We're back to school. And only a few weeks in I'm going crazy from the stress of it all. It's a mad-house over here... and I'm starting to act a bit mad. Here's why: This is by far the busiest season our family has ever known! Anxiety is standing just outside the door. He's a menacing foe and I know he's there. But I also know that the Peaceful One who is inside of me is greater still. With my eyes stayed on Christ, on truth, and on His Spirit, there's a chance that I won't give into my crazy-triggers or get onboard the crazy-train.
That's why I'm thinking it through and praying it through today. I know what my anxiety-triggers are, especially at the start of another school year.
Simply put, we're just too busy. I've always tried to keep plenty of margin in our family life, but with one kid in High School, another in Middle School, and the busiest kid of all still in elementary, we're at three different schools and on three different schedules! I can't get my mind around it, so I'm losing my ever-loving mind!
I'm not getting enough sleep either. I know that. And eating healthy is a chore when we're always on the run. Nearly every day from 2:30 - 9:30pm, we're running at a hectic harried pace. Running multiple kids in multiple directions at the same time... multiple days in a row. I'm stressed, which isn't good. But what's worse, I'm tempted to transfer my stress onto the kids. Blaming and shaming them for holding us up one second when they run back into the house to fill their water bottles. there's no time for grace! By the time we get to where we're going, I'm personally offended that they aren't as stressed out as I am.
Anyone else know what I mean?
I'm reminded of my confession in Triggers that this ALWAYS GOING, ALWAYS RUNNING, NO MARGIN EXISTENCE can be my biggest trigger of all. And it's been hard the last few weeks. As soon as I hit the floor running, before the sun is even in the sky, I'm tempted to freak out again. But it gets worse than that! Running is hard, but running late compounds the chaos! Truth be told, these days we're always running late. Because, as I've already said, there are always multiple places to be at the same time.
Caleb is leading worship at church immediately after water polo, which is right after school. Except I can't get him there on time, (thank God for a mom-friend who can help) because I'm picking up two other kids. Then Asher plays water polo 30 minutes away, as soon as his brother's practice is done at 5pm. Somehow they need to eat (but not right before they swim,) and Brody has Lego Robotics club in the opposite direction until 8pm. The youngest makes it home the latest, and everyone tells me they're hungry.
My heart is racing even as I sit here typing out the race-pace with my fingers on these keys.
It's crazy over here, though I know I'm blessed. I guess this is what they refer to as crazy-blessed. Only I'm not functioning from a place of being crazy-blessed, I'm simply going crazy. I have no reservoirs of peace from which to draw. I'm all tapped out and graceless as I run-run-run. And we're only three weeks into the school year.
That's why I'm stopping now. I'm slowing down and sitting down and writing down a better plan — a slower plan. And if it can't be a slower plan, I still have to make a kinder plan. You know what I mean. If I recognize my tendency to transfer the stress from my heart to the hearts around me — and throw my angst on them in one rushed-gush — I'm doing damage to one and all. That's why I'm taking it to the Lord in prayer today, asking for His wisdom and the help of His Holy Spirit as I make a better plan, a slower plan, a kinder plan.
We must slow down and fill up again. We need reservoirs of peace from which to draw when we're going like crazy. Without them we will simple go crazy! We can't extend grace if we're all tapped out from the ceaseless run-run-running — only three weeks into the new school year.
Here's are three things I'm reminding myself today
1) Don't forget to sleep and eat and exercise — In the hours that I have each day when we're not running, I need to take care of this body of mine! Physically, I need to be strong enough to last this long marathon of parenting (especially this fall.) I need to be physically healthy if I'm going to be emotionally healthy — physically stable so that I can be emotionally stable. Even a 20 minute walk on my lunch break releases those good-feeling endorphins as the sun shines its Vitamin D down on me, making me feel happy again.
2) Don't forget to abide with the One who is your Peace — Even when you're on the run, you must know how to abide. Running to Him on the inside as you run around town on the outside. Because a handful of minutes in the early morning hours aren't enough to get you through long days. A single devotional isn't enough to keep you devoted to Him or your loved ones all day long. You need more. I need more too. We need to abide. Index cards of scripture-truth on the dashboard and the fridge, a Bible tucked into my purse or the glove compartment.
3) And don't forget to pray — If you pray without ceasing, you won't nag ceaselessly. You can't do both at the same time. You can't. I can't. So pray. I have a handful of familiar prayers that I pray when I'm running-running-running, feeling like I'm never going to get it all done.
First I say, "I trust You." It's a short and sweet prayer, and the bedrock foundation upon which I can keep running. "I trust You, with Brody. I trust You with Asher. I trust you with Caleb. And I trust you with this busy schedule too. I trust that You will continue to give me the wisdom I need if there have been too many yeses. But I also I trust You to give me Your gentle-kindness if there's nothing I can take off of my plate this fall. Through it all and over all, I trust You, Lord. I trust You."
And then I pray over the details: "God don't let me drop any glass balls today. I don't mind dropping the rubber balls every now and again, they can bounce! But don't let me drop any glass balls!" My kid's hearts, those are glass balls. My husband's heart, that's a glass ball too. Ten minutes later here or there. A missed assignment that needs to be made up, or forgotten water orange slices for the team... they can all bounce. But hearts can shatter if we forget to love, forget to speak lovingly, forget to touch tenderly, forget to look with eyes that say, "I'm blessed," not eyes that scream, "I'm Crazy!"
Crazy blessed. Crazy blessed. It's a little bit crazy, but we sure are blessed. Blessed like crazy.
Sweet moms, don't forget that this mad-dash is temporary, but hurtful words are long and lasting. So slow down today. Slowdown and sit down and write down gentler words to say and gentler ways to say them... and pack tomorrow's lunches before you lay your head down on the pillow tonight, and lay out clothes too.
If running-running-running is one of your Triggers — that thing that makes you lose your crud and start yelling like a crazy woman, grab a copy of Triggers: Exchanging Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. Day by day, and chapter after chapter, Amber Lia and I will walk you through one trigger at a time, and turn to the Word with you. If you want your words to change, you've got to turn to The Word. If you want those old stressed scripts to change, you've got to turn to the Scriptures! There's transformation for us there.
Are you tired of being convicted and ready to be changed? Grab a copy of Triggers and let us open up The Word with you!