Saturday, March 7, 2015

on joy and the temporary relief of "me time"

I teach piano lessons Tuesday afternoons. The other day a mom asked me, "why do you always look cute?" She is home with her 4 kiddos and knows I have 2 little ones too. I explained I really only "get dressed" (in the shower + makeup + outfit sense of the term) on Tuesdays & Sundays. Sometimes I'll throw together a cute outfit for some other reason, or just for fun, and Addie will say, "momma teach piano lessons today?" Perhaps she assumes teaching piano lessons would be the only reason to put on cute shoes? And if I do decide to 'get ready' while both of my children are awake, the above picture accurately portrays the situation.

One of the hardest adjustments going from 1 to 2 kiddos was the decrease of 'me' time. i thought i didn't have much time when i had one kid. but actually, compared to 2 kids, i had WAY more time to myself. [and i'm sure all the parents with more than 2 are reminiscing to the good old days when life was easy and they had only 2.]

i think i thought i deserved me time.
everyone told me i did.
"you should get your nails done"
"just buy yourself a cup of coffee."
"just do a little shopping"
"you'll feel better if you can have a night to yourself."

and all those things are nice and were said by well-meaning people.
but more importantly, i would say those things to myself. i would think - "ugh if i could just get a night to myself, i'd feel refreshed." and i believed it.

don't get me wrong - "me" time is fine. and sometimes time by yourself is refreshing. [parents, if you can give your spouse an hour to themselves, do it!!!!]

BUT, what if "me time" doesn't come?
what if you go from holidays to snowed in to everyone passing around the kind of green-snot-producing virus that you can't drop your kids off anywhere to your husband going out of town to the kids naps not quite lining up so you can never leave the house?
or what if you are working 50 hours a week and trying to squeeze in any time you can get with your littles?
or what if town is 30 minutes away and you don't have 2 hours to run 1 errand?
or what if you get your me time, but come home to chaos?
or what if you make breakfast like this every day for 5 years? :)

i think the default is - just mope until you get something that tides you over with temporary happiness, be it a mani pedi or a night at starbucks.
have a pity party in the corner, grow increasingly irritable with your kids, take it out on your spouse until they say, "honey do you need some alone time?"

well, i know you would never do that, but that is my default.

Here's the thing though, you don't live differently from default mode on accident.
A life better than default has to be on purpose.
You don't end up with the promotion or the accomplished dreams or the 4.0 on accident.

And you don't end up a joyful, grace-filled, patient mom just by getting a mani pedi once a month or treating yourself to a girls night out.

When we rely on anything besides the perfect grace of God, we will grow weary.

Me time is great, but it's temporary relief. the happiness is fleeting. and when the coffee is gone and the manicure has chipped away, your joy doesn't have to drain away too. Let's rely on something bigger and stronger than ourselves. or rather, Someone. that's where I'm at.
it's a choice most days - the joy of the Lord is my strength (Neh 8:10), not the promise of my next moment alone.
You can choose to do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
You can choose to ask for wisdom from the God who gives generously to all.
You can know that he gives grace upon grace, plant your feet on the Solid Rock, and rise up with wings to live above default. to flourish where you are right now.