small things #45 ... onions
I’ve described my daily plate-spinning, multiple-hat-wearing, here-and-there-running situation as over-committed. Or a lesson in dangerous multi-tasking. Or an example of almost treading water. But God gave me a new image the other day.
That of an onion.
Yep. An onion.
Each layer of that onion is a role that I play. A job that I tackle. A responsibility that I have accepted. Something I have said, “yes” to.
Each layer is a good thing. (For the most part.) I like helping in my kids’ classrooms. I enjoy volunteering at church. I love when the laundry is clean. Getting dinner on the table on time is a triumph.
But each layer has it’s own challenges and demands.
I can’t be in three places at once. Trust me, I’ve tried.
I can only do my part, not anybody else’s. Even if I’m tempted.
The laundry will never be 100% clean. Unless we run around naked.
Dinner time is “Piranha-Time” - people are hungry and tired. And sometimes crying.
When I encounter the sting of my limitations, a bit of my joy falters. These individual callings begin to look a lot more like obligations. Tasks I have to get done, people I have to take care of, jobs I have to complete. Whether I like it or not.
And then there are the layers that I shouldn’t even have.
Layers that I have added to my life by my failure to say, “no”. Layers that God never intended me to have wrapped around me. Layers that are overwhelming and cumbersome because they aren’t supposed to be mine.
What if I decided to peel off a layer? Decided to cast off a responsibility that clings to me? What would I find underneath? Most likely another layer. And another.
How many layers of should’s and better’s and ought to’s would I have to strip off before I found the first layer of I want to? The first layer of this brings me joy?
I fear there would be a good number of onion skins littering the floor. Perhaps half the onion would be peeled away before I found the layer that is closest to my heart. That layer of my life in which I am at peace, satisfied, joy-filled. I would still be facing the many tasks of life, but with a better perspective and a more positive attitude.
All those layers. Layer upon layer upon layer. Layers that make up what I do.
But not necessarily who I am.
I need God’s help in peeling back these skins to find who I truly am. Not the volunteering, mopping, chauffeuring go-go-gaget mom, but me.
Only then can I embrace the roles He has made me for and accomplish them with passion and purpose. And a smile.
Now. Can someone please pass me a tissue?
Onions ... they always make me cry. But sometimes those bleary tears help us see more clearly.