If I were your enemy, I'd make everything seem urgent, as if it's all yours to handle. I'd bog down your calendar with so many expectations you couldn't tell the difference between what's truly important and what's not. Guilty for ever saying no to your children, trying to keep everything under control, when really you're just being controlled by it all (including at times, your children as well). If I could keep you busy enough, you'd be too overwhelmed to even realize how much work YOU ARE SAVING ME FROM DOING! ~
I am not going to lie. I don't feel like writing today. I know each and every one of you have been there. Doing something you don't want to do but know (or at least feel) like it is an absolute necessary. Now, I am lucky for the fact that I love writing, but even that still has me wondering if I should take this week off from it....
But since I have started I am going to continue and if for some reason there is not a new post next week, you will know why. I simply needed to rest my writer's mind. Until then, though, lets get started with this week's strategy. Did the opening war strategy hit you in your gut? Did you recognize it as if I were talking directly to you? If so I pray this week's post gives you hope and a new strategy of your own. If I had to guess, it would be every single mom out there has a hard time fighting off the attacks of "busyness". Our motherly nature to nurture our young is overwhelming. Even in most animals the case is still the same. Never to have time to rest, always needing to provide; whether food, shelter, entertainment and the list goes on and on. So how does the devil get us to put our times of rest aside?
First, he will lay on the pressure... that's it! The one and only form of attack. Pressure to do for our children what they might be able to do for themselves or even to pressure to accept that they learn that their daily lives being full of joy depends on mommy having some down time. There are sub categories to the pressure for sure. Because as we all know it's not only our children that are pressuring us, but a whole assembly line of them. Pressures from our husbands, our bills, our family members, our friends, our priorities, our self image, our future, our homes, and on and on and on it goes. So to make it easier lets break the pressure into three subcategories.
One, is the pressure to be the perfect parent. This is the strongest one in most of our lives currently, and I stress currently. Our children adore us, love us unconditionally when they are young. But their constant demands for attention, affection, knowledge and even discipline can drain us as mothers. We literally can play with them on the floor for an hour, get up to go to the bathroom for two minutes and they are attacking us at the door like it has been a week since we acknowledged them! Some days it seems like a losing battle with the "more, more, more" demands they give us. And the devil has no problem playing on our nature. He will make us feel beyond guilty, like horrible mothers if we tell them to go away while we are in the bathroom. Thoughts enter our mind like, "I'm selfish, I'm hardhearted" OR "they wont always want to bother me when I am in the bathroom." You know what? GOOD!!! There is a point, no matter how brief when we need to let our children know they can't have 100% of mommy's time.
Next, is the pressure to be the perfect person to everyone else. This goes for our husbands, parents, siblings, friends, bosses, even church family. Every time we choose yes to something it cost us. Whether it be energy, time, happiness (note that I didn't say joy), money, or devotion. It doesn't matter, everything in this life has a price. When we feel the guilt of the word "yes" play on our hearts, we are accepting the cost, whatever it may be, willingly. My father is a great example of this. He has a horrible time saying "no" to anyone. It can get so bad that he has to cancel or in some cases even lie as to why something didn't work out. The devil uses this pressure tactic on him so much that it not only drains him, but hurts people around him. It cost him honor to his word, relationships, and most importantly, rest. When we can not put our priorities in order, and one of those has to be rest, we become slaves to our lives instead of our lives working for US.
Last, the pressure to do it all. Okay fellow mommies, let's be honest. Do you...pay the bills, clean the house, take out the trash, make the important phone calls, primarily raise the children, help your husband, do the laundry, do the dishes, make the plans, do the grocery shopping, and insert anything else you like? If you said no to even some of these go home and give your husband a big kiss and say thank you and pat yourself on the back for have the self control do let him. We are under SO MUCH pressure to do it all!!! It NEVER in the Bible anywhere says we are to do it all by ourselves. Mankind has needed help in everything from the beginning of time. Even Adam couldn't do it by himself so God gave him Eve to work together, to share in everything. And don't think for one second Eve could have done it without Adam. Why do you think the devil was so sly in making sure to tempt Eve? Had the devil tempted both of them together the outcome could have been very different. Accountability can count for everything. But because we do live in this fallen world we feel our busyness can be turned into a badge of honor. It is why we are so rarely satisfied with where we are or what we have, always fearing we won't be enough. Well guess what? We are being bullied by a liar. Intimidated by the enemy's cruel application of pressure against us. But not anymore!
Okay, so lets learn how to fight back. The first step is actually going to be different then all the others. Remember that the outline for my series came from the book "Fervent" as well as the quotes (for the most part, I did tweek them to target us mothers specifically). But this change is because these steps are involved, detailed, and invasive. They will make you really look into your life, not only the lit up places but also the dark places.
Step 1: Take Inventory
We need to take inventory of the pressures in our lives. We can do this by simply checking our schedule for patterns where we are being enslaved to things that are not truly critical or as indispensable as they seem. This could be too may activities for the kids throughout the week as one example. If we are so pressured to give our kids these activities but then sit there and are short tempered and irritable on those days what messages are we sending our children? We need to check our motivations as to why we are saying yes to so many things. Check to make sure the places or people who overloaded our time are not working their way into a status of idolatry. Check to make sure we aren't trying to keep up with the Jones'. The devil had no problem enslaving us to GOOD things, in fact he prefers it because it is harder for us to recognize. So don't let the pressures of life become idols. Here's how we know if we are in danger of that:
1. The pressure to preform, for example, often means we've made an idol of our reputation.
2. The pressure to maintain a ridiculously jam-packed schedule becomes an idol of self-reliance.
3. The pressure to maintain an impressive standard of living becomes the idol of achievement.
4. The pressure to take on everything in which our children show even the slightest interest becomes our children being the idol!
***ANYTHING CAN BECOME AN IDOL, GOOD OR BAD, JUSTIFIED OR NOT, GOOD INTENTIONS OR NOT***
Psalm 119:36-37 Direct my heart toward your written instructions rather than getting rich in underhanded ways. Turn me eyes away from worthless things. Give me a new life in your ways.
Step 2: Pray
Now that we know where our reasons for lack of time to rest are coming from it is time to turn to our Father. We must ask of Him to lay upon us real discernment because some of these determinations can be subtle and hard to spot. A free woman (whether a wife, daughter or mother) possesses the God-given ability to know when He is truly asking her to do something - as well as the God-given ability to know when He is NOT. But it requires fervent prayer to give us this power.
Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Step 3: Applying It
We can now discern when we need to work and when we need to rest. We can now begin to give obedience to our Father by resting so that he can further mold us into the mothers He called us to be. A free one. A rested one. A contented one. The devil may get the best of us sometimes, but he will still walk away with some new, deep battle scars to remember who he is messing with. But that can not happen unless we actively start resting. Mark it in our calendars. Tell people when they ask for something, "I would love to, but I have a meeting I have to go to." because we do! We have a meeting with God where all he wants is for us to rest by his side. It can be something as simple as a nap. Seek out the rest, learn to crave it. Teach our children to want it. This week I have implemented a new thing with our children. I have already implemented quiet time with our children, but they don't always like it. So now I tell them the quiet time is so they can talk to God and it's quiet enough for them to hear Him. They can still play in their rooms but it gives them a new sense of how to talk to God and how they can hear Him better.
James 1:25 However, the person who continues to study God's perfect laws that make people free and who remain committed to them will be blessed. People like that don't merely listen and forget; they actually do what God's law says.
Alright, I know this was a very long one. But it was so important and I needed to get it to you. Two more to go and we will conclude this series!
Psalm 23: 1-3 The Lord is my shepherd. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He RESTORES my soul ~
*** URGENT/ATTENTION: DUE TO WEEBLY'S NEW ALGORITHM CHANGES I NO LONGER CAN SEE VIEWS UNLESS THE PERSON HAS COOKIES TURNED ON. I AM ALSO NOT SEEING COMMENTS EITHER. UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, SO I CAN CATER TO MY READERS, PLEASE CLICK ON ONE OF THE BELOW PLATFORMS AND LEAVE YOUR FEEDBACK THERE. LET ME KNOW HOW YOU LIKED THE POST, IF IT WAS TOO LONG OR TOO SHORT, WHATEVER IT IS. I AM RELYING ON YOU, AS MY READER, TO LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WANTING TO READ SINCE I CAN NOT LONGER SEE IT FOR MYSELF. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! ***