I look around the house at the mess everywhere. With guests staying here and a house-helper who has been out for a week now, I can’t find a corner of this apartment that isn’t a disaster. There’s more to do than I know what to do with, and the mess calls to me… “Clean me, wash me, fix me, pick me up.”
It would be so easy, but I’ve promised myself that in this time, in this space of a few precious hours, I’m not giving out what I don’t have to give. I’ve promised myself that I will feed me first. I’ve given myself permission to breathe, be still, to create, to push aside duty and make way for something that is better. Because what’s the point of having a clean house if you’ve starved your soul in the process?
One thing I’ve realized lately is that no one else is going to give me permission to breathe–to rest, to dream, to do that which brings me life. This is something I have to do for myself.
As a mother and wife it’s the nature of the business to be a giver. But giving becomes empty if along the way we lose joy and everything we do becomes something else to check off the list. Feed the kids- check. Buy the chicken- check. Wash the uniforms- check. Change the sheets- check. Water the plants- check. Help 1, 2, 3, with their homework- check (or not, #3 hates doing her work and it is a lesson in patience to help her).
The list goes on and on. And on and on.
And if you’re like me, you pacify yourself with lies like “When I get everything done I’ll sit down and work on my _______________.” I fill in the blank with “my book,” “my painting,” or “blog.” Those are activities that fill my cup. So why do I put off doing them until the never-ending list of chores is completed when I know that in the moments when I’m being creative I feel alive and free?
It makes no sense.
This especially makes no sense if you are like me and believe God is a creator of beauty and also a rester (new word, I just made it up), so I have a model of resting and creating I can follow. Why not follow it?
That’s the question before me now, before many of us who have those never-ending lists of good things to do– urgent things, with people depending on us. Will we choose to do that which feeds our own down deep hunger even if it means we have to say a big ole NO to someone or something? Can I be brave enough to give myself permission to breathe once in a while without feeling guilty or like I’m letting someone down?
The answer has to be yes to both. Yes, because I want the everyday doings in life to be done out of love, given out of a full well. Right now the well is empty and there is only the checklist to complete so I can move on to other things. Clearly not the best way to live.
So what does this look like in everyday life? How do I clear out time and space to breathe on a regular basis?
Even as I write this I’m not sure what it looks like, but my hope is by the end of today, while most of the family is away I will gain the glimmer of a plan to move forward. That’s the hope anyway.
And as always, encouragement and any insights are greatly appreciated.