On not trying so much

The thing of growing up with a chronically ill parent is that is dramatically shifts your perspective on life. Expectations for myself, my energy, my accomplishments as a stay-at-home-mother, even my own health have been formed because of this life experience. In some ways, they’ve been good, but in others, I’ve required a fundamental shift in the paradigm of my thoughts.

Over the years, I’ve tried and tried to do this on my own. I’ve read books, been to counselors and begged the Lord to help me. To take away the pressures and anxiety I’d created to be the lenses I viewed my world through. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying.

A year ago, I got my own diagnosis, one which required me to take it down a notch. To stop pushing myself to the standards I’d created. To stop trying and accept that there are limits in life. And no matter of gumption will change this fact.

In the last few months, I’ve been exploring the concept of rest. Not in the prop-up-your-feet-and-exhale sense, but in the utter stillness of the Lord’s care. As I spent my time just being quiet, not striving to change things or beg the Lord to fix things, but choosing those moments of stress to remind myself that I am where I need to be. The lessons I am learning now are hard, but I wasn’t ready for them years ago. Sure. It would be nice, if I didn’t have to learn these things now, but would I have fully appreciated them years ago?

At this moment, I’m recovering from a nasty bug. For the most part, I feel better, but the sneaky kind of better that makes you think you’ve returned to the front of the pack only to slap you down with bone-crushing fatigue after that first load of laundry. We need clean underwear. The toilet needs scrubbed. The dishes need washed. But it doesn’t have to all be done at the same time.

Maybe not for you, but for me, realizing that there is value in rest, has brought so much freedom. I do not know what will happen next in my life, but frantically scrubbing toilets will not bring an iota of control. And that’s ok. I like clean toilets, but I’d rather scrub them because I like the end result instead of using it as a futile exercise in control.

 

Ironic, isn’t it? The harder I work, the less progress is made in my heart. There is such a sweetness in surrendering to the Lord’s Hand over your life. The realization of sovereignty has been the greatest gift I could have been given in this season of life. It’s beautiful and captivating and touching to think that He has already laid out my life… it is up to me to live it with joy. And peace. And contentment.

And clean toilets.

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