By Sabrina Schlesinger
If you are anything like me, my days are crazy full. I wear far too many hats and I am juggling one too many balls in my life. When my “work day” is done, I often find myself spent. I do the bare minimum for my family to get through those last few hours to bedtime so I can clock out for the day.
But I read something recently that challenged me, and quite frankly, made me a little sad. It was the idea that we tend to give our best selves to everyone else throughout the day…our coworkers, the barista, our gym buddies and our clients, and at the end of the day we give emotional leftovers to our families.
I had to ask myself, “Am I doing that?” And honestly, I think I do it a lot more than I want to admit. But it’s easy to do that isn’t it? Our family and home is our safe place and haven. It’s the place we let our guard down and take our masks off. We can be least concerned about how we are perceived in our own home because they are with us, through thick and thin. But just because this is reality, does it make it right to serve up the dried up, crusty parts of us to the ones that mean the most?
Here are 3 ways we can give our family the BEST parts of us instead of emotional leftovers…
1. Invest in you.
I know it seems like an oxymoron to say that as we are starting off, but give me a second to clarify.
If you have ever flown, you have heard the drill over and over again. In case of emergency, oxygen masks will fall from the overhead compartments. If you are with a child (or someone acting like one – thanks Southwest Airlines for always keeping it fun), secure your mask first, and then secure the mask of the child next to you.
WHY??? Because we cannot take care of our kids if we find ourselves oxygen deprived and passed out. What good does it do if we crumble while attempting to take care of our kids first? Neglecting our health (mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually) does them no good.
It is our natural instinct as mothers to sacrifice for our kids. We do it all of the time, and most often, no one even knows. We prefer our kids and their wants and desires over ours every day. We drive them, wipe them, feed them, buy things for them, and the list could go on. Most of the time, we don’t mind doing these things because we are moms, and these things come naturally. But if we don’t take time to invest in ourselves, we are doing them a disservice and teaching them an unhealthy balance and model in life.
How can you invest in yourself? It is different for everyone. You have to find what recharges you. For some it may be reading a book, for others it may be going on a hike, while others it could be time with a girlfriend at a coffee shop. We are all wired differently, so find what works for you. Carve out time every week to have some “you” time. Make it a priority, because YOU ARE a priority. You have to get yourself the oxygen first if you want to breath life into your family.
2. Take a Sabbath.
This may sound old school, but it is a lifelong principle that will bring such blessings to your life.
You and your family NEED a Sabbath day. This is a day of rest, not work. It’s a day free from soccer games, chores and honey-do lists. This is a day where you unplug from busy and plug into rest.
We tithe as a family. Always have…always will. We do this because the Word of God teaches us to and also because we want to return to God what He has entrusted to us. We have heard it said, “If you trust God with the first, He will bless the rest.” So what about our time? Do I trust Him with that too? What message are we teaching our kids if we are going 24/7? What are we setting them up for if we never stop and recharge as a family and learn to be still and trust God. Just like my money, I trust God that if I give God the first 10%, He will do more with the 90% than I could ever do if I kept it all. Do I have that same mindset with my time.?
I have a driven personality. I am task-orientated and love lists. Better yet, I love putting check marks next to my lists. A good day to me is a productive day. There is a part of me that feels like if I take a day off of work, then I won’t accomplish what needs to get done and won’t be as successful as I want to be. But by me taking my “Sabbath” into my own hands, what I am really saying is I know better than God. He is the one who set up the Sabbath. He is the one who said out of 7 days, one of those ought to be a day of rest. If the God of the Universe needed a day of rest, who I am to say that I don’t?
For me, it means not opening up my computer or checking my emails. It means anything “work” related waits until tomorrow. It doesn’t mean that I don’t prepare a meal for my kids or do some laundry, because for me, that isn’t my “work”. What is your labor that you need rest from? Teach your kids by example to cease work for one day to relax and enjoy life! Be diligent in honoring the Sabbath in your life so the rest of your week can be blessed.
3. Connect with God.
In the midst of crazy, it can be easy for you and I to put our relationship with God on the back burner. It is kind of like filling your car up with gas and only thinking about getting more gas when that light comes on that you are on empty. I hate that feeling! I get anxious and panicky when that light turns on. What if we lived our lives on full every day? Is that even possible? You bet!
“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. John 15:4-5 (MSG)
Start your mornings off with a moment with God. This doesn’t even have to be long. There are no rules to the length of time it takes to connect with Him daily. Ask Him to fill you up with His Spirit. Invite Him into your decisions, your attitudes, your parenting and your life daily. He LONGS to be close to you. He desires to be near you.
If you have been so busy that you haven’t taken the time to connect with God, there is good news. He is still here with arms wide open, waiting to embrace you and breath life into you. Don’t let the shame and guilt of not investing in this relationship with God keep you from Him one more second. Run to Him! He is your source and we can’t do it well without Him.
I know that if we do those three things, we will be recharged, renewed and refreshed. At the end of the day, we won’t be serving our family emotional leftovers stemming from our own strength, rather we will serve them a fabulous meal that comes from a life rooted and grounded in the grace of God.
Love + Blessings,
Sabrina is a mother to three girls and one boy. She is a also a pastors wife, freelance graphic designer and mom coach! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-&-cheese over vegetables and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!