~…I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down…~
Nehemiah 6:3 (NIV84)
Yesterday my oldest daughter, came to me in dire distress over the severe boredom in her life and how having to do the exact same thing every single day was not only ruining her life but was the source of all her misery and the reason she couldn’t remember to complete her chores. Naturally this was all my fault, hence the emotion in which it was expressed to me. Now I’m sure you’ve gathered by this point that my oldest is a pre-teen and in that stage where everything is a life or death situation. However, in the course of the conversation I gave her examples of my daily activities and schedules and, with this in mind, we started working on the topics of perspective and personal responsibility. Working with her on this sparked a wave in me.
Over the years I have listened to many mothers complain that they “had no life” or something to that effect. I’ve been in the list of complainers myself more than once. As a single mother, I have found myself longing for a change of pace and then some. Carrying on the job of two parents and, in the case of those with minimal to no support system a village as well, can get to be quite monotonous, not to mention exhausting. There never seems to be an end to the cycle, a breaking point to relax in, and hope fades quite quickly. It becomes easy to get overwhelmed and, at times, even resentful. Allowed to fester unchecked, these emotions can turn a loving heart into one of the most bitter existences I ever seen.
So what do we do about it, when the responsibility side of life seems to be taking up all our time and sucking the life out of the fun side? How do you press past something like that for as long as parenting requires? Truth is you don’t! The key to “surviving” is to get out of the survival mindset and into one that allows you to have joy right where you are in life. Granted, proper scheduling can help make you more efficient with your time and free up some mommy moments. Delegation, especially in single parent homes, can help distribute your load so that it’s a bit easier to carry. At the end of the day though, nothing is going to give you the large scale results you need like a change in perspective will.
It is up to us to both embrace the responsibilities we’ve been given as blessings and actively pursue joy in life. Embracing responsibilities as blessings I think was the hardest for me to come to terms with, but the easiest to work on. My process began with saying one simple phrase, “Thank you God for giving me the honor to do this work for You.” Now I hope you all noticed I said “saying”, not “believing”! In the very beginning, I said that phrase through gritted teeth with anger in my heart, and I had to say it fast to keep from cursing. I didn’t mean it at all, but I knew I had to get it in my heart in order for anything to change. If we want the end results of Luke 6:45 then we have to get the good things stored in our heart with what we learn in Joshua 1:8. Do not let the good things you desire to be depart from your mouth and they will become stored up in your heart. Before you know it you will be confessing them as overflow from the abundance in your heart.
The joyous reality, no matter how we came to be mothers, is that we have been blessed with a great project in raising God’s precious babies here on this earth. We are their first teachers and spiritual connections. So we cannot go down into what the world wants us to believe is fun and pleasurable and neglect that which God has given us to care for. That doesn’t mean that life is over. It just means that is it different, which brings me to actively pursuing joy in life. This was the easiest for me to come to terms with for me and the hardest to implement. I had been so used to the social aspects of life coming to me. I was very awkward in pursuing social interaction and initiating activities, even when I was the only participant. I learned very quickly however, that if I was going to have any sustainable joy in my life, I was going to have to make it a priority and take sustainable action.
Most of the things that you are “missing” can still be incorporated into your life on some level. You have to make it a commitment though and see it through to manifestation. Creativity and compromise are your friends in this. Things don’t have to be the same way they were in order to bring to same kind of joy, especially as you shift your perspective. Stephan Dolley, Jr. said, “A man who wants something will find a way; a man who doesn’t will find an excuse.” You have within you the power to make your life profoundly enjoyable right now, just as things are. Embrace that power and apply it liberally over every aspect of your existence. May joy abound and grace flow free in your life! Be Blessed!
1. Make a decision to regard your responsibilities as blessings and say it often. Repeat it until you believe it, then confess what you believe!
2. Find ways to incorporate some version of the things you’re “missing” into your life.
3. Reach out to others, either those who are in your situations and committed to living positively or those who have been where you are and set a positive example.
Surrendered to Him~
This post is linked up at Women Living Well! Come on over and join the party!~