It’s so easy to say, “Nope, I don’t have time.” And believe me, I’ve spent more than my share of time complaining and being a victim of “time shortage.” As busy moms, we always feel we just can’t do more. Rightfully so, we have a million things to do. Doing more often feels like a burden and can bring feelings of overwhelm and fear.
But we don’t have to feel this way! Here’s why, God knows you better than you know yourself! He knows what you can and cannot do. And he wants to guide you, if you’ll let him. So when you’re faced with an opportunity to grow and learn, make sure you don’t just immediately turn it down. Evaluate it, ponder it, and pray about it. It just may be the chance God wants to show you what He can do.
I want to tell you an experience I had years ago when I had four little ones at home. They were probably seven or eight and under and I was a busy, busy, busy mom. I did some volunteer work at church and in the community. I was homeschooling these four little kids and we had a little co-op. In our co-op we would get together for some educational classes where I had to help prepare for the classes. I helped my husband every now and again in business. And of course I had a house to keep up, the shopping to do, cooking, cleaning, caring for the kids in general, my own friendships and other responsibilities.I know, you’ve probably been there or you’re there right now!
Well, I was really maxed out! BUT, on top of all of this, I was working on my degree. When I had been turned on to homeschool and self education, I had discovered a liberal arts school where I could study online on my own. I was super excited about it and I was working on that in order to improve myself and become a better homeschool mom.
So, when I say I was really, really, really maxed out, I mean it.
Around this time I found out that the school I was attending was having a lecture series that I really wanted to attend. They were going to cover some things that I was already working on and I wanted to learn more. In order to leave my family for the whole weekend to attend this lecture series, we had to get a babysitter and the whole nine yards.
The seminar was fantastic and there were a lot of great people there; the majority of them lived close to me. By the second day, I started having these recurring thoughts like, “What would be really great for everyone here is if they had a place to connect after this seminar series. If they could continue to build the relationships that they’re creating here, if they could continue to read great stuff and discuss it with each other, they could continue to progress in the things we’re learning.”
As I said, the college I was attending used a liberal arts curriculum which utilized the Socratic discussion method. This meant that we wrote questions down and then took them to the classes where we would hold group discussions. Consequently, I had learned a lot about how to run a good book discussion and I loved doing it. I knew it was a great learning tool as well. So, I had some ideas about how I would run a book group but I knew I didn’t have the time. That’s why I fought this idea over and over again for the next two days. I’d have thoughts like, “Blaine (my husband) is going to kill me if I try to do one more thing. Besides I don’t have the time. Just think of all the implications of what this book club would mean. I would have to get the house totally clean for these people every month! I’d have to make sure my children were taken care of somewhere else. Besides, Blaine works in the evenings quite often and probably couldn’t help me.”
Additionally, I would have to prepare for this thing. I’d have to decide what we were going to do for the readings and what we would discuss. I’d also need to come up with an inspiring beginning for every discussion, a great closing and everything else. Honestly, it just felt like too much to take on and I just wasn’t ready to do one more thing.
However, this recurring thought kept nagging me and nagging me and nagging me.
Finally I did what I was supposed to do and I prayed about it. I went back to the seminar the next day and I gave in. I just said, “Okay fine. I will do this.” This was also a hard decision to make because I didn’t want to start the group it and then fail at it.
That would be SUPER embarrassing. I didn’t want to commit to it and then not be able to do a good job. I knew if I committed I was going to have to follow through. That’s why it was really hard to take on one more thing when I was so maxed out and so busy.
Well, it turned out to be a phenomenal experience! It also taught me some really important lessons that I want to share with you. You probably already know these things but it’s good to have a reminder now and again. And perhaps if you haven’t thought about it quite this way, this will be helpful.
If you’re a mom that’s feeling maxed out and this whole idea of life mission, self education and self-discovery just sounds like one more thing to do that you don’t feel like you can make time for, BUT there is something about it that is calling you and you feel like it is something that you should consider, I want to share with you one of the things that happened to me when I started up this book club.
I started by passing around a paper for people to sign up so I could send them email reminders about where, when and other important details of the book group. At the first meeting, 12-15 people showed up. I was really surprised. It was a pretty good turnout and we had a great experience. I shared my educational story, why I loved learning and what I had been doing so far in my own education. They were really excited about that and they really wanted to be on this journey with me. They wanted to work on their own education and participate in this book club with me.
We were all super excited! Then something amazing happened. Every month I would have an experience at some point during the month, usually near the beginning of the month because God knows what a planner I am. I would simply be given the information for the next month’s meeting. It would just kind of be gifted to me. It would just come to me. A light would just go on in my mind and I would realize, “Oh, this is what we should do. This is what I should open with. This is the story I should tell. I should share these things with them. We should talk about this part in the book. This is the book we should read for the next month and this is how I should introduce it. I should give a little author bio.” Or any number of other insights, ideas or tweaks to the group that continued to make it a great experience.
It just came! It was amazing to watch this little miracle happen to me. To watch how when I took on something that wasn’t my first choice and that I didn’t really want to do, God showed me that He was going to make up the difference. He was going to expand my time. He was going to increase my capacity and enable me to do this book club with almost no extra time required. I mean aside from the little time when I would write down what we were going to do. And, since I was going to read anyway, reading the books every month didn’t add any time. I just kept studying for my degree and every month we would have this book discussion that was just phenomenal.
Honestly, I was blessed more than anybody else in this experience. That’s what happens when you accept the opportunity to grow. You realize all these incredible things about yourself. Through this experience I built some incredible friendships that that are still friendships that I have today. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I like teaching and that I’m a good teacher. I learned that I could form a community because what happened over time was this book club grew. First it was 15 and then 20 and then 25 and eventually we had about 50 people descending on our house every month. I had to divide them up into separate rooms in the house because 50 was way too many to have a quality discussion.
Eventually I realized that God wanted me to do more. He wanted to move me to the next step. He let me know that I should take this book club and create a community; that this community should become a community of families that do things together, that have a family ball every year, a Shakespeare night for couples, a science experiment opportunity for the children. Incredibly, I already had the people around me to give me the help that I needed.
So we formed some systems, made some plans and we sent out invitations. To launch the community we had a formal meeting and the community grew. Over the next year it grew to over a hundred families. This too was a phenomenal experience and once again I gained more than anybody else. I learned much more about who I am, about what I’m capable of. I watched God use me to bless other people. I watched Him increase my capacity, help me to grow and become more than I had been before.
That’s the adventure and opportunity that life mission offers to moms.
It can be hard to listen to those promptings and to answer that call that you feel but you will be forever changed.
So, if you’re feeling maxed out. If you’re feeling like you can’t take on another thing. I would challenge you to take a better look at your life and think about what’s most important, what can be let go of and what’s nagging you. If you’re having nagging feelings about something you need to take on, my guess is that is God inviting you to have an opportunity to grow, to expand your capacity and opportunities. He would love an opportunity to slip into your life and show you that He can expand who you are and what you’re capable of doing.
In the process, you will discover all kinds of amazing things about yourself that you didn’t know. I can promise you that because I had this experience and I’ve had many others where that happened to me as well. Please take that challenge to commit yourself to growth, to increasing your capacity and to listening to those little opportunities that will make you more than you currently are.