on finding balance {terrica's story}...

my lovely friend, terrica, is sharing her "finding balance" story today.
terrica is a "once-upon-a-time-and-will-be-again blogger" at terrica joy 
and can be found on instagram at @terricajoy.
terrica and i crossed paths via instagram and have exchanged long hand-written letters.
terrica's international travels seem to have given her a unique ability 
to live life more slowly than the average american.
i value her outlook and her capacity to see beyond the complications of the immediate
 to the peace and harmony of the future.


Lay it down, came the gentle whisper.  My whole body went stiff.  Standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth I scowled at myself in the mirror.  Lay it down?  Are You serious?  It’s the solitary thing I even do for myself anymore.  Lay it down!?  You told me to do it in the first place!

I knew an argument with the God of the universe was futile, but I also knew He was big enough to let me vent for my own sanity.  But just as I prepared to launch into my barrage, a sudden unexpected sense of peace came over me.  Besides, I was too exhausted to argue anyway.  I stared unmoving at myself in the mirror.  Fine.  Just… fine.  I know You can be trusted. 

As I climbed into the shower mulling it all over, my sense of peace and space grew.  The grip of obligation and expectation (even with something I so loved, my writing) began falling away and giving room to deep and nourishing breaths.  Maybe this is a good thing, I thought.  Maybe it’s a wonderful thing!  Moments later as I shut off the water I realized my initial frustration had literally been transformed into joy.  The joy of letting go.
As mothers and wives we hold ourselves to no small expectation.  When you consider the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual toll, simply being a wife is enough.  And mother, well, that’s a role of epic, unspeakable profoundness.  Add in chicken-keeper, garden-tender, bill-payer, dish do-er, laundry-folder, toddler-entertainer, grocery-getter, bottom-wiper, 3-meals-a-day-creator, bed-maker, errand-runner, annnnnnnd any other endless variety of tasks both large and small, and it’s enough to drive anyone downright mad.  Let’s be real.  But for me this creates double the dilemma.

I am, without question, a free-spirited beauty seeking dreamer.  I spend long moments of every day quite literally doing things like examining tiny flower petals.  Gazing at the rustle of leaves against the sky.  Staring at chickens pecking around.  Writing poetry and lyrics in my head.  I instinctively focus in deeply and quietly on one task, one moment, one thought at a time.  It’s its own kind of gift, being so very present in my everyday, never missing a single beautiful moment.  But it also causes problems.  One major problem: I don’t know how to multi-task. 

Unlike most women I know, juggling a million small tasks at once makes me want to crawl into the fetal position and cry.  I like things linear, symmetrical, each in their own space, tended to in an orderly and usually sequential order.  It’s nice, at times.  It’s also infuriating.

For ten years my husband and I managed just fine with all our OCD quirks.  Aside from work we spent our days at leisure, cooking long meals, staying up until the wee hours entertaining friends, traveling across the globe taking in several countries at a time.  But then after a decade of adventure and marriage, a daughter.  A beautiful, heart stopping, crazy kind of love that brings everything you know to a grinding halt.  If you’re a momma, you know precisely. 

Problem is, you can’t quietly accommodate all your OCD quirks with a little.  They don’t wait for you to pick up the house before you tend to their demands.  They don’t always sleep when you want or how you want or even where.  Quite frankly, it’s far less about anything you want and more about everything they want. They blow your nice, orderly world to smithereens in an instant.  But I knew this, right?  I was prepared!  I could rock this!   I was determined.

And so I tried for months to keep up with it all.  The writing, the crafting, the small jobs on the side.  I hammered out book proposals and submitted guest posts to various publications.  I did give-aways and craft projects and photography gigs to the point of literal tears.  It was everything I wanted, right?  The creative, stimulating, stay-at-home-mom-does-all, perfect kind of world, right? 
Of course it wasn’t.  I was killing myself.  For no good reason.  And I wasn’t enjoying it. 

That was what I realized in the shower that evening.  I didn’t want to do it all.

What I wanted was long moments with my tiny girl, undistracted, uninterrupted.  I wanted to lay with her on a blanket in the sunshine among the tulips at the Arboretum and not even think of blogging about it.  I wanted long walks and handwritten letters to friends and baking cookies in my kitchen with wooden spoons to lick and giggles to share.  I wanted freedom from the expectations I alone had placed on myself.  I wanted to be the wife and mother and friend God called me to be without the trappings of obligation. 

So that very night, I laid it all down.  And I’ve not looked back since.

Because I knew I needed some kind of accountability, I wrote a declarative blog post titled ‘The Intention Project,’ clicked publish, and exhaled the weight of paralyzing, joy-robbing stress.  I set my heart to be present, to ‘be all here,’ to drink in each given moment without any concern for the next.  And let me tell you friends, it is bliss. 

These days I allow myself the freedom to blog when I feel like it, and I instead use Instagram like a teeny creative outlet on a daily basis.  It’s enough for now.  I peacefully put the book proposal in a folder out of sight, something to look forward to in another season.  And I started saying ‘no.’ A lot.  I’ve turned down offers of all kinds from speaking engagements to travel gigs to enticing job offers with women I so admire.  But my days have never been more full, filled to the brim with things I enjoy, things that matter.  Like watching my girl chase bubbles, mastering a new recipe to feed my family, delivering eggs to neighbors just because and writing life-giving letters to friends.  They are life-giving, soul-nourishing days in which I delight.  And I am a much, much happier wife and momma.  I couldn’t possibly be more grateful to drink in these sacred days.  Being present always has a way of causing gratitude to expand to the point of bliss.

My personal reality is simply that I cannot do it all, and more importantly, I don’t want to.  It’s so okay to say I don’t want to do it all.  The simple truth is God made me to savor one thing at a time.  One batch of cookies, one flower in the garden, one shifting cloud in the sky.  He delights in my being present with my daughter in the simplest of moments and discoveries, because isn’t that precisely what He’s modeled for us?

My prayer for you today is that you find that tender balance among the mundane, that beautiful space of awareness and joy amidst the errands and shrieks and laundry piles, and delight there.  Take in this moment for the gift that it is and breathe a silent prayer of gratitude, and you’ll find with amazement that all is worship, all is joy.
{the other posts in this series can be found here.}

1 comment:

  1. I love this thank you Terrica for sharing your ever so lovely heart!!!:)


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