Flashback Friday – Pursuing

This was originally posted on my blog on July 6, 2012

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

Everyone of us is in pursuit of something.  Some of us are aware of it, some of us are not.  Some of us might need to rethink what we’re pursuing and some of us might need to challenge ourselves by pursuing something that requires a little more effort.

When I say everyone, I mean everyone.  The guy sitting in his chair, watching his favorite team?  He’s pursuing that perfect moment of relaxation.   The woman running herself ragged working outside the home, trying to be keep her house perfectly, spotlessly ready for company and over-scheduling her own life and her kids?  She’s pursuing the title of “Best Mom Ever”.  Don’t get me wrong – there are those who pursue good things too.  Enough money to support their families, good health, a healthy relationship.

There is nothing wrong with relaxing, wanting a tidy home, seeking to take care of your financial obligations and so on.  The danger comes when the thing we are pursuing begins to control EVERY aspect of our lives.

So what’s the answer?  Sitting back and pursuing nothing is certainly a horrible idea!  But so is choosing our pursuits based on the preferences of others.  Others don’t have to face the consequences – good or bad- of the choices that I make so I certainly do not let them make those choices for me.

The key is something I’m STILL trying to learn – balance.  If you have relaxed to the point that you can barely get out of your chair because you have gotten stiff from sitting there too long, you’re out of balance.  If you resent the activities your kids are in and don’t really even enjoy your tidy home, you’re out of balance.  If you have enough money to support your family but continue to work extra hours just to chase more money, that’s out of balance.  You get the idea!

Human beings have an intellect.  They can make informed decisions and choose how best to spend their time.  In that choosing, we must be mindful of the fact that we also have emotions, a soul, and the need for relationship.  Our hobbies, passions, likes and dislikes all fit in there to make a complete, well-rounded person.  I challenge myself – and you – to pursue with both passion AND balance.  I challenge us to set goals that will push us to achieve new and exciting things or get us closer to getting all the laundry done on the same day we start it!  Lastly – and maybe most importantly – I challenge us to recognize the seasons in our lives and change with them!

Taking Care of Us

Have you ever had one of those days when you keep encountering people from different “parts” of your life, people who couldn’t possibly know one another, who seem to be dealing with “stuff” that is similar in nature?  Sometimes I wonder if that isn’t God’s way of gently saying, “Pay attention.  There’s something you need to understand.”

Today it’s all about taking care of ourselves.  From a friend who has been honest and open on a social networking site about her need for medication to deal with depression to a woman who is stressed with demands of a new job and needs a little “pick-me-up” to a woman who has lost someone dear and needs to do something simple to feel good again.  I could give more examples but you get the idea!

What breaks my heart is that some of the women I mentioned felt like they needed to apologize for being selfish.  Why do we do that?!

Each of these women is married and all are mothers though some of them are now at the “empty nest” phase of life.  Every single one of them has “done for others” to a great extent.  Many of them volunteer their time in various ways – church, school PTA, animal shelter, etc.  On their worst day, you would not call these women selfish.

One woman who I have been chatting with via Facebook message (side note – I have permission to mention the story as long as I leave out her name!) said that all she wanted was a pumpkin spice something from Starbucks and half an hour to sit on her back deck and read.  Then she said, “But I’d feel so selfish.”  Really?!  This woman’s oldest child is in elementary school and the baby just started Kindergarten.  She is a giving, loving, selfless woman who is always busy for others or in her home for her family – gardening, canning, sewing, volunteering, you name it!  She went back to work part-time now that her youngest is in school and she hasn’t quite adjusted to the schedule change.  All she wanted was half an hour to just be her; not a mom, an employee, a volunteer, or a wife.  Just her.

Why do we do this to ourselves?!  Why do we feel guilty if we aren’t absolutely everything to our family members?!  And don’t even get me started on the amazing women I know who live with Depression, Bi-Polar disorder, or physical disabilities, OR who are battling cancer, caring for a dying loved one, or just “being there” for an elderly relative who needs someone checking in on them from time to time.

Ladies, listen up.  Do not feel ashamed if you need some “me” time.  Next time life is overwhelming, take a deep breath, step back, and grab your favorite color of nail polish.  Or a favorite book.  Or that seasonal Starbucks beverage you’ve been waiting to have for months (salted caramel mocha is back!).  When we take care of us, we are better able to take care of those we love.

Think it’s time for a coffee break.  Who’s with me?