections, especially with my family.

Then, unexpectedly, after the worst stomach flu of my life, I wound up spending the last week of January in the hospital with preterm labor and a baby in distress.  I was sent home for the first day of February on bedrest, and my OB advised me to consider which things I could slow down for the next ten weeks, in hopes of keeping my baby healthy and giving her long enough to grow before delivery.  It was a scary time for me, and a good reminder that even when I feel like I have all the plates spinning effectively, God is really the one in control, not me.

Before I went into the hospital, I read Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood, which you can get free from Grace Full Mama.  It’s a short e-book, but full of challenging and convicting thoughts about how to really make time to effectively interact with your children.  The author writes about how busyness gets in the way of truly enjoying the people in our lives, and prevents us from finding joy.  While she doesn’t offer untenable prescriptions for helicopter parenting (she’s a mother of five and presumably knows that even the most simple day can only be so simple when you have kids!), Joy gives encouragement to build margin into our lives and really slow down rather than always being tired and stressed and overwhelmed.  The book wraps up with practical ideas for implementing concepts like constant love, consistent training, and continual teaching.

I had made a lot of notes as I read, but wasn’t really sure what to do with the ideas.  I’m not going to lie to you–while slowing down really appeals to me, I have no idea how to implement it.  The task of paring things back seemed more stressful than just carrying on.  However, now that my vague feeling that I need to cut back and focus is actually being medically enforced, I am looking forward to being less busy and enjoying more time in the margin.

If you’re looking for encouragement in motherhood or inspiration for living more calmly and deliberately, I’d recommend Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood.  As I mentioned before, it’s free, and won’t take too long to read, but will doubtless be helpful.

6 thoughts on “Busy? Tired? Stressed? Or Creating Calm?

  1. I’m so sorry you are having complications. I have been on bed rest before. Praying you can find ways to cut back so that you don’t get too worn down.

    I am a big fan of slowing down to enjoy life. It IS hard, though, especially in our culture and I have so many interests. When I’m cutting something out, or saying no, I find it really stressful, but as soon as I have done it, it’s like a big wave of relief. I hope that’s what you feel. 🙂

  2. Thanks! I will check that e-book out.

    Isn’t it crazy sometimes how God takes it upon Himself to “help us” with our goals!! Of course the theology of that sentence is not correct at all, but that’s how it feels! Sometimes I cringe just wondering what God might do to help me learn a particular lesson…..rather than remember that He is our PERFECT heavenly father and has his best interest for me at the heart of everything. Maybe the Holy Spirit puts those goals into our hearts to prepare us for what God has planned to do…… I’m so sorry you are stuck in this difficult place of being forced to slow down so drastically. I know a little of what it is like to have the house fall apart around you and a million things left undone and be surrounded by chaos when the very thing one loves is order, and cleanliness (at least some!) and organized schedules. I pray God gives you grace to be able to ignore some of the chaos and hold onto the good — the relationships and connecting time. I pray that the time goes by as quickly as possible for you too and that perhaps you will have some precious memories from these days. And remember that grieving what you have to give up in the things not done, the places not gone, and the sense of no accomplishment is very normal! (and should I be called again to this, please remind me of these things!)

  3. Have you read Not So Fast by Ann Kroeker? I’ve only skimmed through it, but it might give you some practical ideas for implementation.

    1. Yes, I have read that one and found it helpful. I think at this point it’s not a question of knowing how to cut things down (we don’t actually do a lot of outside activities, most of my activity is the stuff around the house that keeps me on my feet all day, added to the things I do outside the house) as needing to take time to prayerfully evaluate what I do and why I do it and why I think I’m the only one who can do it. But yes, Ann’s book is a good one on the topic!

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