OH Y’ALL. I asked my friend Elizabeth to guest post Monday and would you believe that I used the wrong article? Not a big deal, but I did wonder why the title in my calendar had nothing to do with the rich writing I posted, alas, I figured it was me being lethargic and delirious. And yes it was. SO if you’d like to enjoy what I MEANT for you to read, please visit here because she basically writes the post below, but with years of wisdom, experience and poetic prowess. And, If you too are feeling lethargic and delirious, read on and as my mother always says, carry on with courage.
It’s 2:30. You’re sitting in your office, eyes glazed over and hand en route to the snack drawer. You’ve watched the Geico Wednesday/Humpday Remix 7 times but you’re still not able to snap out of it.
It’s 2:30. Your kid is supposed to be joyfully experiencing “room time”, but Polly can’t seem to keep her pockets to herself. (Why did they make those crazy dolls so hard to dress??!!) The laundry is calling but you can barely hear it over the screaming smell of the dishes. You’ve no energy to do anything about either of those issues.
You take said child to the car, buckle her in to go get in the carpool line where you quickly arrive and crank your seat back to “rest your eyes.” After what feels like seconds, you are startled awake by the honking of horns asking you to please pull forward and pick up your child. You have committed the “forgot to set my cell phone alarm for 1 minute before the bell rings” cardinal carpool sin.
Seriously. What’s one to do when you’ve hit your caffeinated limit before the sun is shining and yet you’ve many hours left to go in the day? How do you kick lethargy to the curb?
I started writing this post a few months ago because lethargy is an ongoing problem in my life. But then I got too tired to finish the post. It’s true. Wish I were kidding.
I mean, how on earth do you move forward with vision and calling to be the hand that rocks the cradle and thus changes the world through the shaping of souls when you feel like you need to prop your eyelids open with toothpicks?
I want to serve vs. preserve. But it’s so much easier to preserve my sanity and design the day around getting my kids to occupy themselves rather than engaging their hearts through Hot Wheels, Barbies, and God’s Word
I want to lay my life down for theirs instead of picking up and cherishing “my rights”. Yet in the still of the night I value quiet rest over connection and closeness.
My my friend Kristi encouraged me, in her recent post “Don’t Bolt: Thoughts on Staying Present When Life Gets Loud” when she wrote:
“We all know about the fight or flight instinct – when faced with a difficult situation, our body releases hormones that prepare us to stay and fight, or run away, depending on what’s in our best interest in terms of self-preservation…
When I say bolt in these cases, I’m talking about the tendency to escape, to check out, to go somewhere else, mentally. To retreat, and get away from what’s going on in front of me. So if you were to put a camera in my living room, I’d be there, but if you were my kid asking me for something, I wouldn’t really be THERE.
If you have a smartphone like me, paying attention to when you’re likely to pick it up might be a good way to identify what makes you bolt. For me, the tendency is strong when I’m tired, feeling a little lonely, when I feel like I didn’t get what I wanted. Sometimes it’s after snapping at my kids, or knowing I need to have a stressful conversation with Duff. My instinct is to get out of there. And it’s so easy, especially when, through my phone, I can retreat from the things that challenge me to something impersonal and controlled. Nevermind that it can’t love me.
So why does this matter? Well, because life gets loud. Little ones or no, I’m betting we all face these little opportunities to stay or go all day long. And I’m saying we should fight, and stay.
Presence matters, and as I’ve thought through this, I’ve found that the best way for me to choose to stay, to fight my instinct to bolt, is to not only stay, but to move in close.
To grab a kid and pull her in my lap. Tell her to get a book and read it together.
To sit on the blanket with the baby and make funny faces.
To get the paint and glue and markers out and help the middle baby work on using scissors.
To invite them into the kitchen and work on cutting up tomatoes for the salad.”
In other words, as my mentor recently said, “It’s so much easier to escape than to enter in, Baby Jesus entered in. Let’s be Jesus to these kids.”
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can.
And, isn’t it worth it?
Because, even though I love myself, I do love my God. And I can trust that He is changing me.
Because it brings my heart such joy. And I can trust that He sees, knows and rewards the hidden acts of sacrificial service.
But aren’t there days when you’re so physically tired that you feel it impossible to pull that kid up into your lap to read Fancy Nancy for the fiftieth time? Aren’t there days when you want to stay present but are so tempted to bolt from your current circumstance? Those are definitely the days when honesty is the best policy. Let’s tell God the truth about our humanity and allowing Him to tell us the TRUTH about His infinite Deity.
The ever-wise Elizabeth Elliot has inspired many for years with her simple, yet powerful motto, “Do the next thing.” But practically there are times when the 2:30 lethargy threatens to suffocate my ideals and I can’t even think of what my next thing should be.
Let’s take this morning’s stare-off with the garage door for example, I had dropped off the preschooler and was quite cozy in my warm car. But alas, the “next thing” needed to be me making the choice to open that garage door and enter into the world of a vomiting child.
I polled some of my favorite “go get em” friends for their ideas of what to do in the “I’d rather sit in a parked car” moments. This list and a load of prayer helped lift the fog just this morning, so I thought I’d share it with you. Keep this list handy when you need someone to tell you to do the next thing (and also what that next thing needs to be!)
My Kicking Lethargy to the Curb List:
- Live in grace. Hit my knees and beg God to “Lord, I know you are here, help me see You! Give me grace, come to my assistance, Lord help me!”
- Turn off all electronic devices.
- Drink a huge glass of ice water or hot tea.
- Get fresh air.
- Go for a walk/run/stretch/yoga during a lunch break or a scooter/bike ride with kids or just pull out a lawn chair and sit in the sun to get some vitamin D.
- Cuddle and read books. If my brain can’t think, at least I can read words and snuggle and feel like I am doing something of value.
- Turn on a podcast.
- Text a friend to ask for prayer.
- Eat only veggies and nuts.
- Nap! Sometimes it’s the godliest and healthiest thing I can do!
Those are my top 10…what are yours?