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Close your eyes for a second and think about this word: Motherhood.
Do you see sweet tender moments of cuddling, tickling, and smiles? Or do you see yourself harried, stressed, and overwhelmed?
Life can all too easily start to feel like an upward slog of tasks. If you’re increasingly feeling the pressure of the daily grind, keep reading.
This will help. Pinky-swear promise.
You Need a Visit From
a Gentle Giant
I hear you loud and clear:
What in the world does a Gentle Giant have to do with motherhood?
A Gentle Giant is something that slips through the back door of your mind, all sneaky-like, and then proceeds to gently stomp all over the assumptions, obligations, and status quo cluttering up your thoughts.
My own Gentle Giant stepped in one Monday night at 8pm in the form of a book. This book, actually.
It rearranged things in my mind, opening dusty old cabinets buried deep in my thoughts, and forcing me to ask questions I had long forgotten I had the freedom to ask.
- Is this something God is really calling me to do?Or am I just doing it because I hate disappointing people?
- Am I living my life on purpose? Or just floating down the river with my fingers crossed?
I poured my coffee, sat down in my rocking chair, unintentionally got my mind rearranged, and it was glorious.
The book is called Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace & Purpose in a World of Crazy. God used this book to help me reorient my priorities and really think about the paths I had been walking down.
It was so helpful, in fact, that I had to share it with my favorite people on the planet: you.
5 Genius Tips from a De-Stressed Mother
Here are five lessons that author, Alli Worthington, taught me about breaking busy and reclaiming peace.
She doesn’t come from a high pedestal of “Let Me Tell You, Underlings, the Ways of Peace”.
She’s writing from a place of “I’ve Come Through the Hell of Being Too Busy, and This is What I’ve Learned.” It’s refreshing.
Unfortunately, being as this is a book written from the Christian perspective, I don’t think using the word “Hell” in a book title would have been approved. #darn
Obviously, there are a LOT more lessons in Breaking Busy than five. I could have picked five from just the first chapter. Pour your own coffee, sit in your rocking chair, and be prepared to be encouraged. 🙂
#1. Know Your Own Capacity.
You’re not superhuman. You do not have a magical well of energy that never empties. For goodness sake, your body actually requires you go into a semi-paralyzed state every night, just so your brain can function the next day.
We are not God. We have limitations.
The first step in shattering the unsatisfying life of endless busyness is identifying where your limits are, and when you’ve passed them.
Alli shares three things that limit capacity levels. You, my dear reader, are experiencing one of them.
It’s called children. And you have them.
Breaking Busy helps you understand your own natural and season-of-life limits, so you won’t overstep your own emotional and physical capabilities.
Over-extending yourself leads to crankiness, tardiness, excess, relational neglect, and other negative factors that slowly drag you down into the Pit of Despair. (Don’t even think… *gags/coughs* … don’t even think about trying to escape.)
#2. Embrace Your Gifts, Passions, and Calling.
As you are wiping poo-smears and vomit-stains off of various surfaces, you may feel like questioning your calling or purpose. But feelings are such fickle things.
You’ve been called to be a mom, absolutely, but it’s not your only calling. Within the call of motherhood, you can still find fulfillment in the passions and gifts that have been buried deep within you.
Perhaps your passion is pottery. No, this may not be the time to start your own pottery studio. But it may be the perfect time to help your baby explore different textures through play dough, play snow, and other moldable adventures.
Chapter Three in Breaking Busy helps identify your gifts, passions, and calling to explore how you can use those things in the midst of the life you’re currently living. How fun is that!
#3. Break Out the Red Pen.
Here’s a ridiculous news flash that made my sister roll her eyes and laugh: I realized, reading Chapter Four, that I COULD STOP DOING STUFF I ALWAYS DID.
I know that’s not exactly profound, but I had gotten into the groove of life and just assumed everything on my list was there for a good reason.
It’s like those baby socks that keep going through the wash, even though the “baby” is six years old.
We just need to take the time to stop and throw out the socks. They’re just wasteful clutter complicating your life.
It was freeing, really, to sit and listen to Alli talk about the difference between proactive and reactive life edits and how I can effectively use them to find the “socks” I need to keep and those I need to toss.
#4. Practice Truth Talk
Chapter Five of Breaking Busy is about analyzing your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and God. It’s easily the most highlighted chapter in my book.
Alli doesn’t pull any punches here. This Gentle Giant was stomping ALL UP IN MY STUFF on this one. Check this out:
- “Each of us has a false script that runs through our head, a lie we believe about God based on our life experiences.” (p. 107)
- “Gratitude is the antidote to anxiety.” (p. 105)
- “Fear is a powerful beast – and the more we give in to the things we are afraid of, the more power fear has in our lives.” (p. 108)
Then, of course, my absolute favorite quote of this chapter…
That hamster wheel of busyness, where we try to be “good enough,” is a never-ending cycle of stress and anxiety.
I need to turn my thoughts towards God, and let the assurance of His love and care for me guide my decisions, time, and efforts.
#5. Don’t Sweat the Big (or Small) Decisions
Cameron and I have a huge decision coming up this year. I’m pretty much talking to God about it constantly. I’ve been a Christian long enough to know God will reveal the right answer at the right time.
Not worried, but definitely thoughtful. How does someone make a decision like this? The pros and cons are straight down the middle! There’s Scripture on both sides!
Enter Breaking Busy. God is so good. Chapter Eight lays out some very practical tools to use when you’re making a decision, big or small.
Right away I grabbed a piece of paper and started working through Alli’s “Five F’s of Decision Making” approach.
Alli presents two different Decision-Making Frameworks for you to use in Chapter 8. Each one breaks down potentially overwhelming situations into manageable, bite-sized pieces. This allows you to keep moving through the issue and avoid getting stuck, causing a build-up of stress.
Did we make a decision on that issue? No. We won’t have all the facts needed until March.
But I know now how to organize those facts in a way that helps us pray and seek God in a much more specific way, rather than just some random Scripture searches and a “Please help me!” prayer.
Beyond Time Management
Breaking Busy isn’t just about managing your time better.
It’s about those little decisions you make in the cracks of everyday life.
It’s about family. Fulfillment. Calling. Friendships. Communication. Even your self-worth. (Yes. She goes there.)
All those values we think are taking center stage, but really end up being the understudy to the understudy.
I think my favorite thing about Breaking Busy is how practical it is. With every chapter, Alli shares several Action Points to help you really start making adjustments.
It’s a faith-based book that doesn’t let you sit back and ponder. It’s written for action, which is exactly the kind of advice you need! You don’t need to think over your crazy life! You need to do something about it!
Who’s with me?
Who’s willing to allow God’s Gentle Giant to walk around the living room of your mind and start clearing out the unnecessary and highlighting the truly important?
Pick up your copy, start your Keurig, warm up your rocking chair, and let’s get started!
The article above was sponsored by Zondervan, who provided an early copy for me to read. I agreed to write this post because I really, truly, loved the book. Friends don’t give friends fake endorsements. 🙂
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