several months ago, i began reading a book called "breathe" by keri wyatt kent. i have been reading this with a group of friends and we meet once a month to eat dinner, desert and have a good discussion. two weeks ago, we finished the book and had our group at my house. overall the book was pretty good. there were a few chapters here and there that seemed a bit redundant but the concept of the book really spoke to me and hit home. the book really challenged me to breathe. the book brought to my attention there was too much busyness in my life and that my role of a wife, mom and friend was not being placed first - other things were. i was even in a place where i don't think i had the time to hear from God. i was running in circles and really stressed out. i had been in the place for a long time. sometimes i would realize it and cut back on things, but then quickly say yes to other things. just trading busyness for other busyness.
there were several principles in the book that really spoke to me. the biggest one was that i really needed to start saying no to commitments i had made, to commitments i was the process of making and to learn how to continue to say no to other commitments that may come along. i realized that i was so busy and that i never had time to have any fun or do anything for myself. and if and when i did i felt guilty and the commitments that needed to be done would overshadow the fun i should or could be having. i started to resent some of the things i had said yes to. i realized that i wasn't really enjoying this season of my life. i wasn't enjoying my family or even my friends. i was overcommited and stressed out.
the first commitment i had to let go was my volunteer position at elevation as the ekidz volunteer coordinator. that was very hard for me. i love being a part of our church and having a role that made me feel important and like i was contributing. but the volunteer position required way too much of my time. it was so hard for me to step down but i knew i had to. i knew that through my reading and through God it was what i was suppose to do. sunday mornings were becoming stressful for me. being pregnant and getting three kids to church early in the morning and staying late into the afternoon was getting hard. and i had been doing it by myself. i began to resent all of that. i realized i was not supporting jamil in his role as one of our pastor's armor bearers because i was so stressed out. i also had to do a lot of "work" during the week from home. i loved the work i was doing and the people i worked with but i had to let it go.
another commitment was as a room mom. once the school year was done at union academy, i vowed not to take on the role as a room mom for the next year. i loved being one of two room moms for josh's class. but i knew i couldn't commit for the new school year to either of the classes my kid's would be in. when the time came this year, it was hard for me not to volunteer this year, but i didn't. i have offered to help in anyway i can but just not be in that take charge role.
i am a take charge kind of girl, that is just how God has made me but i knew he was asking me to let go of that gift and let go of both of those roles for this season of my life and just follow someone else's lead for awhile in whatever i help with. at church i serve on a team that supports one of our community outreach partners, safe journey. it doesn't require as much time and energy but i am still able to be involved and be able to serve. and i also choose to see that i have a valuable role as i support jamil as he serves along side of pastor steven. i feel that him knowing i am handling our family by myself on sunday mornings gives him a peace of mind and he can serve pastor and be completely focused as he does. at school this year, i will volunteer when and as much as i can but not by taking a lead role.
in june, when those things were finished my time was freed up tremendously. i was able to put that extra time into spending real quality time with my kids this summer. with jordyn starting kindergarten in the fall, i wanted to be able to have a good summer with them and especially with her. i didn't want to tell them no to things because i had "work" to do.
i also realized when it came time to my daily schedule i often put too many things into one day. if we had a party at 2:00, we could also have dinner plans with family at 6:00 and hey why not add something else at 10:00 am too because that is free. i have realized that just because a chunk of time is free it doesn't have to be filled with something to do. i have made a conscious effort to really look at how our days and how our weekends are scheduled. we definitely still have busy weeks and weekends but they are not as frequent. we have scheduled time to breathe! so when a busy week or weekend comes along i can handle it a lot better. and if i am handling it better, my family is too!! we have had a lot less evening commitments as well. it is refreshing to be able to be home more evenings then away. especially with the kids back in school. having two in school has definitely changed the dynamics of our evening routine!
i have done really well this summer saying no to things that would require my time. i have lost the desire to say "yes" all of the time. i think i had such a fear of saying no because i thought that if i said no it would show a weakness or that i would be bored or that i wouldn't be asked to do anything else. i had gotten into a habit of saying yes to everything. i had this mindset that i am a stay at home mom and i have a lot of time on my hands so i should be able to do everything and anything that came my way. so for years i have said yes and overcommited myself anyway i could. what i didn't realize is that i wouldn't be bored. having a family and keeping up with a home keeps me busy. i realized that i am not at all bored, not at all. i have still been really busy. my priorities have really shifted and changed. i have been able to put my family ahead of all those commitments that used to be there. i feel like i have been able to focus and really put my family first. i know that God is calling me to live this way. this is where he wants me in this season of my life. God is the center of my life and my family and friends come first.