Monday, August 25, 2014

Needy

I had a conversation the other day with a friend of mine who is expecting her first baby. She was telling me that she was going to really make an effort to take care of herself when her son arrives so that she will be better able to care for him. Then she asked me if my own needs were being met and if I was taking care of myself. I told her that I'm doing fine and that even when I feel like things are hard God does provide and I am able to make it through the tougher days, and then the conversation moved on.

But since that conversation I've been thinking about this quite a bit. Taking care of myself is essential when I have four children and a husband who depend on me. I can't really care for anyone well if I don't get enough sleep or if I'm not getting enough of the right kind of food or exercise. I have heard it said over and over that it's important to carve out "me" time in my life so that I can have a chance to recharge and refresh myself in order to be able to give of myself to my family. And I find it to be true. I am a much better wife and mother, and person in general, when I don't feel stretched thin and at the end of my rope.

I have found though, that even if I try very hard to get enough sleep and eat right and have the time I need to refresh, there are still days when all this is just not enough. There is something inherently exhausting in trying to civilize four different savages, each with their own struggles and desires. Sometimes that exhaustion kicks in after less than an hour of being awake and I can't see how I'll ever make it to the end of the day. There are times when I feel like I need to be more alone than usual and being an introvert in a house full of small bodies that need attention all day is another layer of exhaustion added on.

It turns out that "taking care of myself" isn't really all that there is to be done here. It turns out that even if I do everything "right" - go to bed on time, eat 3 square meals, exercise, spend as much alone and/or couple time as I need - this weight that comes with motherhood is still too much for a mama to carry. I cannot do this alone. I am not meant to do this alone.

The fact is that marriage, and the motherhood that comes with it much of the time, is a path to salvation. My inadequacy is not something to be ashamed of or to resist or even to try to change. Rather it is a reminder for me: it is a call to repentance. It is a call to surrender everything - squabbling children, dirty dishes, a need to get away from it all - to my Christ. It is call to humble myself and to open my life to receive healing; to receive His mercy. Repentance as a state of being and as a condition of the heart allows me to surrender my own will and my own needs to His will so that He can meet my true needs. And He is my only true need. Apart from Him I need everything; with Him I need nothing.


3 comments:

  1. This is beautiful, Lisa, and so true. Well said.

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  2. Being an introvert in a full house is a struggle. I loved this post.

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  3. I needed this today. Thank you, Lisa.

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