Generation Cedar

This blinking cursor stares at me, mocks me–“You have to write something!“–and every blink is another second gone by and I want to make it go away.

There’s a lot I want to make go away. This sadness which isn’t real, the dust bunnies under my couch that aren’t nearly as fun to clean as other stuff like jumping on the trampoline with my four year old.

That’s the thing. Life begs us for attention to so many things. Too many we can ever do. We determine to knuckle down and do them–answer all the emails, go all the places, juggle meals with phone calls, be superhuman–no matter what, then we find ourselves with chest pains and tense muscles and adrenal overload until one day we wake up and the body says, “That’s it. I’m done.”

And just like that the chest pains are gone but so is the energy and motivation and the life-is-so-wonderful feeling. Everything just stops.

And in that quiet place we are forced to admit we can’t do it all. Not even close. We must choose. And if we don’t choose wisely, in the end, we will have deep regrets.

So when this lifts and I can see clearly again, I might say “no” more often. I might choose only a few good things and do them the best I can and refuse to let the other stuff bother me.

Because I am human, like you.  Will you choose with me? And we’ll stop letting expectations run our schedules and let appointments with Winnie-the-Pooh do it instead.

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30 Responses

  1. Right on, Kelly. We can’t do it all, not even close as you say, but the unmet expectations we hold for ourselves can cause us so much stress and even depression. Sometimes our unrealistic expectations come from within us, sometimes we pick up the real or imagined expectations of others. I have a to-do list very similar to yours. It has seven things on it: 1) Love God, 2)love everyone around me, 3)laugh every day, 4)go outside, breathe fresh air, walk in the sunshine, 5)kiss my husband, 6)drink cool, fresh water, and 7)eat yummy things like fresh fruits & veggies, and dark chocolate!

    Post that list of yours somewhere where you and everyone else can see it!

  2. Oh, {{{Kelly}}} prayers for you, dear sister. That’s a hard place; the tension, and then the nothingness.

    You are making a wise choice to scale back to the important and let go of the urgent. May you find peace as you let yourself fall back into the arms of our Lord, Who faithfully carries His people. His yoke is easy and His burden light.

    I’m here with you in prayer, wherever the sovereign Lord takes you on this journey, Kelly. Love you, sweet friend.

  3. Timely, as always! Today my theme has been, “There is more to do than can be done!” and then instead of doing something useful, I play a game on my iPad, using my head cold as an excuse for not being productive. (And it’s a good excuse!)

    A friend likes to remind me that if all the children are breathing at the end of the day and the house didn’t burn down, this was a good day. I remind myself of that when I get wound up.

    I rather like Cindy’s list, too!

    I wonder if Satan was just tormenting us today, trying to crack the whip and make us feel like losers. Resist him and he will flee.

    Go take a bath, eat something good and get to bed on time. The dust bunnies can worry about themselves.

    1. I love your advice. I did something even better. My husband had bought us tickets to see our favorite comedian this weekend, including an overnight stay. I feel so refreshed.

  4. I too struggle with the same feelings! There are days when I wish we would just STOP gardening… but spring comes and we just… can’t help it… but then, harvest comes and with it the craziness of what to do with all the produce… Also, I wonder how my inability to keep up with laundry and dishes at times will effect my children’s sense of peace (and whether they will be lazy and develop bad habits of leaving laundry around)… I know that too much chaos isn’t restful–and mess/dirt tends to BE chaotic… But neither do I want to turn into the mother that is sooo OCD about dirt and housework that I NEVER manage to read to them, cuddle them, laugh with them, lick icing spoons with them… and so on. I really am struggling with the homeschool concept. Many homeschoolers look at history and point and say: “Look at Abe Lincoln and Laura Ingalls WIlder. They were homeschooled and were fine.” I say in response, that is true, but “schooling” wasn’t compulsory at that time and whatever “ma” managed to fit in was enough… If a certain season of life hit them (like grasshoppers or blizzards or a new baby) and there was more work than time for study, then study was pushed to the backburner for a time–and there were NO repercussions. Ma took her responsibility seriously, and her girls did fine despite periods when I’m sure no official studying was completed. Now, if you homeschool, there are (in many states) some sort of minimum requirements you must adhere to, and if you have more than one child, keeping track of what you do AND doing it all can be overwhelming… As well as try to run a household WHILE everyone’s running around IN IT. The pressure NEVER STOPS. So while I find the concept of homeschooling good, it’s harder to do it in our culture these days, and is becoming less friendly to large families. Sometimes I want to say to my district and state, “JUST BACK OFF!” and live my life without this feeling of pressure… And to be okay with *gasp* 120 “official” days of “school”…(and say, “it’s NONE of your business!!”) Or to have time to spend sewing/mending for my family, or to have canning season be less pressured, or to not fear having another baby (because how can I do it with even more babies?)… and so on… And you hear about how important it is to find the time to “recharge”… and hmm.. how many mothers of many children actually find 2-3 days to do this? Especially on very limited budgets? I am seeing that our modern society almost doesn’t let you make the choices you need to make for your family, when you try to go a certain direction… and all that is exhausting… I also have been grappling with the concept of dying to self, and how this is worked out in the life of a mother/wife. And where the physical/emotional energy comes from to keep on keepin on. Our culture often tells us to feed our flesh so that we can keep on serving and not get burned out. Trouble is, eating chocolate, drinking wine, watching tv, reading books etc are what they suggest… it’s ALL feeding the flesh. (I’m not referring to caring for yourself by eating healthy, exercising etc). Our job is largely dying to self, all day every day without a break… And knowing that I CAN’T do it in my own strength is just depressing to me, in that it constantly points out to me how I am NOT abiding in Him… And the trouble is, my flesh often WANTS to run the other way toward chocolate, books and all the rest… (not the wine so much 😉 ) and NOT toward Christ… sigh…

    1. Laura,

      I so wish I could help you in this hard season. Remember it is only a season. You are doing GOOD work. And, find a way to have some fun. No matter what has to go. And I’m wondering, for your school records, I think you should be able to use some of those activities for school–home ec., horticulture, etc. Do what’s important to you and make it fit the criteria, instead of the other way around, to the extent that you are able.

  5. So true and this one is a daily reminder! Mine includes prayer and bible time in the morning, no matter what. It really sets the tone for my day. Since the weather has been absolutely stunning, we’ve been spending more time outdoors these past few weeks. Some things have been left undone here too (namely clean bedrooms and cleaning up outside) and, just for now, I’ve been choosing wisely. Typing this as children nap to make make use of time on hand.

    Now I really want to plan a fall party! Ha. I adore fall and we aren’t the party having people typically but getting friends and family together to sit around a bonfire with easy convenience foods and something made with pumpkin may just get on the list.

  6. Just breathe, Kelly, and let God do the rest. That’s all I’m going to say. Love you, friend, and my prayers are with you.

  7. My heart goes out to you, Kelly! I wish I could send you a cup of hot cocoa and and a real, live hug.

    My banner verses have become Psalm 62:7-8: “In God is my salvation and my glory, the rock of my strength; in God is my trust. Trust in him always, ye people; pour out your hearts before him, for God is our hope. Selah. (Geneva)” I turn here on the best of days and on the worst of days…. It is so fitting for both.

    Would love to say more, but my words fail me, and His Word never does, so I’ll leave it at that. Will be praying for you, Kelly!!

  8. Kelly, I am a young wife and mom, just on the beginning of the parenting journey, so I don’t have much to share that you probably haven’t already learned from your own walk with God. But, as we expect our third blessing in a few weeks, and have walked the border on PPD after both our boys, I thought I would share a few verses that I’ve held onto when I couldn’t think of going on..

    Psalm 94:18-19, Psalm 42:5, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 116:5-9

    May you feel His gentle and calm presence, and as you continue on, keeping it simple and doing what is needed, He is enough. His joy is enough. And He will carry and guide you minute by minute if you will let Him lead you.

  9. Dear Sweet Kelly~
    Praying across time and space for you right now. I thought of Eccl. 3, “To everything there is a season” because I was just reading it yesterday. I just now went back to it and saw verse 11 differently, thinking of you: “He hath made every thing beautiful in His time.” The EVERYTHING jumped out at me so loud tonight. And it so fits with 1 Thess. 5:24 “Faithful is He that calleth you who also will do it.” He called you, Kelly, to the very life you are living. He chose you to be right where you are ~ and He WILL make it BEAUTIFUL. Though now, you may feel like dust ~ He gets that too, “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14 Many times I say, “I am dust, Lord, remember?” And one very beautiful thing about getting older is this: There are more trials to look back on with fortitude that comes from having seen the Lord walk me through something that seemed impossible at the time. I don’t get stronger. I hold on tighter. I know you get all that, but sometimes we just need to hear back stuff we’ve said to encourage others. And encourage you have! Love to you dear sister in Christ, Claudia

    1. Ooh! Those words, “dust” and “beautiful” spawned a metaphor in my brain. You may feel like the famous painter, on his back, up against a ceiling for months at a time, wondering if you’ll ever get through it. But you are Michelangelo, and we are your Sistine Chapel. 🙂

  10. Kelly, I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way! I have been there. In addition to dealing with this from a spiritual standpoint through prayer and the Word, I would recommend a good Vitamin B complex supplement, food based preferably…if you are not already doing this. It helped me immensely. May you be blessed with strength and peace, a “tree planted by rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither”. Blessings, Rachael

  11. Hang on Kelly. It will pass 😉
    And then you will look back and say: Boy, that was a great time of my life! Wasn’t so bad after all…
    Anyway, that’s what I’m telling myself every day.
    God knows best (even though we sinners don’t agree).
    (SIGH)
    (SMILE)

  12. Wow, Kelly! Have been feeling the same here too. I have felt “stuck”. So much to do, yet no motivation to do any of it. This is not my personality…I’m a “let’s get this done” kinda gal.

    I love all of the wonderful encouragement and Scriptures above. I’ll just add that my hormones were out of whack, so I began taking a tincture called YW (Young Woman) from Butterfly Express. It has balanced things for me and I am beginning to feel normal again. St. John’s Wort has done wonders for me when I have felt blue. (in fact, I wrote a post for Brandy at TMM about all of this…it should be published in the next week or two.)

    I know God has us in places for His purposes, and we learn much as we reflect upon what He is revealing to us, but I definitely wanted to mention the hormone issue in case it’s a possibility. I’m 40 with 10 kids as well…my body is doing new and strange things! lol Praying for you, Friend. Glad to hear your overnight stay with hubby refreshed you!

  13. Rereading this one today…

    This means so much to me: “I might say “no” more often. I might choose only a few good things and do them the best I can and refuse to let the other stuff bother me.

    Because I am human, like you. Will you choose with me?”

    A resounding “Yes!” to that question, Kelly. Thank you. You give voice to so many of my deepest longings, and inspire me toward healthier living and so much more.

    I have not chosen to do a few things well — I want to do *everything* well, and the “everything” I’ve chosen is too much.

    I thank you so much for the voice of inspiration and encouragement you have been and continue to be in my life. When the Lord lifts you out of this quiet place of reflection, please know that whatever the few good things are that you choose, or however you proceed from there, you will continue to be a blessing to me, Kelly. You’ve so faithfully and lovingly invested in me and many others, and that will yield lifelong benefits through God’s gracious hand.

    Thank you for your willingness to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord, following where He leads, though the path is sometimes difficult. You are a blessing.

    Love, peace and God’s richest blessings to you, my friend.

  14. Dear friend I miss you so!!! I know I was supposed to read this post! I have to admit I have never felt more overwhelmed than I do, right now, in this season of my life. I have also never felt so blessed, so humbled by God’ s gracious goodness to me even through suffering. I recently came across these verses and they made me smile and cry at the same time.:). Psalm 73: 26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”. I am in the valley with you. our mighty God is holding us helping us put one foot in front of the other. teaching us to choose the best things. Thank you for expressing my heart as you so often do! We love you all! Love and prayers, Jen

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