Many Catholic women try very hard to be Proverbs 31 wives and mothers. It’s an excellent goal, but frankly sometimes it can be exhausting. Are we doing enough? Are our efforts going to ‘pay off’? If we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, why is life still so hard?
These thoughts were swirling in my head recently and I wanted to offer a few ideas.
DOING the right things are important, BEING the right person is equally so. We are not machines. We are human beings, who need connection, interaction, encouragement, and rest.
Taking a planned vacation is good and healthy. So too is planning a night out with your spouse. But we also need to find moments each and every day that refresh and renew our spirits so we can be channels of grace to our families. It’s okay to rest.
It’s okay to rest.
IT’S OKAY TO REST!
(Get the picture?)
Right now, I am sitting near an open screened door. A gentle cool breeze is wafting in and I hear a stop and start melody of various birds, chirping their songs. I homeschool my youngest and she just asked me if she could take her handwriting outside and do it on the patio table. OF COURSE, I said! I am taking my moment, or one of them, that I will have throughout today. Enjoying a cup of hot coffee, pondering as I stood near the window this morning was another moment. A lingering hug with my husband before he walked out the door this morning for work was another. Other moments to refresh: a hot shower where the water pours over and cares melt away. A break at lunchtime for a brisk walk, sans makeup (got to absorb that vitamin D! ) with my daughter, mostly just asking questions, getting into her teenaged mind. Later, praying my Rosary and other prayers while I walk, lingering over thoughts of the meditations/mysteries and also the people for whom I am praying. Stretch. Take a deep breath. Make yourself some tea. Fix your hair and straighten your clothes so you feel pretty. These are all breaks we need whilst we are striving to become the women God calls us to be.
This afternoon is going to be crazy busy, driving-wise. I have commitments to do so at noon, 3 pm, 5:30, 7:15, and possibly (depending on my husband’s schedule) 9. But so far I’m not feeling at all pressured. That’s just what today is going to be! I’m not going to get any closets cleaned, schedules organized, or laundry done. BUT, the time driving can be quality time with the child with whom I am driving. On the way back from dropping her off I can roll down the windows and just think, or turn on the radio . It’s part of my job of wife and mother, to transport these children, to watch their recitals or classes or other things when invited. It is sometimes more important to BE than to DO.
The trick to not burning out. (or refreshing after feeling overwhelmed) is to pull back and find something that you personally find fulfilling. Prayer. Exercise. Quiet. Music. Gardening. Picking a bouquet for your table. Spontaneously splurging on an ice cream for the crew in the van. Cleaning out a drawer because darn it – it bugs you every time you open it.
Carve out time and space for these things. And don’t be afraid to just find a little corner of quiet and think. Meditate. Contemplate. Conjure up an image of one of the Mysteries of the Rosary and ask God to show you how it is relevant in your life at this very moment. For example, if the Mystery you choose is the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and asked her to be the mother of Jesus, you may just want to sit on that a moment. Surely she was like other girls having hopes and daydreams about her life. However, she immediately gave her fiat, her ‘yes’. In doing so, she exemplified complete trust in God for her future. How can I, you may ask, demonstrate similar trust in my life? What might God be asking me to do in this very moment? Another way to contemplate is to open up the Bible and meditate on a short scripture verse. Soak it in. Memorize it. That way you can pull it out whenever you need it. Try these verses for starters: Luke 12:27-40, Mark 4:30-34, Psalm 147:11, Joshua 1:9.
The point is, to be the women we are called to be (also relevant for men), we must take time to refresh. We must allow God to pour His grace into us, so we can offer that to others.