When we finished homeschooling for the year (like last week,) I was looking forward to some relaxing! Maybe by the pool! I was picturing some version of this, only at my best friend’s pool, because I only have a little ankle pool that I bought for a gosling.
But then I started thinking about all these fun things we could do this summer now that school was done. I signed my kids up to go to camp for a week, I planned a trip to Six Flags for our youth group, and then I planned a mini-trip to take the same youth group to help at another church’s VBS for a week.
And then the kids reminded me that last year we hosted “camp” here at our house. So I also scheduled that.
And then there is a little family reunion in the end of July, and a dance camp and a theater camp, and meanwhile we still have youth group and small groups and music lessons.
And then at church, they announced the start of the lunch programs.
The lunch program is this really good ministry that our congregation puts on where everyone brings food and anyone from the community that shows up can have lunch Monday-Thursday during the summer. Usually it’s a whole lot of children, and we play games with them. It’s really good.
And it’s a lot.
I started to feel really overwhelmed. My summer started to feel like THIS: And it hasn’t even really started!
I think I mostly felt overwhelmed because I have been writing this book for about a year, and I have been really close to finishing it, but I have hardly had any time to work on it. Homeschooling and puppies and leading youth group and leading worship and doing the bulletins and visiting with friends and painting my kitchen and trying to keep up with housework for the last few months have been filling my life, and besides school, none of that really goes away. We just change it for summer stuff!
I kinda lost it. The night before the 4th of July, at youth group, we were talking about the next day, and marching in the parade, and I was trying to work out the details with my husband about what time we needed to be there, and what we need to do, and in addition to that, we had been asked to help with this really awesome outreach that was making pizzas to raise money for refugees, which is so good. So good.
But I just didn’t have it in me to do it all, and I lost it.
I just wanted to do nothing.
I read this book a few years back, by Lysa Terkheust, called The Best Yes. The point of it is to say that we often say yes to many good things, but we actually need to reserve room for the YES that is the best, most perfect thing the Lord has for us.
I feel like my book is that. I love writing my book. When I go to the Lord and I’m feeling overwhelmed, I feel like he gently says to me always, “Why aren’t you writing the book I’ve given you?”
And not in a guilt-ridden, burden heaping kind of way. But a gentle, kind way- like as if all these troubles I have brought to him are easy, and all he asks of me is to play at this novel I’m having fun with.
I have a hard time answering him. Sometimes I blame other people. I have three kids and a husband and family that we live with, and I know I am never giving enough to them. In addition to that, I have a church that I am deeply committed to, and honestly I feel like I should pour my life out for them, and I try to. I want to see the people of God thriving and healthy and encouraged all the time.
And there are so many outside of the church, too! I meet people all the time who I know just need a sympathetic person to see them, and love them, and I want to be Christ to them- to reach them with the good news of hope and life.
I want to do good wherever I can, and I find it hard to turn down an opportunity unless I specifically already have made a commitment.
And then there is the selfish, lazy side of me. The side that just wants to be alone, and to play a silly game on my phone, and listen to a podcast and maybe paint and maybe put away laundry with a BBC miniseries playing.
And then there is the social side of me- that misses my mother and my sister and my dad and my grandma, and who wants to sit for a long time on the phone and visit and reconnect.
All of these sides pull at me, and my book gets put on hold, and my devotions get cut short, and my patience wears thin, and my housekeeping goes to pot, and then I lose it.
That’s where I was the last few days. After I cried to my husband, and apologized to my kids, I cancelled a few appointments . I scrubbed our extremely neglected bathroom and spent awhile just singing to the Lord and trying to find him. And again he asked me…
“Why aren’t you writing the book I gave you?”
Because he did give it to me. That’s another story, for another time, but he did. And why I wasn’t writing it was a multitude of things: busyness, yes, but other things. Fear. Lack of faith. Doubt and frustration with my own lack of skill and talent. Feeling overwhelmed at the work. So many reasons.
But the Lord encouraged me, and comforted me, and reminded me that I am most at rest when I have said my best yes. I am most at peace when I am typing away at my book, even if the laundry is undone and I am late for a meeting.
So I opened it back up, and put in quite a few hours at it, and to my great surprise, I finished my first draft.
I don’t have a huge point to this blog post. I have already definitely over-committed myself this summer, and I might have to make some cut backs, which is embarrassing. But I guess I have learned this: When I am doing what I am called to do, things seem to work out. The Lord and I are good, ha! And it makes other things good.
I need to do a lot of editing, and a few more drafts, but I am excited beyond belief about this book. If you are ever interested in being a beta reader for a strange “alternative history” about a girl who turns into a giant, fallen angels, Noah, and the lamb of God, let me know! You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll probably get it when I get home from youth group. Or maybe when I get out of the pool.