Over the last couple days, I’ve been hoping this whole idea of “rehoboth,” or open space, has been as life-giving and freeing for some of you, as it has been for me. Daily, I’m seeing more and more the spaces I fill with things that aren’t valuable, and how it has affected me.
And I can BREATHE again.
And the air is sweeter. So much sweeter than my ragged breaths from before.
I do feel like I need to disclaim that life is still life. It’s busy, I still get stressed and tired, but it’s like there is fresh air where before, it felt stale and truthfully, often hopeless to see change.
Today I wanted to share the next part of the process for me.
First, here is my quick summary on how I got to this point:
I recognized the places I was missing rehoboth, or open space.
I identified my weaknesses. The things I fill those potential spaces with.
I evaluated the effect of those things on the people and parts of life most valuable to me, and realized this was not ok with me.
In past seasons of exhaustion and weariness and when I’ve been downright overwhelmed by life, I have tried to fix it in a way that I can now identity as foolish. Here’s what I do…
I attempt to add more in.
It sounds so absurd when I word it like that. Yet I think this is incredibly normal for a lot of us.
If I feel like I’m failing at xyz, I make up a plan or structure to try and accomplish it. Only the plan or structure is actually more work, on top of something I was already not doing well at in the first place.
Here’s an example. I heard a counselor talk about anxiety one time. He pointed out that one of the things people are told, and try and do, is to implement an exercise routine to help with their anxiety. So they try and wake early to go to the gym, but are just left more tired, guilty when they miss, and ultimately more anxious. His point? Let’s not add more stress. While exercise for our mental health is definitely helpful, for right now, we need less stress and guilt, not more.
Are you adding more in, when the goal is to the lessen the load?
The good news is, I still have a plan that has truly worked for me this time.
Why this time it feels different and possible for me:
- I didn’t lead the process. I asked God how to do it. I really, really did. Then I listened.
- I worked with my real life not my ideal life. This was so crazy revolutionary. It seems so simple and something we shouldn’t mix up, but oh how we do! I first heard it put to words by blogger Marian Vischer. Are you trying to plan around your ideal life or your real life? I’m queen of the idealistic version of my schedule. And I easily get discouraged when time after time it doesn’t work. Now I ask myself…what is my REAL life routine? What can actually be done in my day? Not my dream day.
- I’m taking things away and making shifts in my choices instead of adding lots in. Once I recognized the difference from my reality vs. my ideal, it was much clearer to see the things to either remove or replace with life giving ones. Since I have identified those weakness of mine, I can easily tell the times in my day I am most vulnerable. Like the post-dinner, pre-kiddos in bed slot.
Here is a real life scenario of all this put together. The kids and their dad go downstairs for family movie night after dinner. Emphasize family. And inevitably, I manage to miss all but the last ten minutes. Why? Because I’m doing all the things. All the so important house tasks that HAVE to be done. This is a space where the people most valuable to me belong, not more work.
What I’m trying to do moving forward is work on accomplishing only what truly has to be done.
Now we chip in quickly, stop no matter what, and all head down for movie time. All of us. Whew, this is a little humbling. Tell me I’m not the only one who this is hard for? Grace. Lots of grace. Since I’ve identified this time as a hot spot in my routine I normally fill with tasks, I can consciously choose the valuable over the inconsequential. Because there will always be dishes. Forever and always.
And then I breathe.
I breathe in the air of the open space in my soul.
The Rehoboth. The Lord is giving me space to prosper.
Listen. This is incredibly hard for me because sometimes it looks like leaving the last of the kitchen pick up for tomorrow, or during my momma FREEDOM post bedtime. But I’m choosing to exchange it for the joy it brings to me and to those cute little men. Sometimes, it’s hungrily gulping the air gained back from not making those returns to Target and IKEA and Home Depot. Because filling my soul with reading what God has to say to me that day is that much more valuable.
And I can tell you this…
It’s worth it. It has been today. And I am confident it will be tomorrow.