As I write this, I have two sleeping babies. Both of my kids have gone down for naps, and for a brief moment (ten minutes? thirty? AN HOUR?) I have two sleeping children and the house is peaceful and quiet. I am both excited and overwhelmed by this time. Most of my brain is yelling: “GO! GO! GO! Get things done! Be productive! Move!” I stand still and my heart pounds, my mind racing, my hands trembling and I am OVERWHELMED by the to-do list – all the things I’m desperate to get done, jobs to finish, projects to start. So often, when I get this moment of peace I don’t use it as a moment of peace. I panic. Rushing around, trying to do ten things at once, inevitably being mid-task when someone wakes up and I wind up hungry, tired, and overwhelmed and another step behind with unfinished tasks behind me, and rested kids in front of me who are ready to go and who want Mama to go with them.
I was very sick during both of my pregnancies, which provided a humbling season of learning both to be taken care of by others, and to develop self care. So I try to remember to slow down. Eat something. Take a twenty minute (thirty minute? hour long?) nap. Shower. Brush my teeth. When someone wakes up, I might be mid-meal, mid-shampoo, mid-dream. I can stop and meet my body’s demands (nursing two means I need a lot of snacks!) but then what about my mental to-do list? I’m often left feeling overwhelmed by the undone tasks, the interruptions, the constant needs of my children, my home, my husband, my community, myself. I cannot do it all.
And that’s the crux of it. I cannot do it all. I want to, oh so badly! The mental picture I have of my perfect life doesn’t even come close to the reality some days. There is always some task undone, some need unmet. I cannot do it all.
When I sit for a minute, in that place, acknowledging that I cannot do it all, I hear the still small voice of God, the whisper in my heart that says ‘Peace’. I cannot do it all transforms from a criticism and condemnation to a blessing and benediction. ‘You cannot do it all.’ The words become freeing as I turn to the God who can do it all, who gives me the strength to do all I can do.
428 words later and I have two crying babies. I have not eaten or showered, picked up the toys or planned the meals for the week. All I have done is sat for a moment, written these words and pondered about the peace in the reality that I cannot do it all. As my husband soothes one child and I rock the other, our lunch growing cold on the table, I am more refreshed than if I had showered and more soothed than if I had crossed ten things off my list. Words of encouragement are whispered to me. Jehovah Jireh, my provider. My God is sufficient to meet all my needs. I can do all things through Christ, who is my strength. There is rest, even in the season of babies.
Where do you find peace, when you are overwhelmed? How do you hear the still small voice of God?