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For my fellow busy people

August 25, 2014

Hello fellow busy people,

Man….life is busy huh? Aren’t you tired? I am. But doesn’t it sometimes feel like we have no choice to but to be busy. We have responsibilities right? Children to care for, jobs to do, houses to clean, community stuff, friends to be with…..just so much to do. So we caffeinate and keep going. This is the age of Starbucks. When we are too tired to keep up with this “go, go, go” world, there is our friendly neighborhood Starbucks to crack us out so we don’t have to slow down. We have anxiety, depression, mental breaks, heart attacks, strokes, and a ton of other health problems because we keep going.

But what if we just stopped?

Rest.

What if we rested when we were tired?

But we can’t, right? Because of all of those really important things that we have to do, we have to just keep going.

Are those things really important?

Here are some really important things that I can think of that I NEED to do today:

1. Breathe. This is a really important one. I HAVE to do this. Crazy thing is that when I get to wrapped up in the other things that I don’t have to do, I forget to do this. I am in busy, panic mode and not really breathing. I need to breathe.

2. Eat and drink.

3. Care for my kids. This is one of those responsibilities that is real. I have to do this one. I need to make sure they breathe, eat and drink too.

That is a pretty short and doable “To Do” list. I’d have time to take a nap when I needed to with this list.

The other stuff that I do comes from a desire to keep up with the Joneses or an inflated idea of how important I am in making the world turn. I feel like I need to:

1. Make $ and I always need to make more. What I have never seems to be enough because there is always more to buy.

2. Keep a house that impresses others. That is just silly. I am a terrible housekeeper and decorator, but even if I was wonderful at this, there is always someone better. I’ll never be good enough at this to stop stressing.

3. Keep a perfectly fit body. I live in San Diego County. This is the land of beautiful people; people who can have four kids and flat abs. No matter how fit I get, there will always be a mama next to me that is fitter. Vanity is a stupid thing to stress about.

4. Volunteer in my community, work, church, etc. Volunteering is wonderful and can be a source of great joy, but not if you are tired. If you are tired, don’t volunteer. You need to cut back, not take on more. Say no.

5. Taking care of people who are not your children. There are people in this world who need help. I get that you want to help them and this might be the hardest one for me to say no to. And this is the most profound lesson that I have gotten this summer: You can say no to people. You are allowed to say “Sorry, but I can’t help you.” That is almost hard to write because for my whole life I have felt that you need to help those in need at any cost to yourself. Here is the deal: helping people, like volunteering, can be a source of joy for you. It can raise your seratonin levels and help you feel connected with the human race. Helping others is a GOOD thing. But when helping others is draining you, you can say no and here is why: You are not Jesus. You are not God. You are not the one that will save this world. If you say no to helping someone, do you really think that God will just let His precious child go without help? He won’t. Faith is the reason you can say no when you need to. Other people are God’s responsibility, not yours. He gets the credit for saving them; not you. Be kind, help when you can, but get rid of that Jesus complex that puts the responsibility of the world’s wellbeing on your shoulders. You were never meant to carry that load.

My fellow stress cases: I love you. I know how you feel and the anxiety that you carry through your days. I want you to feel light, instead of burdened. I want to feel light too.

Have you seen that movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey?

YesMan2008poster

I think about that movie a lot because saying yes has never been a problem for me. Saying no on the other hand is really hard. Saying no means missing out or disappointing someone.

Saying no can also be a way of saying yes though.

I went back to work three days after my daughter was born. I thought I didn’t need rest because I was strong. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is the kind of lame slogan I could see running my life back then. After a month of working full time with my infant daughter, I started cracking. I stayed up all night crying, my body was shutting down, mentally I was a mess….I was not strong enough. I had to admit that I was suffering from a mean case of Post Partum Depression and took six weeks off. When at my lowest point, I heard some words of wisdom that have stuck with me:

“When you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.”

By saying yes to the money and working full time, I had said no to laying in bed with my infant daughter and soaking in the joy of her new baby smell and having hours to stroke her soft skin. I had said no to bonding with a precious gift. The money wasn’t worth that. Now, when I think about saying yes to volunteering, working more, etc. I try to be aware of what I am saying no to. Am I giving up leisurely back yard reading sessions, beach days, or moments to just snuggle my kids? Is the sacrifice worth it? Just think about it when you want to say yes. Weigh out what you are saying no to and recognize that if you have plans to lay in bed all day reading a book, that is still important. You are allowed to choose to relax. Indeed, God set aside a Sabbath day because He created us to need rest and moments with the divine are usually found in the quiet times. Rest is IMPORTANT.

My fellow busy people, You are precious just because you are and you do not need to Do; I am giving you permission right now to just Be. I am going to work on that today too.

We’re all in this together.

Love, Amy

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