I remember when I was in my early 20’s, my dad said something along the lines of ‘Bec, you will eventually need to do less because you will be too tired to fit all the things in your life.’ I remember scoffing to him in my head. I’m young and not old like you. I will be fine! Ha!
In my early 20’s, I was newly married and working full time business hours including hours at night, finishing my apprenticeship and studying personal styling. Two nights a week I’d be out. One night doing musical practice and another night catching up with friends at a bible study group. Weekends were filled with catching up with more friends, or celebrating milestones of engagement parties, weddings, 18th’s, 21st’s, 30th’s and baby showers. On the rare quiet weekend, I’d fill it with an impromptu double date with friends going out for dinner or seeing a movie.
More than a decade later, life is very different.
I’m still married, but now have three children. Life is a juggle of organising where three children go while I manage a part-time job and a business, which are necessary to keep the mortgage paid and food on the table. My musical days are over as are week nights out unless absolutely necessary. Nights out with friends have to be booked a couple of months in advance. Jacob and I attend a connect group with families, which happens on weekends once a month. Sometimes we have to cancel if we need rest or I have to work.
Our Saturdays are filled with 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 year old birthday parties. Our quiet weekends are no longer an invitation to busy ourselves with others because it’s time to recoup.
Impromptu get-togethers with friends are met with ‘sorry, can we reschedule, I’m too tired,’ and feelings of relief when plans are canned because it’s a moment of unexpected quiet to watch a movie or go to bed early to catch up on sleep.
Juggling work, household demands, kids, marriage, finances, spiritual life (which is the undercurrent for life) and everything else that life demands from us, is exhausting.
But as I sat in church this morning, worshiping God singing
“It’s your breath, in our lungs
So we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise
It’s your breath, in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to you only,” I became overwhelmed with the breath in my lungs, grateful for the full life God has blessed me with. Answered prayers came tumbling to my mind. I love how worship changes my perspective and my heart. It brings energy to a tired soul.
Life has certainly changed over the last decade. And while my 20-year-old self scoffed at my dad, I’m nearly mid-thirties and I get it. I so get it. And dad, you are right. I can’t do everything and rest is so important.
At the same time I’m thankful for this full life and the ups and downs that have so far made my 2018.
When 2018 started, I had beautiful friends and family say to me this year would be a good year for me.
I believed it with my whole heart. (Like I do EVERY year)
But then it felt like everything was falling apart in January because a job I had lined up fell through, and work I did, didn’t get paid (and still hasn’t been fully paid!). Sponsored work I did was being paid late (over 60 days!) and asking for payment for work I had previously done for free, and could no longer afford to do for free, fell on deaf ears. I felt like I was a little mouse on a spinning wheel getting nowhere. I felt stuck and started to question whether what I had poured into this blog and my online writing career had been worth it? Was it ever going to get better? Maybe this was never meant to be a job and just a hobby. A hobby to help people? Maybe it was time to find a ‘real’ job.
Around February this year when everything felt like it was going to crap, God was positioning the right people around me to change my life.
It felt daunting because it was something I would never have considered doing, but it could lead to places I’d never get to on my own. It was going to fit in with my criteria of being a present mum. For me, this was important.
As you know, I had my interview and got my job and have been in my job for 5 months.
I have been stretched with this job. I am out of my comfort zone with every shift.
I actually start every shift with butterflies in my stomach, and pray that God would help me help the people who are directed to my line.
Not long after I started my new job (possibly a couple of months), writing work I could have only dreamed about, came through. It was as if stepping out in faith into the unknown with this new job, also brought other opportunities and blessings in my writing work.
And I believe they’ve come through simply from being persistent, doing my best with every job opportunity that’s come my way, trying something new and never ceasing in prayer about the direction of my life. (Special thank you to my village who have never stopped praying)
I’ve come to the conclusion that my life direction is to simply help people.
It’s really what this blog has been built on.
It’s why I started my apprenticeship.
It’s why I pitch and write the articles I do to other publications
It’s why I do my current part-time job.
Helping people is my currency. I think it’s everyone’s currency. I think the lining of our heart will always question how can I help? How can I use my gifts and skills to help others?
The question we should ask ourselves is how can I help someone else with where I have been planted? How can I position myself to help myself and others better? There comes a point where this helping requires monetary payment to ensure the helping continues of course, but the reflection of the past 6 months has confirmed this thought.
While the job is going well, my life is far from perfect. I was speaking with a friend this week that we can’t have all our balls aligned perfectly. There is always a ball or two that needs attention, and when that ball is aligned to where it needs to be, another ball drops.
But I want to encourage you, wherever you are at in your 2018, the last half of the year can look different to the first half.
Today’s sermon at church was about that. The simple message was if we are to finish the last of 2018 well, it has to be focused on loving God and loving people. It’s crucial to understand the right sequence of this because you cannot love people, without loving God first. People are hard to love. Easy to love if they’re friendly, have good intentions and are lovable, but hard if they are nasty, bitter and are out to diss you any chance they get. Love is a choice. It’s about having the best intentions for others no matter who they are. It’s something I continually work on.
I’m keen to finish the second half of 2018 well. As I write this, my writing work has slightly stalled at the moment, but I’m not fearful. In fact, it positions me in an exciting place to see what God will bring to me next. And I know that the same can happen for you. I believe it.
Expect the best and give your best to others. Learn to rest when needed. Don’t overfill your plate.
I get a lot of encouragement from Proverbs 11 in The Message. I love verse 25 and it’s the verse I’m going to be holding on to as I finish the second part of this year.