A few years back I sat on my then-10-year-old's bed and fretted over whether I should undertake another book project. My schedule was already packed, and I was feeling stretched too thin. At the same time, I felt like I needed to say yes to this project. While I knew my child couldn't fix my dilemma, I was so consumed by it that it shadowed the very space between us. Sure enough, my worry leaked out.
"Eva," I pondered, "Do you think I should write another book?"
Her answer surprised me with its simplicity: "Do you want to write another book, Mom?"
My mind was so lodged between the last commitment and the next that I hadn't taken even a second to consider what I wanted to do. No, my only concern was what I could still fit in my hours and minutes. My criteria for making a big decision wasn't about what was best for my family or me. It was about packing one more "to do" into my overdone days.
This seems to be my specialty: overcommitting and facing the resulting stress. I squeeze in two more errands when I'm already late and the kids are crabby. I undertake a "feast" for company instead of offering a simple meal. I promise my children stay-up-late nights, forgetting that I have an early commitment the next day. I say yes instead of no way too often. The results aren't pretty.
While there's nothing wrong with being an on-the-go mom, accomplishing much in little time, I wonder just how far we can all take this lifestyle. Multi-tasking for women has become multi-insanity: we have to have multiple personalities to keep up! I'm told that the Chinese character for "busyness" is actually made up of two separate concepts, heart and killing, linked together. Busyness is heart-killing. And boy is my heart in trouble.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
Jesus speaks to moms like me (and you?) who are weary and burdened by the stresses of life, whether self-imposed or unavoidable. One simple action is all that is needed?come. An entreaty. An invitation. Come. Sit in a nest of rest near my altar. It's what I want for you. In fact, I want for you what you want for yourself. Are you willing to set aside everything that pulls at you and be with me?
Our response need not be complicated. God isn't asking us to carve out yet another meeting on our calendars. Rather, he's asking us to be quiet before him, not necessarily to do more but perhaps instead to do nothing.
A 10-minute reading of a favorite Psalm while our children are napping. A quiet moment of prayer in the car on the road from daycare to work. A suds-filled bathtime late at night to wash away the strain by reviewing all God has done in and through us that day.
"Come," he whispers. Will you? Will you gently ask not what more can you do, but what do you need to do? Will you make it your business to slow the pace of your busyness and find out? That's the challenge I face and one I hope I can meet with God's strength and divine peace.
Elisa Morgan is president of MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) International. Her most recent book is When Husband & Wife Become Mom and Dad, with Carol Kuykendall (Zondervan). For information about a mops group in your area, call (800) 929-1287.
Copyright © 2001 by the author or Christianity Today/Christian Parenting Today Magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Christian Parenting Today.