You May be Forgetting to Do This One Thing
*Guest Post by Lea Ann Garfias
I have been overwhelmed lately. Too much traveling, too much excitement, too much staying up late, too much running around doing fun things with friends, too much good food, too much crowds . . . it’s all just too much of all the good things. Every time I say, “That’s it, no more!” something else comes up, and I can’t miss out, so the cycle continues.
I’m “too much” tired now.
And when the homeschool mom gets too much tired, everything unravels quickly. It’s an episode of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie kind of unraveling, but with horror music in the background and horrified faces on the children. I know you know what I’m talking about. You may be living out a scene from that story today, yourself.
When I’m unraveled, I try to focus on the basics, the essentials for life:
- Are we eating right (actually, am I eating, or rushing past meals screaming, “I’m late!”)?
- Are we sleeping enough (or am I tossing and turning while the TV is on, moaning about how tired I am)?
- Do we have clean clothes (not just piles of clothes stored on chairs)?
- Am I picking up the clutter (that shouts into my brain you are a failure!) and vacuuming?
- Am I looking into my children’s eyes when we talk (not just past them at the clock or todo list)?
- Am I holding my husband for a moment and taking a few extra seconds on that kiss?
Food, clothing, shelter, and love. These are the essentials for life, without which we cannot survive. So no matter how extraordinarily packed our homeschool and family calendars become, we have to put these ordinary things first or everything unravels.
But God tells us that there are two other things even more essential for our spiritual life, without which our souls shrivel up and starve: love God and love one another (Matthew 22:36-40). Literally everything God ever said to mankind is summed up in those two commands. It’s all we have to do every day of our lives.
In John 15, Jesus takes this principle a step further. Starting in verse 9, He reminds us that love for one another (our family and our friends) comes directly from our relationship with God. Abiding in Him is the key to loving each other. Which we know, but wait a minute while I show you what this has to do with unraveling and racing through schedules.
This things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you.
– John 15:11,12
When I’m tired, when I’m frantic, when I’m overwhelmed, my temptation is to look at calendar (what can I get out of?) and my todo list (what tasks should I or should I not tackle today?). Christ calls me to put down the papers and smart apps and look at the people. Love my children, love my spouse, love my friends.
Because that is the only path back to joy! God’s joy, the fruit of the Spirit, will blossom and grow within my own heart when I live out Christ’s love to those around me. His joy will remain in me, and my joy will be full!
[Tweet “His joy will remain in me, and my joy will be full! @lagarfias”]
So this morning when I awoke with that desperate clenching in my gut from stress, when my todo list began screaming at me before my eyes even opened, I took a deep breath and prayed for joy. I spent time in prayer, ate a good breakfast, did some light housework, then took my children on an outing. I set a text to a friend that I was praying for her and a funny photo to another one with similar pressures. I began intentionally looking people (even strangers) in the eye and making conversation, looking for ways to encourage someone else. I found ways to reach out to others in love and encouragement.
And as God worked His love in those around me, I once again found joy.
Connect with Lea Ann:
Described as “the friend I never knew I had been deeply missing,” Lea Ann Garfias offers women hope and understanding in the midst of motherhood’s darkest struggles. Lea Ann’s sunny wit and biblical wisdom combine to encourage others. Her frank sincerity regarding her own struggles and failures resonates with those desperate for real-life examples of daily faith.
For over a decade, Lea Ann has written humorous and informational articles online and in Christian magazines on Christian living and homeschooling. Drawing from her experience as a ministry leader, working mom, wife, and homeschool teacher, she shares humorous stories, devotional meditations, and informational resources to further women’s influence.
In her new book Rocking Ordinary: Holding it Together with Extraordinary Grace, Lea Ann starts the difficult conversations about success, failure, and the disappointments of Christian womanhood. The companion Small Group Study includes a DVD and leader's guide is available to facilitate discussion on these crucial topics. Through these resources, Lea Ann is helping thousands of women to reach out effectively to those around them.