“The only true gift is a portion of thyself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have started to notice something about myself in recent years. Relax? It’s not necessarily something I know how to do. From one job to two, schoolwork to ministry, kids to housework, to being a wife…well, there isn’t much time to relax.
When I do find some time to relax with a nice, long, hot bath and a good book, I still can’t relax my mind, or sit still long enough to finish a page of any book. All the need-to-dos, have-to-remembers, and must-get-dones all crash down on my time of relaxation.
And, if life does actually slow down for a while, if obligations, engagements, and deadlines finally become few-I quickly fill it up with something else. Telling myself I thrive on this crazy!
But, while I may-it doesn’t mean my family does!
Because the one place we should be able to relax. The one place my kids should feel safe and a little less crazy is at home.
The place that can often be the least relaxing.
Sure, the neatly folded blankets. The books and games stacked neatly in the corner. The freshly made beds. The neatly folded towels, and squeaky clean bathroom sinks. They may all look relaxing, but they came at a price.
They all happened while I was thriving on my crazy need-to-dos, have-to-remembers, and must-get-dones. While I was making home the least relaxing place to be.
“The flood of demands will consume us if we don’t take time to let God right our perspective, reduce our stress level, and whisper His tender truths of love in our ear.” Lysa TerKeurst, Am I Messing Up My Kids?
And, in those of my kids.
“Mommy, will you play hide and seek with us?” Comes the tiny sing-song voice of a little blue-eyed boy.
And, I’ll admit-my first thought was-Oh, God. No. I have to cook dinner. I have to remember to send those cards. I must get that load of laundry done.
But, then it hit me. All those things. The crazy things I thrive on certainly don’t help my kids thrive. And, I made a vow.
I vowed to let the laundry go, and play hide and seek.
I vowed to forget about the blankets on the floor, and help make that fort.
I vowed to push the deadlines back a little to read one more bedtime story.
I vowed to forget the need-to-dos, have-to-remembers, and must-do-nows, to play another game of Memory, share a page in a coloring book, or help put up the dinosaur park fence.
I vowed to relax and thrive on their crazy for a bit.
“Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked “Who are these people with you?” “These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied. Genesis 33:5
The three God has graciously given me.
And, even after I played hide and seek not once, but twenty times. I am once again reminded of this as I open my laptop and work on another assignment, and hear my husband say, “Are you going to go fishing with us?”
Thriving on their crazy. Even if it is a little late for a weeknight. Even if it means my crazy to-do list keeps me up a little later tonight.
Doing what they find relaxing. Doing the things that remind me my time is precious. That my children are a gift, and that sometimes relaxing is not doing all the things that drive my family crazy, but doing the things that they find important.
Relaxing in their world for a while. Thriving on their crazy.