I was recently at the park with my daughters. We were having so much fun digging in the sand. We piled wet sand into our buckets and patted it down firmly. Then we carefully flipped it over to reveal a section of our castle kingdom. We repeated this several more times until our empire was complete. Some parts more crumbly than others, but we loved it.
It doesn’t seem to matter which sand toys we bring to the park or the beach, the favorite toy is always the shovel (which is why I have so many). There is something about digging that my kids just can’t get enough of. They love to see just how deep they can get their holes. The real excitement is when they reach the clay under the sand area or if water starts to seep into their hole from the moisture beneath the surface.
They can sit there for ages digging and digging. That morning we just sat and giggled as we tried to see who could dig the deepest hole the fastest. Yet, it never fails…the walls of our sunken masterpiece cave in.
I can usually see it coming. The deeper we dig the more I can see the sandy walls appear susceptible. A few grains of sand start to crumble down and soon we have a landslide. As an adult I know it’s just a matter of time before it happens. The kids? Nope. They don’t see it coming. They are always shocked when it happens. They just dig and dig with no expectation that all their hard work will soon come crumbling down.
Sitting there with my girls I realized that so often this is exactly what happens in our lives. We make commitments to a variety of good things: fun activities for the kids, Bible studies, sports teams, dance classes, AWANA, weekend trips, small groups, service projects, ministry opportunities, and more. The list could go on and on. These are all great things. Yet, it always seems like we are pressuring ourselves to do it all.
Then when we’re a few weeks into our commitments, we find the “walls” of our life caving in on us and our family. We keep digging and digging and trying to find some way out of our overwhelming schedules, but there’s no stopping the landslide of exhaustion and stress that starts falling in on us.
So, how can we possibly find joy in this season?
Obviously, the best thing to do is to avoid it in the first place. But life happens. Sometimes we schedule margin and don’t overcommit, yet things pop up and there it is…that feeling of being overwhelmed.
It perplexed me for ages when people told me to “rely on the Lord for His strength.” Sounded good, but how? Well, after 5 kids, it only takes me about 5 minutes some mornings to be at the end of my own strength. I’ve had to learn how to lean on the Lord and really seek Him for my source of joy.
First, I really try to make getting in the Word first thing in the morning a priority, even if it’s just a Psalm or a Proverb. My whole mode changes when I do.
Second, I try to be honest with the Lord throughout the day. I tell him when I’m overwhelmed and ask for His strength. I feel like the secret really lies in this verse:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 4:6,7 (NIV)
The more I put into practice “presenting” my needs to the Lord, the more I’ve found that His crazy peace does come…even in the chaos.
A few practical tips to avoid the avalanche effect:
1) Pray over your schedule and commitments before you make them.
2) If you’re married, talk to your spouse and really prioritize what’s best for your family for that season.
3) Remember that it really is a season. So, if you are overcommitted right now, just learn from your mistake and adjust next time.
4) Try to say “no” to ask many things as possible, even things you have going on right now.
5) Change your mindset. Sometimes I just have to look around and be thankful for what we do have going on.
Again, life happens. As moms, it’s just one crazy, adventurous day after another. Walls may crumble and even fall in, but the more we are intentional about building our lives, and our days, on the Rock the sifting sands won’t affect us as much.
Blessings and joy,
Kristi Clover is a Christian, homeschooling mom to five kids ranging from teens to tots and wife to her high school “crush.” Aside from her family (and chocolate), she’s passionate about encouraging women in their faith and inspiring them in their daily lives as moms, by offering “simple solutions for a more joy-filled life.” Kristi is a down-to-earth writer and an energetic speaker who loves to share about her adventures in marriage and motherhood at KristiClover.com — and on her new podcast, the Simply Joyful Podcast.