All my life I’ve been the achiever.
The poster child for all things efficient, perfectionistic and shiny.
And while this mentality might lead to things like 4.0’s and checking items off to-do lists, it leaves little room for people, processing and just downright resting.
My bent has always been the task, not the relationship.
How can this be as useful as possible?
How many things can I accomplish this way?
How can I do this thing more creatively and savvy than ANYONE?
Yep. Those are the thoughts (and torments) that pace around in a type-A, firstborn head. Driven by approval and further approval, it’s the drug that doesn’t ever let you get high enough.
Once you get those pats on the back for good grades, you wonder what else you can achieve. The perfect friend circle? Body? Façade of a life?
The lie is this: if I can do enough, strive enough, reach just a bit farther, THEN, then you’ll arrive.
And what a load, right?
I mean, who the heck feels satisfied, rested and freaking WHOLE by being the energizer bunny with good hair? I mean, really.
Efficiency doesn’t make up for lost moments with those we love most, and a clean house cannot possibly soothe a weary soul.
And I buy into them often. Nearly 32 years of it, folks. You, too?
Maybe if I work just a little harder, push through just one.more.time…
And so I woke up this morning feeling grouchy and weary and all the things that are so not becoming.
I snapped at my kids, wished for a different life (rolling my eyes at myself now) and felt like the pressure was insurmountable.
People often say to me, either online or in person: “I just don’t know how you do it all!”
Lemme let you in on my little secret: I don’t.
These past few months have been more neglecting my kids than not, and although I attempt to be transparent, real and authentic via social media, apparently that all isn’t coming through. There’s still a belief floating around that Laura Loewen always looks cute, is a fabulous wife and a great mom, nearly 24/7, just taking it all in stride.
Fooey. No one is that amazing. Certainly not anyone I know.
So here we are: trying desperately to choose another way and literally re-wire routines, habits and processes that have been a lifetime in the making. I’m trying to lay it down, surrender. More of You, Lord, less of me. I’m having to remind myself that my kids’ childhoods won’t wait for my to-do list. Maybe it’s time rethink the whole dang thing.
I’m not one to have the intellectual concept of what needs to be priority mixed up, it’s the actual living out of those things that keeps me in the tizzy.
This morning at the gym, I was reading Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist (highly recommend. Click on title to buy on Amazon), and a part hit me so flipping hard.
I don’t want to miss the actual fabric of the interior of my life and the beautiful children growing up right this second in my own home because I’m working to please people somewhere out there. I’m afraid I’m missing it. I’m afraid I’m doing it wrong, and I want to know that I can change. – SN
And wouldn’t you know, God, in His ultimate goodness and love for me, made the music swell at just the moment I needed: listening to Bethel’s instrumental album, pedaling calories and grumpiness away on that stationary bike, I heard the notes of a song I know well. So let go, my soul, and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His Name.
And that very moment, God was with me, just as He always is, His presence strong, real and felt.
It was like He was whispering, Oh, sweet girl. You can trust in Me. I can carry this, too.
So I held back hot tears not wanting to look like the total gym-psycho (approval-junkie in progress, friends) and let out a Sarah Braverman teary half-smile.
The Lord knows me. Me!
And in our current life situation, I still have to be and do, I’m just resolved that there’s a different way.
So today, I started slowly, the only way I really knew how: I looked my three little people in the eyes, asked questions and really tried to hear their hearts.
I shut the radio off after the gym to listen to whatever Aiden wanted to talk about. I left my phone in the car when we picked up Charlotte from AM Kindergarten, pushed her on the swings and heard her stories about the bus and recess. When Landon came home, I sat down (that’s rare for me), plopped him on my lap and had a conversation that needed to be had.
I’m tired of running this race with no end.
And I want my life to be characterized by present-ness and availability. Not for those who think they know me or my story, but for those underneath this cozy Denver roof.