Getting Past the Exhaustion

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank

Such an inspiring quote. The thought that I can do even a little something right now, right this very instant to make things better. Smile at a stranger. Laugh with my two year old. Help someone in need.

I love it. And it’s something I want to remind myself over and over until I really “get it” because it’s simple and powerful.

Yet sometimes I see stuff like this and I just feel exhausted at the thought of it. If I’m to be honest, this thought of exhaustion, tiredness, or of the effort that something takes, I focus on that WAY too much. I’m not proud to say that, not at all, but it’s what happens to me.

Anyone else just feel exhausted thinking about such things? I can’t be alone on this one.

Don’t get me wrong this feeling of exhaustion isn’t limited to saving the world. It creeps in at 10pm when there is a sink full of dishes. It creeps in when there are important phone calls I need to make. It creeps in at the thought of cleaning the closet in my boys room. Or when I think about opening a youth center in my town.

The funny thing is that the thing that is actually exhausting is the fact that I don’t do those things. It’s more exhausting to leave the tasks alone and sit on the couch and flip through Facebook. It’s more exhausting to hit the snooze button 17 times or to wake up to a sink full of dishes that you, yet again, have no intention of starting because – it’s too exhausting.

I know I’ve trained myself to think this way and it’s something that I don’t even consciously think about most days but looking at my life I can see it’s there and it needs to change if I’m going to go forward instead of in circles.

How do we get past these thoughts?

For me, I need to remind myself of the truth instead of the lie.

The lie: Doing that project, or choosing happiness, or changing the world is too exhausting.
The Truth: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9

The lie: It doesn’t matter if I do my dishes(or laundry or cleaning the car etc) or not because nobody will see.
The Truth: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” Colossians 3:23

That’s great for the mental attack I get at the thought of something but there is one sure fire way I can attack my exhaustion (or rather perceived exhaustion) that seems to work every time. I simply get up and do some thing. It doesn’t matter what. And yes it’s sometimes harder than it sounds, but it works.

I have to remind myself that motion begets motion. An object in motion will stay in motion until a force stops it. See what I’m getting at here? The more you start, the more you finish. The more you finish the better you feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself the less exhausted you feel and when you feel less exhausted you change the world.

I’m beginning to realize I’ve spent too much time not doing things because I was scared it was going to be too much for me. Or because of a myriad of other fears I’m sure. I NEED to remind myself that I have not been given a spirit of fear but that of love, power and a sound mind.

At the end of the day I’d rather actually be exhausted because I did things that will change the world than be exhausted because I played on my phone all day. Even if the only world I am changing at the moment is my own home, or the lives of my children, it’s all important and it’s all worth it.

So here’s to an exhausting life – I hope you live one too! 🙂

What makes you feel absolutely exhausted at the thought of it? What ways have you combated that?

– Jess 🙂

 

The Receiving End of a Random Act of Kindness

starbucks

It’s not very often that I’m on the receiving end of a RAOK from a total stranger. So when the man behind the counter said “It’s on me” I was a little taken aback.

I had stopped to treat myself to a cup of Starbucks coffee on my way to pick up my older boys. I don’t do this often, and maybe he could tell. I confidently ordered my grande Verona and the total came to $2.04. I handed over my debit card and got the most embarrassing news ever. It was denied. For a $2 cup of coffee. I hastily began shuffling through my wallet which had nothing more than old receipts in it for some cash. To avoid the fact that it actually was an awkward moment for the two of us I cut the ice with a “well this is embarrassing” comment. More than that, I was really disappointed. Perhaps this was why I had that nagging feeling not to stop?

As I was fumbling, he was saying something to me but I didn’t understand at first. He said “It’s ok – it’s just a cup of coffee, take it.” I was flabbergasted I mean absolutely surprised. He didn’t have to do that and I was surprised that he did.

In that moment I felt what it was like to receive a gift that I didn’t deserve or expect but that I was very grateful for. I felt like it was God reminding me that I have the power to do that every single day and that there was a time in my life where doing that for someone else was what I lived for.

So this is what it’s like when I pay for the car behind me in the drive through. And this is what it’s like when I drop off groceries to a friend who I know is struggling.

I want so badly to be able to do those things on a large scale and I just can’t right now financially. But maybe I can pay for a car behind me. And maybe I can buy a few extra groceries every week and bring them to the food pantry or to a friend. I can do that. And I know that as I am faithful in the small things again, He will be faithful when He needs me to do the big.

That small gesture reminded me that I felt 100x better when I was giving. That seemingly insignificant cup of coffee given to a stranger reminded me that I have been called to be a light and I need to shine.

Thank you my new coffee friend for doing what you felt was right. It did more than you could ever know.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a Random Act of Kindness? What was your experience like?

Reaching Out

This week I wrote two entire posts about how things are changing and I’m choosing happiness and do you know what happens?

Five minutes into my 2-year old refusing to sleep I break down into a heaping mess of sadness.

Yes I was sick and running on like 4 hours of sleep and that always makes me very overwhelmed to begin with. But I just had nothing left to discipline or anything. It was bad. Like my husband almost came home kinda bad. Like don’t tell anyone about this because I’m super embarrassed kind of bad. I don’t even like writing that. But it’s where I was at and I bet someone out there has been there too.

That was how things were almost every day when I first had Noah. Everything was SO overwhelming and I didn’t know what to do and I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t figure it out or find the strength to do it anyways. But back then I wasn’t able to tell anyone. For whatever reason I kept all of that inside and the doubts and sadness and shame filled my head and my heart.

Maybe that’s why my meltdown yesterday was so scary. Maybe it reminded me of those first few months when everyone was looking at me to help the crying baby and I had NO IDEA what to do. And so I hid. I hid my insecurities my emotions my weaknesses everything. It wasn’t just all that I was feeling that broke me it was what I was keeping hidden that did.

Yesterday even though I didn’t know it I was choosing to reach out and to not keep it hidden when I texted my husband. And that made all the difference. Seemingly out of no where I was at my breaking point and I didn’t know what to do and the one thing that helped was reaching out. And it took me about 30 minutes and some hugs from Noah to remind me that those things my brain was telling me weren’t true.

In that moment I had to then choose to listen to the good. I AM a good mom. My kid will sometimes just not sleep – despite my best efforts and arsenal of nap time tricks. This stage will NOT last forever.

Today I am telling myself that it’s ok that I slipped up yesterday. It’s ok that I broke down. It’s going to happen. What is important is that I got back up. It’s important that I reached out. And it’s important that I changed my thinking and went on with my day and was a ton better for it.

And maybe you are in that hole and you don’t even know what it means to change your thinking or it’s unthinkable to reach out to someone today that’s ok too. I understand. Hang on. You’ll get there too. 🙂

– Jess

Expectations, Schmexpectations

Some days I just need some encouragement. Not that I set out looking for it, but I usually end up finding it when I need it the most. 

While talking about work catching up on life with my friend, I shared with her that I noticed that for the past few weeks I’ve been really short with my kids. A trait that happens from time to time – like many parents I’m sure – but I really wasn’t sure where this has been coming from.

So while talking through this, I tell her about how I’ve been giving myself a pep talk. “This weekend I’m going to be the best mom and I’m not going to yell and I’ll teach them things and do fun things together”.  In talking to her I realized that I was actually just heaping expectation after expectation on myself…and then the weekend would come and that didn’t happen I was getting upset at myself and that was coming out on the kids. No good right?

My friend said to me “Jess, you ARE a good mom. You ARE doing a great job. And you need to get this “I will be” out of your vocabulary because you ARE a good mom”. 

Gosh, my heart smiles just thinking about how this simple word of encouragement impacted me in such a huge way. 

She reminded me that I AM doing a good job and it helped me and really allowed me to take some pressure off of myself.  That I don’t have to be perfect to be loving. That I may get frustrated but that’s where grace and humility come in and sweep me up in their arms. 

We had an amazing weekend, and I realized that the more that I Iet go of my expectations and the more I focused on love, the better the whole thing is. I felt better, my family was happier and we made memories this weekend. Such great, great memories. All because of her simple words. 

I want to encourage you today to speak those words, spread hope, give love. And if you are the one who needs the encouragement, don’t doubt what they say. Don’t doubt what that friend in your life is telling you. Hold on to that encouragement and tuck it in your heart. It will lift you up when you need it most. 

– Jess 🙂