How To Stop Hanging On By a Thread
I am excited to have Jessica join us this week. Jessica is an award-winning author, she writes from the heart and she has a powerful message of healing and faith we all need to hear. She is a member of my blogging community and I am blessed each week to read her words. I know she will bless you, too!
Please welcome Jessica here today!
By Jessica Brodie
On the surface, all my dreams were coming true. But inside, I was about to crack.
This was my situation a few years ago. After an extraordinarily difficult period as a single mom, everything in life was better than I could ever imagine. I was now married to my very best friend, who also happens to be a super-handsome man of deep faith. My kids were doing well, I had a healthy relationship with my extended family, my career as a Christian journalist was thriving, my personal writing was taking off, and I had actually started cultivating a tribe of authentic female friends (strange new territory for me!). I was even making time for daily, intentional Bible study.
The trouble was that all these tremendously wonderful things started happening all at once, and very quickly I found myself so overcommitted that I barely knew what end was up.I was hanging on by a thread, and I didn’t know how to get past it. It was one thing to be feeling this way when life was rough, but I didn’t understand how I could possibly be struggling when things were finally so good. It felt wrong, almost like complaining about winning the lottery or a free trip to Disney World.
I was overextended and spread so thin there was no space left for me. And gentle nudges from loved ones about “learning to set boundaries” only left me frustrated. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to say “no” or establish boundaries—I definitely knew how to do that when it came to things I didn’t want to do or didn’t feel like God was calling me to do.
What I didn’t know was how to say “no” to the good things. How did I begin to prioritize importance when I had so many things I wanted to say “yes” to but only one me to go around?
One day in particular, I remember waking up crazy-early for devotional and Bible time, then working on my novel-in-progress, dropping the kids at school, rushing to coffee with a friend, dashing across town for a business meeting, writing a blog in my car, and eating lunch at my desk at my full-time day job while I worked on another writing project. I carried on two phone conversations with family members as I raced back across town to get my kids from school, then dashed home in time to slap a (not-very-good) dinner together before having to go to Wednesday night church. After getting the kids to bed way too late, I squeezed in my workout, then made myself stay up an hour and a half past my bedtime so I could have some quality time with my hubby.
All of these were good things I was trying to do—important. Priorities. And each of them involved an element of care: self-care, emotional care, physical care, spiritual care, relational care, you name it.
But trying to fit them all into one single day, day after day, had left me plumb exhausted. I was racing ninety miles an hour without room to catch my breath, not getting enough sleep, and then waking up and expecting to do it all over again. I felt like a tiny smear of butter on a dry piece of toast, nowhere near enough to cover everything. And yet I couldn’t figure out what to say “no” to, which good thing to put over which. Little things started to slip.I’m not sure how long it took before I had the inevitable breakdown.
Here’s what I realized—an overabundance of anything (even the good!) can do harm just as much as the bad can.
To put it bluntly: Too much good can be bad. CLICK TO TWEET
I think of it now as the cereal analogy. See, cereal is one of my favorite foods. I don’t mean junky, sugary cereal—I mean the nutritious stuff, with whole grains and high fiber and all that. However, if I let myself eat five giant bowls each morning of even the healthiest cereal out there, no matter how good it is for me, it’s still going to make me gain a bunch of weight I don’t need. It’s the same thing with my time—if I’m cramming my days with so much that I find I’m only pouring out instead of getting filled, then I’m going to max out. This is true even if it’s all stuff I enjoy and genuinely feel I need to do. I’m bound to run out of energy and be headed for burnout whether my time is spent doing things I love or things I don’t.
And it’s not just burnout that’s the danger. There’s a deeper soul reason to have a little breathing room in each day, too. God talks to me and I talk to God throughout the day. But if my schedule is maxed out 24-7, then I’m in control, not God. How does that allow God any room to move within me? How does that allow me to respond to His nudgings? CLICK TO TWEET
Part of a good emotionally healthy life, especially for me as a follower of Jesus, is achieving a semblance of balance.But balance absolutely does not mean that every day needs to have every element in order to achieve balance. Balance can be spread throughout my week.
Learning that has been a game-changer.
For instance, the priorities things in my life include the following categories (in no particular order):
· Friends and Extended Family
· Health and Wellness
· Creative Fun
A well-balanced life doesn’t mean every day features each of these categories equally. I might focus on God-husband-children daily, plus one or two others. Prioritizing friends might be one or two days a week, while on the others I might prioritize exercise, or I might even combine a couple of categories (one of my favorite things is to do nature photography while hiking... “health and wellness” and “creative fun” in one!). And through it all, I make sure to allow some mental and physical “wiggle room”—adequate time to breathe and focus on what God is saying to me
Today, I’m still just as busy, and some weeks I still feel like I’m running on empty. That’s when I stop, reassess, start scaling back my schedule—and breathe, resting in the knowledge that whatever the day might bring, God’s got me. CLICK TO TWEET
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian author, journalist, editor, and writing coach with a faith blog, Shining the Light, at JessicaBrodie.com.
About This Community
Don't we all want a little peace? My heart for this community is to provide just that - a needed refuge from all the burdens that weigh us down, some encouragement and inspiration to keep us weary travelers moving forward on our journeys, and some practical advice to help each of us navigate the challenges of life and relationships. Whether in our parenting, our marriages, our faith, or the broken places in our hearts, this place is for anyone who dares to reach beyond the hopelessness that surrounds us and embrace a lifestyle of emotional abundance and peace!
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I've discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with myself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891