During my college days, I lived off-campus, which meant an 8-10 minute drive to school each day in my little red pickup. The commute was no big deal, except when I was running low on gas… which was pretty much always. It was more often than not that I would hop into the truck at 7:50 for my 8am class and think, “Crud, I forgot to get gas again.”
So, being the wonderfully logical person that I am, I would hop in the car and start driving to class, praying that my fumes would get me there, promising myself that I would get more gas on the way home. But of course, I would make it, and by the time classes were over, getting gas was the last thing on my mind. And so the cycle would repeat itself.
Mercifully, my habit of running on an empty tank of gas never did catch up with me. But I do sometimes get into a habit of driving on empty in a more figurative sense. There is always too much to do, and never enough time or energy or motivation to do it. I often feel like I’m running on fumes, praying that I make it til the end of the day, and then starting the cycle over again the next morning. I’m guessing there may be a few of you out there who may be feeling the same way. And we all know it’s not going to get any easier when school starts back up.
In case you’re wondering, though, this will not be one of those posts where I lay out my wonderful 5-step solution and encourage you to follow it because it has worked for me. This is honestly a post for ME, right here right now. I tend to process my inner struggles in writing, so that’s what I’m about to do. Hopefully you can get a little something out of it, too.
Public Message to Myself, Take 1:
Hey there self, how are you doing? Yeah, I know… not so hot. The house is messy… the kids are driving you crazy… you’re annoyed with the feeling that nothing ever gets done, but you’re also annoyed with yourself for not trying harder. You’re tired and discouraged and feel like you can never do anything right. Well, I have a few suggestions for you that I think you should try…
1) TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL SELF. News flash: Food is not optional. You will feel like crud if you keep skipping or skimping on meals and not eating a balanced diet. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it does need to give you good, clean fuel to keep you going. (So no, chocolate chips don’t count as a meal.) Drinking enough is very important, too. And hey… no more staying up til 2am when the hubby is out of town. I know you think it will help you to get in some kid-free time, but I guarantee you, a few hours of extra sleep will do you worlds more good. As for exercise… uhh… let’s just stick to the basics for now, okay? Okay.
2) TAKE BETTER CARE OF YOUR SPIRITUAL SELF. I know, I know… you feel like there’s never enough time in the day for devotions. Well, there is… you are just filling it with things that are less important. It doesn’t have to be an hour and a half long soul-searching session like the ones you used to have pre-marriage and pre-kids. You do have a lot on your plate now, and even your husband doesn’t get to spend a ton of time with you. But you know making at least some time for him is crucial for your relationship, and the same goes for your relationship with God. If you need to start small, set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than normal (because you’ll be going to bed earlier anyway, right? Right?!) and spend a little quiet time with Him before the kids get up. We both know you feel so much better when your day starts off on the right foot, so… do it!!
3) FOCUS ON WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT. Stay with me, Miss Idealist… You don’t have to be Supermom, you don’t have to have hundreds of customers for your business, and you don’t have to bring about world peace. There will be time for awesome birthday parties and marketing campaigns and internet philosophizing, but is that what you need to do right now? One thing at a time, kiddo. Think through your priorities. Write them down. Are the things you’re doing now truly getting you where you want to be, or are they distracting you from the things that really matter? Think about it.
4) FORGIVE YOURSELF. You will mess up sometimes… probably often. Don’t let it paralyze you or turn your world upside down. Your Master has forgiven you of so much more, and He will be with you as you try again. Forget what is behind, and press on toward the goal. (Phil. 3:13-14)
5) REMEMBER YOUR WORTH. You know that little voice in your head telling you that you are worthless, unappreciated, and insignificant? Don’t listen. It is telling you lies. Here is the truth: You were fearfully and wonderfully made by God. He considered you worth the price of His Son. If you turn around and tell Him that you are worthless, you are denying the beauty of His creation and saying that His love and sacrifice were not enough to make you valuable. His love is enough, dear one. You don’t need the approval of anyone else.
Hope that has filled up your tank a little bit today. Keep on driving!
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka