I wouldn’t say that life with two under two feels like drowning, but it’s easy to get tired treading water. This is hard to admit, though, especially when you’re in survival mode and focused on your kids more than yourself.
I just admitted this truth to myself last month. The past two years have been tough. Without an endless budget and available family, the days turned into weeks and I found myself gasping for air. I felt like I was running a marathon and had just left the starting line while everyone else was finishing.
Have you ever felt like that? You don’t even have to answer because I already know.
I know you’ve felt this way because life is hard, life is busy, life can be unmerciful and ungracious. There are ups and downs, mountains and valleys, and it often feels like life is one long valley. And that’s okay.
It’s okay to recognize the difficulty, acknowledge the darkness, even sit in sorrow, but don’t linger there. Don’t let the valley cloud your vision and affect your faith.
Unfortunately I started to linger in my valley. I started to affirm the fact that life was hard too often, and neglected the Truth that the Lord was enough. I hurt myself, my relationships, and my children by checking out, by choosing to focus on the valley I was in rather than the light peeking over the mountain in front of me.
Armed with B-vitamins and new perspective, I’ve been focusing on making the small moments count, and it’s working. I haven’t “fixed” anything, but it’s working because the process of making those moments meaningful is the end goal. Living with purpose and fulfilling my call in the right here and right now is what counts as it “working.” Not being super-mom at the end of the day, or the next big author, or the best neighbor on the block. Results mean nothing – obedience to my call means everything.
And right now this looks like paying attention – to my husband who should be my first priority, to my children who are my full responsibility, to my family and friends who God has given me to serve, to my neighbors who God has placed in my life for me to reach faithfully, to the strangers that cross my path during the day. This looks like a lot, and it feels like a lot, and the pressure to live missionally and purposefully and intentionally and successfully starts to weigh on my chest, and then I’m back in my valley with clouded vision and no motivation.
I know you’ve felt that way too, so let’s look at it differently. Don’t look at the big picture, look at the small one.
I opened the refrigerator this morning and we were out of milk. Thankfully, there’s a grocery store less than a mile from my house, so I strapped the kids in the stroller and we set off to get milk and a 70 cent blueberry bagel. I pushed play on one of my favorite podcasts as we headed out the door. An hour later we were back home with a gallon of what we needed and so much more.
I moved, I listened, we soaked up the sun, we said hi to our neighbors, we practiced our growing vocabulary on the way as we identified birds, trees, the grass and the sky. We engaged strangers as we checked out at the store, squeezed our double-wide stroller through aisles, and ordered a treat.
It may seem silly to spend an hour on such a trivial errand, but look at what we accomplished? The gallon of milk wasn’t our goal. The blueberry bagel wasn’t even our prize.
Doing, going, listening, talking, walking, sharing, being. These are the moments of obedience to our call that “work.” These are the intentional actions that make up the work we do in the valley. It seems so menial, but when your perspective changes, doesn’t picking up a gallon of milk at the store look so beautiful?
What looked beautiful to you today? Did you have a beautiful errand?
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