Read an Excerpt
Hurry Less, Worry Less for Moms
By Judy Christie
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2011 Judy Christie
All rights reserved.
A Map for Mom
Being the Person You Are Meant to Be
Encouraging Word: You can make needed changes.
Everyday Step: Set aside a few minutes to assess your life.
When I worry if I am doing enough or am good enough, I pray about it and know that the only person I am to please is God. I need to ask for direction in my life. If I am doing what God wants, that is enough. I have peace inside when I focus on God and not on my own insecurities.—A Mom's Thoughts
In the sixth grade, I was sent on an errand to a neighborhood store. While I was there, I was unable to resist the urge to linger at each counter, captivated by a host of items that called out to a girl my age.
Engrossed in one display near the wall, I took a step back—and tumbled into a cardboard box sitting behind me in the narrow aisle.
As awkward moves go, this was a doozy. I was now sitting on my bottom in the oversized box, with my legs hanging over the side. The box was too big to hop out of, but too small for me to turn around and stand up. I certainly wasn't going to call for help, letting someone else see my predicament.
My problem-solving skills began to mature in that moment. I rocked the box until I got enough momentum to turn it over. Then I crawled out, looked around to make sure no one had noticed, righted the box, and scampered out as though nothing had happened. I'm not sure I even bought the item I had been sent for.
Perhaps as a mom you know that feeling.
One minute you are standing right where you want to be, and the next you've tumbled into an uncomfortable place. You need a good supply of problem solving.
Everywhere you turn you'll find moms who love their children with all their hearts but who are desperate to slow down and enjoy life more. They make hundreds of great decisions each and every day, taking care of the smallest details and the biggest catastrophes. Even so, they too often feel as though they somehow don't measure up or can't get it quite right.
They run as fast as they can, but remain behind where they think they should be. Trying to close that gap brings on an immense amount of frustration and guilt.
Getting out of the box requires step-by-step focus and uses mom fuel you might not even know you have—energy you get from making a fresh appraisal of what you love about being a mom, from strengthening your faith and doing more of what matters most to you.
Perhaps you need to be reminded of how much you accomplish every day, how special you are, and how your gifts and talents make you unique. Maybe you can take a step back and consider what works well in your life and what needs tweaking. Moms are geniuses at getting things done. They cherish their children and want to be present in the moment.
Most moms go at such a rapid clip that they seldom take time to gauge the life they long for. They may know what they need or want to do but can't quite get around to doing it. Or they have it all figured out—and still find themselves slipping back into old patterns that don't work for them and their families.
Have you ever zoomed through a big mall or airport, trying to figure out where you need to go? You rely on one of those maps that says "you are here," but that doesn't automatically get you where you want to be.
So it is for moms.
You are here.
Now's a good time to consider anew where "here" is.
Get your bearings on the map that is your life.
Figure out where you want to go.
That will help you determine how to get there.
And then set out. If you get turned around, step back, regroup, and get back on the right path. You'll probably have to stop and get your bearings again and again. Don't lose heart if it doesn't all go according to that neat little plan you have in your mind or spelled out on your calendar.
You are here, Mom.
Remember: Wherever "here" is in your life, it is a perfect spot from which to take a new look. "Here" is the place where God is going to use you; it is the place where you will grow; it is the spot where you will touch the lives of your family members in a way that no one else on the entire planet can.
"Here" is the jumping-off point for making changes you have needed or wanted to make for a while or for helping you find contentment in the life you have.
You are here, Mom.
And you're not here alone. God guides you and is in control.
Many women share your concerns and joys and empathize with your battles. Words like organized chaos and bombardment and typical overloaded family sprinkle the conversations of mothers. Pause and ask God to help you. Embark on this as a private journey, or invite other moms to travel this road with you. Destination: fuller and richer time with your family.
Most mothers have dreams for themselves and their families. These often include more joy, peace, calm, faith, and fun; more organization and less procrastination; a good nap now and then; and help with the logistics of life. They want to be better at balancing home and work. They want good things for their children. They would like to feel that once, just once, they could complete something.
Take a deep breath. Climb out of your box, and begin to think about what you want your life to look like. Figuring this out may not be the easiest thing to do, but it is fulfilling and can help you find more meaning as a mom.
You, Your Family, and God
Get to know yourself and your family better, being aware of what makes you tick, your strengths, and the areas that may need improvement. Consider your relationship with God. Depend on others.
This is not a do-it-yourself project, although it is intensely personal. You will need the interaction and influence of people around you, from a child to a mate to your best gal pal. You may get out of the box by yourself, but it's tough to stay on the right path without the support of others. Call upon family and friends, a community of faith, and your coworkers.
Perhaps you are like many moms who want to live more fully—more meaningfully, joyfully, peacefully, faithfully, prayerfully, thankfully, hopefully, powerfully. That goal of living fully is within reach and can be adapted to match your life and your family, different from any other person or family in the entire world.
Christ said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That is a promise that moms can lean on every single day.
Your family needs you to live fully. The world needs you to live fully.
And you need you to live fully.
As you consider moving toward being the mom you want to be, know that you can do it. This can work for you, in your life. It may mean making changes, some that are so easy they surprise you and some that are so tough they scare you. You may have to teach yourself to live in the moment and not give in to fear about the future.
Why is it important to hurry less and worry less as a mom?
It is impossible to live fully when you are hurried and worried most of the time. Unless you can learn to slow down and fret less, you may never feel satisfied with your daily life, content, or calm. You may spend your days thinking if only or some day. I have seen this in the lives of many women, including my own. Hurry and worry are roadblocks to getting where you want to be, wherever that is, whoever you are.
Remember the map mentioned above? Imagine your frustration if you followed directions and ran into a brick wall, unable to get to the right destination. So it goes as a harried mom who tries to do too much and is anxious too much of the time.
One of a Kind
As you ponder your life, remember that you and your family are one of a kind. Consider your individual situation as you make choices and shape changes.
You don't have to be supermom. You are called to be a loving mom who does her best.
You don't have to have all the answers. Now and then you just have to ask the right questions.
One of the young mothers I admire greatly is a part-time teacher and the mother of three children. She consistently stresses the importance of being true to yourself and your family: "My main suggestion as a mom is not to compare yourself to others. I've had to realize that I can contribute what I can, but my focus is on my family. We have dinner together virtually every night. My husband and I go out together almost every weekend. Raising balanced, well-adjusted children is key to me, as well as having a good marriage. Both of my parents were married twice. Honestly, before we married, I didn't really know what a good marriage looked like. Therefore, I am not the übervolunteer in the community, church, or school. I do what I can. At another time in my life I will probably go back to teaching full-time and have more time to volunteer. I will enjoy it then, but right now I cannot do that and keep my mind."
A mother of eight avoids "the comparison trap." She says, "I look to God's word to reshape my thinking. I know the Lord has a plan for my life."
Part of this journey is learning to know yourself better, an ongoing adventure. You will grow as you understand who you are and listen for God's guidance in your life.
To help you on this journey:
Depend on God. "Come near to God and he will come near to you" (James 4:8).
Appreciate your calling as a mom. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).
Try again when you stumble. "Create in me a pure heart, O God, / and renew a steadfast spirit within me. / Do not cast me from your presence / or take your Holy Spirit from me. / Restore to me the joy of your salvation / and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me" (Psalm 51:10-12).
Lay those words down against your life, and use them for support. Your role as a mother is a special calling. You will need to renew your spirit from time to time. Don't be afraid, God tells you. No matter what motherhood throws at you, God will be there to guide you, to help when you feel overwhelmed.
Figure out steps to take.You are here. Where do you want or need to go as a mom?
Decide what brings meaning to your life as a mom. You may need to learn to say no to activities or commitments that take too much time. You may want to say yes to a daily quiet time or a visit with a friend. You may have taken a detour from spending time with your family and need to find your way back. You may search for ways to be more peaceful and joyful in the midst of an often noisy, cranky world. Maybe you have found yourself slipping into negative thinking or being too grumpy with people you love. You may yearn for fun days with your family or a little more exercise to help you stay fit.
Celebrate your accomplishments as a mom. You're doing a permanent 24/7 job, nothing temporary here. This role comes without a written job description and requires a range of skills including providing medical care, teaching, accounting, cooking, party planning, and even fashion designing. One minute you're trying to pay the bills, and the next you're breaking up a squabble over the TV remote and reminding the children they're supposed to share. Or you're settling into a meeting at work and get a call about a sick child, or settling into bed after a long, hard day and your teen wants to tell you about a problem at school.
The Challenges, the Benefits
Momhood comes with many challenges, but it brings spectacular benefits, including the special love a child has for his or her mom, a relationship unlike any other, laughter, hugs, and stories you'll be telling till the end of your life—plus the impact that you will have on the world through your children.
Dozens of mothers reminded me anew that this is a journey, one that comes with many twists and turns. Your path may well change with seasons of time, depending on the ages of your children or family circumstances. Being a mom is like being on a long-distance run that will be jogged each hour of each day for years to come.
A Fresh Look, a Sacred Calling
Perhaps you are a new mom and want to outline your goals for motherhood. Or maybe you're a mom watching your children get older and looking for ways to enhance your family time. Maybe you're headed back to work after a season away—or taking a break from your career. Whatever stage of motherhood you are in, you can take a new look at your life and ponder the path you want to take.
As with many of the things you undertake, you'll feel better if you step back from time to time to assess how you're doing, to see what's working and what needs a little extra attention.
Try to look at your life with fresh eyes and not to judge yourself harshly. The calling to be a mom is sacred, and most moms try to be perfect.
Another Reminder: Perfection. Mom. Can't be done. Somehow it turns out right, even though many moms think they aren't doing it as well as they should.
From a mom: "I must say I often think that my children have done well despite having me for a mother." Many other moms agree. They judge themselves by a tough standard, yet beam when they talk about how incredible their children are.
When mothers speak of their lives, they know one thing. In the end, what they are proudest of, happiest about, and what they would give their lives for is their children. Their children matter most.
Find what works for you and how you can be the person you were called to be, to do your best and depend on God for help.
Many moms work full-time outside the home—and full-time inside the home. You are occupied with family activities and volunteer work and helping make communities better places.
Think about who you are. Are you aware of how you've changed as a mom? Are there new paths for you to venture down?
Jot a list of words that describe you. You might even want to ask a trusted friend or family member to list words to describe you. If your children are old enough, include them in this discussion. What words would they use to describe their mom?
You can do this in a notebook or a journal or just on a scrap of paper. It doesn't have to be a big project, but it can be a huge start in knowing yourself better at this stage of your journey.
Dozens of words may pop into your mind as you think about yourself, or you may have a tough time coming up with a list. Do any of these describe you?
Excerpted from Hurry Less, Worry Less for Moms by Judy Christie. Copyright © 2011 Judy Christie. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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