In visiting with a friend on the phone the other night, we got to talking about the fullness of life. Not necessarily the full, satisfying, rewarding aspects of life, but the "one more task", "one more activity", "one more errand to run", "one more meal to make" aspects of life. The parts of life that really wear me out!
The general consensus was that this full-to-the-brim with a-little-running-over characteristic of life might just be my new norm. It's inevitable that our four kids will be going in any number of directions - even if we are intentional about keeping our family activities to a minimum. It's just pack and parcel to the life of a busy family.
While this realization doesn't really change my situation, it does change my perspective a bit. I may not be able to carve away any excess busyness, but I can be more relaxed and go with the flow a bit more readily. I have been diving into my morning without consulting God on His plans and that is like starting the day already partly underwater. If, instead, I start my day with His big picture of what needs to happen and if I am realistic about whether or not all of my plans will fit into the allotted hours of the day, then I am more prone to feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of the evening. That is, as opposed to a sense of being swamped. Submerged. Sinking.
Recently Ashley illustrated this beautifully. And with a good amount of splash!
A few weeks ago, we spent the evening at the pool. My husband's athletic club hosts a family swim night on Fridays and we try to take advantage of it as often as we can ... if only to keep the kids' gills moist.
During our time at the pool, Norah was practicing swimming from one side of the pool to the other, Lydia was leaping into the pool from the stairs with her foam noodle tucked under her arms, Aaron was chucking the sponge ball back and forth with Brett. And Ashley was "treadmilling".
Little Le-Le parked herself along one wall where she couldn't reach the bottom. With a quick, "Watch, Mom!" she would let go of the wall and begin running in place - arms flailing, legs kicking, head bobbling and body sinking. For about 1.7 seconds she would frantically churn the water and then as her head went under she would seize the edge of the pool again, turn to me and proudly shout, "I'm treadmilling!"
Of course, Norah was quick to correct her.
"It's treading water, Ashley. Treading. Water. Not treadmilling."
That didn't dampen Ashley's enthusiasm. She simply turned back to her corner of the pool and did her best to keep her head above water. So very much like her Mommy.
I think that might be one of the best pictures of my life recently. I'm in the deep-end of a pool-full of life's demands and I am running in place, expending a lot of energy, not really going anywhere and still feeling like my head is on the verge of going under. glub, glub, glub ...
If, on the other hand, I were to recognize that I can't touch the bottom of my day's demands, that God is my Wall (Psalm 91:2) Who will stay right within my reach, and if I allow His River of living water (John 7:37-39) to flow through me, I might be able to relax enough to actually tread water and keep my head up!
I don't think my list of "to-do's" is going to change. If anything, there is the potential for our daily schedule to get a whole lot deeper. But my outlook can be different.
Here's to swimming instead of sinking!
31 Days of Mom in the Midst
Day 1: Mom in the Midst
Day 2: My Button is Lame
Day 3: Splendidly Lavish
Day 4: Keeping My Head Above Water