No, that’s not a typo. I don’t like to start a year by giving myself a word or theme. I prefer to end a year with reflection on what word or theme God presented me again and again.
That is the theme that echoed throughout 2019 for me. It came to me in conversations with Nate, friends, family members. It came to me during those late night, should-be-sleeping moments of reflection. It came to me as I cleaned the house and bathed the kids and cooked the meals.
It is true, there are some extremes in life. One set of extremes is given by Christ Himself.
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
– Matthew 12:30
There is no balance, no middle ground in His words. He is The Way, not one of the ways.
But in daily life, in those small decisions we make, we must strike a balance. It is not good to be extreme. I’ve found a lot of balance in my life the past year. And God has encouraged me to recognize it as a good thing, not the temporary fault I was seeing before.
When I had to strike a balance, I saw it as the result of a failure. For example,
- taking a break from cloth diapers was a failure to be a “cloth diapering family.”
- planning all easy meals for a week was a failure to be creative.
- supplementing breast milk with formula for my baby was a failure to be an “exclusively breastfeeding mom.”
- focusing on surface weekly cleaning and taking a pass on deep cleaning was a failure to be motivated.
But God showed me that none of those extremes are necessary. And the reason is…
My identity is not dependent on the things I do for others, but on who God made me to be.
I am not a “cloth diapering mom” or “exclusively breastfeeding mom” or good housekeeper or excellent meal planner.
I am God’s child. I am Nate’s wife. I am the mother to 4 extraordinary souls. I am a daughter and sister and friend.
That realization allowed me to let go of the extreme expectations and find balance. When I need a break from the excess laundry, the cloth diapers get put away for a week. When my baby isn’t getting enough to eat, I break out the bottles and formula. When I’m out of exciting meal ideas or need to get caught up on housework, I rely on our old, easy favorites. When I get overwhelmed with the cleaning and cooking and childcare, I focus on the essentials and ask for help. When I get lost in my role as a mother, I take time for myself.
Balance. You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t try. It’s unhealthy to expect it of yourself.
I’m curious what theme and lessons 2020 will bring to me.