I was tired, teary and hungry. That’s such a bad combination when you actually still want to be nice to people, especially those who call you Mommy.
I had such good intentions to stay calm that morning despite getting very little sleep the night before.
I’d been helping with an important school fundraiser project, but at that moment I was wondering why I agreed to do so much. Being in charge of a large part of the event sounded fun when I’d signed up. But the fun quickly turned to stress. I’d underestimated how much time it would realistically take. Plus I’d completely overestimated my capacity to have the necessary energy to carry this to completion.
Then two other volunteers backed out and there I was, once again, frantic and frazzled.
Chaos nipped at the edges of my frayed nerves.
Somewhere between the lost permission slip that had to be signed, the misplaced library book due the week before, and the only bread available for sandwiches having mold on it, calm eluded me.
I pinched off the edges of the bread and toasted it. Surely that would fix it, right?
Then my youngest marched into the kitchen announcing it was chapel day at school and she needed a Bible. I instructed her to go get the pink one Grandma had given her.
“I lost that last month and my teacher keeps telling me to remind you to get me a Bible. I have to bring one today no exceptions or excuses,” she said in a tone I was afraid mimicked the way her teacher said it to her. Clearly, I was greatly impressing this teacher.
And clearly, this was yet another demonstration that I was failing as a mom. Her Bible had been lost for a month and I didn’t have a clue. Awesome.
“Take mine from my nightstand. Just make sure you bring it back home today,” I quipped, thankful to have a solution.
A few minutes later Bible girl came back, “I can’t find yours either. It’s not on your nightstand.”
Quickly my brain darted this way and that way through all the possible reasons why my Bible wouldn’t be on my nightstand. After tracing my steps and thinking through the last place I remembered having it, I realized I must have left it at church … four days earlier.
Awesome. And yet another glaring reminder of my shortcomings.
I wrote a note to the teacher explaining we were apparently having Bible-location issues in our family and that I would absolutely make sure my daughter had a Bible for next week’s chapel. Nothing humbles this Bible teacher quite like having to write a note like that.
Then I loaded up the kids in the van as the clock glared its reminder I would be late getting them to school again.
I imagine you might relate to this scenario even if the details are different.
I’m learning how important it is to be more realistic with assessing both how much time something is going to take and my capacity to fulfill that task. Knowing that I tend to underestimate time and overestimate my capacity, I must build in a buffer.
I’ve decided my time buffer should be 15 minutes. If I think something is going to take me an hour, I schedule one hour and 15 minutes. Anytime I make an exception to this, I regret it. And then if it takes me less time, I’m always grateful for the 15 minutes of breathing room.
Imagine how much more calm we’d all be with little spaces of breathing room tucked throughout our day!
Psalm 39:6-7 reminds us, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” (NLT)
All this rushing will end in nothing. That’s a sobering thought to a girl like me. A girl who is learning to be more honest about her time and her capacity. Why is it that the hardest person to be honest with sometimes is ourselves?
So today, let’s commit to unrush.
To better use the two most powerful words, yes and no.
And to place our hope in the Lord’s hands as we seek the Best Yes answers for our lives.
If you feel like you’ve set your life to the rhythm of rush and wish things could be different, my book The Best Yes can help. Get your copy here.
Today I’m giving away 5 copies of The Best Yes. To be entered to win, comment below with one way you’re going to tuck a little extra breathing room into your life this week.