Retreat… Recharge…Rest?

The end of the school year feels like a different kind of crazy in parenting life, doesn’t it? From last minute projects, to class parties (don’t forget the $2 for pizza!) to varying last days and dismissal times, to costumes for presentations, to band concerts, to pool parties and celebrations, and elementary graduations… it’s a lot!

But if I’m honest, it’s not just the end of the year that feels big in my life, and I bet if you’re honest it’s not the only thing for you either.

We – as moms… I’m using the collective here – take on a lot. We manage calendars. We do what we can to make our kids memories the kinds we’ve always hoped for. We also work jobs (sometimes) and have aspirations. We take on our own projects and we build our own relationships. We work hard to preserve the family AND to chase our dreams AND stay in some semblance of health/shape. We say yes when those around us need help and we try to set Biblical examples for our kids in and out of the house.

It’s constant – and not limited to May and June.

I’ve started seeing the effects of it on my heart and in our life, and I wish I had a magic formula to share that could take the stress and anxiety out of it all, both in my heart and yours… and I just don’t…not exactly, at least. Instead, I find myself retreating and wanting to run (even though every single thing I mentioned above plus everything else would just follow me if I did). Then, right when we’re at the brink, something unexpected comes up that nearly pushes us over (for me, this week, it was an out-of-no-where broken refrigerator).

But I do know this: we need to take an inventory of what’s taking up space in our hearts, our minds, and our lives. We need to understand what we’re putting on ourselves, what we’re allowing others to put on us, and what’s actually required of us.

And that – friends – requires help that’s not of this world (thank goodness).

No self-help guru, or influencer, or thing created of this world can take away the heavy breathlessness that rests on our shoulders. They were never meant to.

Instead, we need to go back to the basics.

What Are the Basics?

Cool. Basics.

What are they?

When folks look at Christianity from the outside, they see rules, restrictions, and laws… they see the opposite of rest and freedom.

And yet, what we’re offered is exactly that: rest and freedom.

The reason is this: God designed the world to be perfect, and yet – he gave us free will. Sin entered the world. We know much of the rest of the story… and if you don’t, let’s talk.

But then: Jesus – the son of God – came in human form to – literally – save the day. He came here to model love, to teach, and to save us all. And he gave us great hope: the hope of salvation paired with a promise – that the yolk would be light.

Will we face heavy things here? Yes. Will the pace at which we design and then live our lives make us tired and anxious and self-dependent? Often, yes.

But, there’s a better offer right in front of us.

See, when asked what the greatest commandants were, Jesus told the religious leaders something shocking – both at the time at today. He told them to love God and love others.

We put a lot more on our plates than that… don’t we?

If we’re honest, are we focusing our efforts on the things that bring us closer to God, and help us love others (our families, our children, our neighbors)? Or, are we adding what the world tells us is most important to our plates as well.

I know I’m guilty of “going above and beyond at a breakneck pace 24/7” living. And I know that when I’m in the middle of it I’m tired. I’m disobedient. I’m angry. I’m self-absorbed. And then, then I want to run.

Guys, God has called us to something so much better. He’s called us into living in fellowship with him and the freedom that it brings. He’s told us to give our anxieties and requests and fears to him and has promised us a peace that passes understanding in exchange.

For my heart – that peace is exactly what I’m longing for… not just during the end-of-year chaos, but always. I’m willing to bet you feel it to.

So – What Do We Do With It?

Knowing this… what do we do?

Do we keep going until we retreat or break down?

Or, do we look at what’s on our plates, and minds, and hearts, give it to God, and ask him to help us live out his commands – to love him and love those around us – both better and above everything else we believe to be important based on what we hear in the world around us?

If you’re stuck today, you’re not alone. I just want to encourage to you to give whatever it is that’s eating at you today to him, to take a deep breath, and to allow him to do the work in your heart.

Stop running, sister. There’s a better way.

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