“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” – Galations 6:2
Do you regularly find yourself staggering under a heavy load? Do you try to do it all on your own without any outside help? Do you think it is a sign of weakness to admit that you have more than you can handle and you could use a little help?
I have found myself in these situations listed above at one time or another and here are some things that I have learned in the process of trying to learn balance and shed some of my perfectionist ways.
Address my priorities – Sometimes I find that I am saying yes too much and need to say no more so that I can preserve that precious time with my family. Sometimes it means choosing between the good and the best. This year we had to eliminate 4H from our homeschool schedule. I really battled with this one. I wanted my kids to have the benefit of the things that 4H offers, but we just had so many great choices – homeschool co-op, book club, AWANA, karate, soccer, field trips and the list could go on. In the end, we haven’t even missed the activity this year because we have had so many other great opportunities. I have had to say no to joining the choir and teaching piano lessons for this season of my life. I feel that certain seasons of life require a different focus and I just can’t do it all.
Redistribute the load - As I have begun investing more time into my blog and as the kids are getting older and the homeschool planning and teaching are taking more of my time, I have found that the household chores seem to stack up. In January, we revisited the kid’s chores and had them begin to take over more of the daily chores to help free up some time for me. It has been such a blessing to know that if all else fails, the kitchen will be swept and the living room vacuumed daily when the kids are faithful to do their chores. They are helping with the dishes, putting away laundry and helping dad mow the lawn. Just teaching and assigning the kids a few simple chores that they can do well, have helped me keep my head above water. Some families are able to hire a mother’s helper or a maid. You could also consider swapping kids with another mom occasionally to give you some free time or time to catch up on your housework, etc.
Ask for help – This has been the hardest one for me. I like to feel like I am in control and can do it all myself. I don’t know if it stems from being a firstborn or is just an inborn characteristic of my personality but for as long as I can remember I have wanted to be independent and self-sufficient. These are good characteristics but can easily be taken too far. God meant for us to help each other, for us to bear one another’s burdens and for us to rely on Him for help, grace, sustenance, etc. Recently I found myself with several deadlines, church commitments, classes to teach at homeschool co-op and the household chores stacking up. My mom called and I just told her I was overwhelmed and had so much to do. She offered to take the kids for a couple of hours to help me out. I usually just say, “No, that is ok, I will get it done.” This time I took her up on her offer and I was amazed at how much I was able to get done in those two hours. I was so productive! It helped lift my discouraged mood and the kids had a blast with their grandmother. Just this week, I was feeling burdened by our abundance of laundry, dishes and clutter related to our recent vacation and camping trip. My hubby offered to take the kids to soccer practice and even though I usually go with the family and use that time to exercise at the park, I took him up on his offer and I stayed home and completed the laundry, vacuumed the house and cleaned all the dishes in a single hour! Learning to take help from others is hard and so is asking for help, but I feel like this is something that God is teaching me right now. It requires some humility and openness, but in the end, through asking for help, I was ministered to and have been able to gain perspective in my journey through life.
Do you identify with this post? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.