The past few weeks have been busy and productive. I’ve been preparing some exciting things to share with you and have had a focused effort for my time. At the end of each day, I have been feeling grateful and full of energy for what was happening. And then Monday came. It was a good day; actually a great day, but it ended with a phone call that sent me spinning into the world of doubt. It was so unexpected and before I knew it, I was sitting in a puddle of tears that just kept coming.
Fortunately, friends who listened patiently sat with me in the messiness of the moment and gave me the space to sort out my thoughts.
I’d like to say as the evening went on, I was filled with a sense of calm and the rest of the night ran smoothly. Not the case.
As the evening went on, life became more hectic and the small messes around the house grew to epic proportions in my mind. I was out of patience. Somewhere in the process, I lost my “quiet” voice and the whole family ended up in the laundry room with me making demands and barking orders to get things cleaned up.
As I started to rant, there was the briefest moment of confusion on the kids’ faces. It was so quick, but I saw it. Then I felt it. I was angry and grouchy. I was out of sync. The house wasn’t a complete wreck. I was just reeling from my earlier conversation and all evidences were pointing to the unhealthy message, “YOU CAN’T DO THIS! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!?”
I did the only thing I could in that moment. I stopped and made a choice. I claimed what was mine. It sounded like this, “Ok—so I’m really mad, but this isn’t about you. This is about me. It’s mine. Not yours. I’m sorry. I need to take a break. And yes, please take care of the things I just asked for—I need your help. I just need a few minutes.” And I went to take a timeout.
The power in this single event is that it stayed a moment. It didn’t encompass the whole night and didn’t ruin the environment for everyone. Truth is freeing in that way. I was having a hard night. Simple. I wasn’t a bad mom. I hadn’t ruined anyone. It was just a moment in time. Eventually, I put myself to bed and a few more tears came, but they weren’t tears of defeat.
Tuesday morning as I walked into a quiet space, I felt my whole soul cry out for more. I needed to be still physically and mentally. It was a moment of realization.
I had just taught about it a few days earlier. I get to see it’s impact in families all the time, but it still snuck up on me. I was not taking care of myself. My efforts and focus over the past two weeks had been so focused in an outward direction that I had neglected to fill my own bucket. As a result, it was coming out in frustration and anger directed towards my family.
The demands placed upon our families are many. We are pulled in so many directions and everyone or everything wants a bit of attention. We must slow down and take just a few moments to care for our souls. It’s not a luxury, but a need and an essential part of caring for others.
What does your soul need today? Mine needed quiet. Maybe yours needs a little fun. Whatever it is, create a moment to listen and respond. You are so worth it!
Reminders I found in the moments of quiet:
- “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
- “Until we can receive with an open heart, we can never really give with an open heart.” Brene Brown
- “Self-love is not only necessary and good, it is a prerequisite for loving others.” Rollo May
- “Self-care is not selfish.” Me