This writing is about me. My struggles. My weaknesses. Maybe you share some of them too, but please don't let my "issues" be your issues! I'm sharing them because once I put it out in the universe, I have accountability to improve upon it. For example, I was out shopping with my girls and trying to convince a particular child to buy a particular pair of jeans that she wasn't interested in when my sweet baby sister reminded me "Ummm.... Your blog Rhonda! Remember how you said you weren't going to do that anymore. Convince kids to buy clothes they didn't like." (insert the slap your forehead emoji girl right here!) I love that. I mean in the moment I was like...Hey! This ain't your battle sister, but she was exactly right and the pair of jeans were put back.
I need that kind of accountability in my life.
"Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life."
I'm in the midst of a Bible Study about not quitting. I've had mixed feelings about it from the start. I really don't like the idea of "not quitting." I mean, sure there are tons of things that you shouldn't quit, but there are also plenty of bad habits that that you should quit. Or seasons of life that you quit one thing to focus on another. I am becoming a much bigger fan of the word "NO" so that we can have peace in our lives. Even saying NO to good things. Too many good things/activities are no longer a good thing when you are ran ragged! Some of the things I have "quit" have been the greatest decisions I've made. I am also SO thankful for all the times I did NOT quit too!
I often have a really super hard time giving myself permission to quit things, but in my "quit quitting book" she talks about guarding your heart from the verse above. I've never really understood it until she gave an example in her book. She talked about giving herself permission to unfollow people on Facebook who cause her heart to not be well.
I don't know why, but that struck me as being so helpful. Nicki Koziarz says in her book A Woman Who Doesn't Quit "As we learn to guard our hearts from things we don't need, we will be able to give others the things we do need." For example, if you get all crazy reading someone's facebook update and it causes you to snap at your own sweet babies, without you even realizing why you are snapping at them, maybe it is time to give yourself a break from them.
This challenges me to think about what I need to give up in my life to guard my own heart. Who or What can I give up or take a break from so that I can LOVE my people well? I'm not saying give up on people, or totally quit social media or TV or the news, but I am saying that sometimes we need to allow ourselves space so that we can focus on the things that matter most.
One thing I've been forced to give up is watching the news on repeat. It can consume my feelings and emotions and leaves me in a state of fear, anxiety, worry, and anger. It is incredibly hard to have the patience and energy needed to run our little tribe with love and joy and peace and patience and gentleness when my mind is consumed with things I cannot control. It makes me impatient, snappy, disengaged, not present, and without a sense of calm that I need to love my babies. I'm not saying don't be wise and informed. I'm not saying don't advocate for things that you believe in. We must be wise about the world we live in. But we have to exercise limits and boundaries. Take a pause from the crazy world outside our home so that we don't end up being part of the problem. If it doesn't have that effect on you, and you enjoy it, keep watching, but if you are a momma to littles, consider what affects it has on your day-to-day mothering.
Are there relationships outside of your home that bring you down? Consume gigantic amounts of your time? Leave you feeling scattered or drained? Or jealous? Or like you are falling behind? Not enough? Do you know how to be KIND to everyone you encounter, but have boundaries with people so that you can love well? Do you know it's okay to say, NO. Not now. Not today. Maybe tomorrow, but today, I just can't do it. It really is OKAY to say NO! I sincerely appreciate people who tell me NO. I don't want people to do things for me or with me that they really don't want to do or don't have time for. It gives me permission to say No sometimes too without feeling any guilt or "they won't like me anymore if I say No!"
Is it that you are more committed to work than family? You know you can likely be replaced at your job tomorrow, but no one can fill your shoes as momma bear. No one. I have been guilty of spending more time than necessary on my job in order to please people that I am not responsible for. There are plenty of careers that will gladly accept every waking hour of your day if you allow it to happen. Learn how to say, "My babies need me now, I've gotta get home" when you can.
Is it your phone? TV? Social Media? Do you have boundaries? My goal for February has been to only hop on to any social media after dinner, with a few exceptions, and it has done WONDERS for my mind and mothering!!! Holy Moly! It's pretty unreal how much of an effect that has on us without us even realizing it!
Is it regret? Are you stuck in the past? Confess. Make right what you can. Accept what you cannot change or undo. ACCEPT the free gift of forgiveness. Let someone help you replace your thoughts of regret with thoughts of gratitude and give yourself permission to live free of your mistakes.
Momma friends - the bible says, "Be series. Be Alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour." 1 Peter 5:8
Are you feeling "devoured"? Miserable? Overwhelmed? Unhappy? Satan wants to steal your motherhood. Your marriage. Your joy. He'd be thrilled to have you on his team.
I list all those scenarios and questions above because they are each things that have stolen my motherhood, time and time again. The older I get, the more choosier I am trying to be about what consumes my time. I'm learning to make decisions that help me have peace. That help me with my purpose in life, which is to love well.
I urge you to "Guard your Heart." Notice when you feel all twisted up on the inside. Think about who/what is causing it? What do you need to do about it? What boundaries do you need to set in your life so that you can give your marriage and motherhood all of you've got? What can you do today to have more Joy in the Chaos?
At some point in this day, even if for only 10 minutes, Turn off you phone, your watch, the TV, the computer. Pray and ask God to clear your mind and keep you present and focused on the child or even the spouse in front of you.
With your kids you can...
*play Old Maid, Uno, Slap Jack
* go for a walk and hold hands
*go for a bike ride
*read a book or a chapter of a book
*work a puzzle
* make something with blocks
Try to spend more time doing what you love with the people that you love. No one's tomorrow is promised, so we really have to be proactive to make the BEST of TODAY!