If I had to use one word to describe how I feel these days it would be S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D. I used to pride myself on being flexible, both my muscles and in life. But one overuse injury and two minor surgeries in twelve weeks have left my muscles stiff and far from limber. Any flexibility in my life flew out the window somewhere between rejoining the work force after an eight year hiatus and the fourth fall sports schedule to come through my inbox.
My list of Life Inflexibilities is no different than any other mom's but it feels overwhelming to me right now. Parenting has been a consistent challenge lately. I'm trying to scrape up an extra ten hours a week to work from home, but time is hard to come by with the kids still home on summer break. I've been irritable with my husband and time with my friends has been limited. The house is filthy and unfinished projects taunt me. Even running, which normally is therapeutic for me, has become something I dread because I'm following a training program loaded with speed work and I don't like speed work.
Things will get easier when school starts, but even that is a huge transition. Grant is starting middle school, the first of our kids to break us into this milestone. And Paige, the baby of the family, is transitioning to first grade and full days away school. She's been my buddy for the past six years and I'm certain my afternoons will be less sunny without her sweet companionship. I'm grieving the passing of time and the fact that these precious kiddos don't stop growing up.
I've been trying put my finger on the pulse of our new rhythm, but so far I'm nowhere close to finding the tempo. Last week I had a conversation with a friend of mine. As a child she faced some intense struggles and battled through some illness and significant challenges. Now a successful adult, she often reflects on her childhood and the beauty of Jesus carrying her through those tough times. This time she said something profound and it has been stirring in my brain all week. "I am still me. I still process through things differently than my peers. But I have learned to thrive within my limitations and find joy in spite of them."
This morning I scrapped the track workout on my running schedule and instead shoved off on my favorite 10K route. It's challenging, but running out of town and into the wide open spaces of the country dotted with vineyards is worth climbing every hill. I ran without looking at my watch and as I ran, I worshipped and prayed. By mile two the fog in my brain began to lift and I felt the Lord leading me back to meditation on that phrase - thrive within your limitations.
I simply can't do it all. I have no super powers. I am human, and a flawed one at that. And it's okay. There was something freeing about admitting that to myself. I might not be able to do it all, but I can learn to thrive within my limitations. I ran down the list of my responsibilities and things taking my time. And then I weighed each of them on a sliding scale of have to, want to, or modify.
I realized that I need to write at least once a week to process the things I'm learning. I'm going to modify my running schedule to bring it away from drudgery and back to therapeutic. I'll carpool more. Spend less time on Facebook and Instagram. Get up earlier to make sure time with Jesus is my first appointment of the day. Schedule my "free" time once the kids are back in school to be work focused so I can reclaim my evenings as time with Curt and the kids. And if it kills me, I will finish those two projects that are taunting me by the end of the weekend.
By the time I reached my driveway, my mind was peaceful and my soul was filled. I still possess no super powers. I still have no idea how my four kids will be at four different practices all at the same time. I still don't know when I'll finish cleaning my house or what I'll make for dinner tomorrow night. But I do know this. With help from my Savior I can learn to thrive within my limitations and find joy in spite of them. What about you?