Time and Balance

Hi it’s Suzy from HealingStrong.

Are you experiencing May Madness?

For some, our children are wrapping up their school year. (My youngest son is graduating high school this week!) I’ve had some weepy moments lately, playing memories in my mind of me and Drew over these last 18 years. Did I do enough? Did I spend enough time with him? Did I use the time wisely that I have had with him? He will graduate this week and leaves for college in late summer. I’m so happy for him, but this transition has left me doing a whole lot of thinking.

With a lump in my throat, I was sharing my heart with a dear friend. How I wish I could have slowed time over these last 26 years of mothering my two amazing boys. She sent me a beautiful word of encouragement that she was inspired to write after our conversation. It is share-worthy!

Many of you who have been around HealingStrong a while may remember Jenn. She and her husband, Brian, have served on our team since the very beginning. She was the primary editor of our Leader’s Curriculum and Guidebook, along with our Participant Guide. Her journey of healing strong is a beautiful one of God’s redemption and restoration. Here is a message of encouragement from her. Thank you, Jenn!


Limited Time

Is your life chaotic?

Do you feel like you can’t stay on top of your to-do list because the overnight rainstorm left a pond in your kitchen, the toilet overflowed, or the dog vomited on the couch? When unexpected situations pop up, I become controlling, barking orders at my family and feel anxious since my agenda was interrupted. How will I ever get it all done? I want to scream but say it under my breath because I don’t want everyone to see me lose it.

Lately, I’ve been reminded of Psalm 90:12, which says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” We have the capability to accomplish more, work smarter (which still takes time), and do more, but it can leave us feeling empty and guilty. I’m a bad friend because I don’t respond to every text quickly. I didn’t mail my best friend’s birthday card on time, and it’s been in my purse for a week. I texted my dad my health update since it’s emotionally exhausting to recount it, but he left a voicemail asking for more details; I better call him back.

A lot of what we do is with good intentions, but as a 43-year-old mother of a 2 ½-year-old, I am trying to learn to let go of what I THINK I should be doing and just do what matters. This is my daily, hourly struggle. In Breathing Room: A 28-Day Devotional for Women, Sandra Stanley, wife of Pastor Andy Stanley, presents a key concept:

“Our time is limited, so we must limit what we do with our time.”

With each new to-do added to my list, invitation I am given, or work opportunity I am offered, I try to consider how I want to use my time. Sometimes with the bigger time obligations, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me decipher what is the right thing for me to do because it is right, not because it could be a good thing. Volunteering is wonderful, teaching a yoga class has benefits for the instructor, baking a cake for a new mother is appreciated, but sometimes we have to put a hand up and STOP. Sandra encourages the reader to use this deciding factor:

“If I’m ever too busy to _____________(fill in the blank), then I’m too busy.”
So, it took me a while, but I finally put this to use one morning, while my recently-weaned
toddler said, “Mommy, come sit with me,” with 15 of her favorite books on the floor beside
her.

Feeling guilty, I said, “I’ll be there in a few minutes,” (for the third time) while I responded to a text, scraped the crumbs on the kitchen floor into a corner with my shoe, and tried to drink the tea I forgot I made over an hour ago. But then, I remembered what I wrote in my journal… If I’m ever too busy to sit on the floor and give full attention to my daughter, then I’m too busy. I took a breath, left it all undone, and went to read book after book with her, while she snuggled next to me with her blonde head against my arm. Two years ago she needed me so much, I was desperate for alone time, and now she thinks she’s too big to sit in my lap. These precious moments matter.

Healing requires peace and times of rest. How can you number your days? What can you let go of to just breathe?

Jennifer Little is a writer, school counselor, wife, and became a mom “at advanced age” (40). She tends to be hopelessly impatient, but is learning to trust God on big and small things, including her own health struggles. As a recovering perfectionist, she is trying to let go of control and move forward. She appreciates the journey and is completely overwhelmed by God’s big love for her.

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