Tonight, I had the blessing of an IHOP session with my sweet friend C. It’s a new tradition we have started in which we get our families fed, bathed, tucked in and settled and then we quickly flee to IHOP where we meet up for coffee and chatter.
It’s purely and simply put the two-however many hours we are there most wonderful parts of my weeks. There is no agenda. Just two worn out Mommas ready for conversation, laughter, tears, prayer and mutual encouragement. It’s a time when we can just let everything down and let each other in and just breathe.
Tonight as we shared and caught up on the weeks past, I spoke something out that stuck with me as I drove away and made my way home. I haven’t been able to stop reflecting on it since and I just knew it was something worth sharing here tonight. (This morning.. depending upon whichever time zone you may be reading this in.)
In life, just because invitations are extended to us, there is no obligation to accept them.
Let me repeat that in a different way. Just because someone extends you an invitation to something does not mean that you are required to accept it.
In this life, we as women, mothers, wives, daughters…we have so many things we are balancing at one time. Careers, families, homeschooling, ministries, meals, grocery shopping, cleaning, driving our kids all over the place, our own time. We get so caught up in trying to accommodate so many things and we get worn down. We find ourselves so tired and yet, someone sends us an invitation to yet another event, or an invitation to volunteer for just one more thing and we have this inner voice that says, “You can’t be rude. You have to accept because how will they feel? What will they think about you if you say no?”
Think about this for a moment. It sounds so profoundly simple but it isn’t. We live in a society that has conditioned us to think that not accepting these invitations means that we are rude, selfish, or even worse: incapable. It has conditioned us to believe that if we don’t have the strength to juggle all fifty billion and one things we are already doing AND still make it to that baby shower, then we are not woman enough.
Well, last time I checked, this gig in life comes in a package that says: “Batteries not included.”
There is not some magic battery that gives us energy. We come fully assembled with the need for us to be able to REST. To remember to put ourselves first. When our bodies are tired, we cannot just replace double A’s and keep on trucking. No. We have to learn to say no and learn to rest. To put ourselves first. To put our families first. Most importantly, to put God first because He alone is our source of strength and rest.
Superwoman is a fantasy. She isn’t real and there are not enough batteries in the world to help us come close to filling those shoes in our lives. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I have been exhausted nearly to the point of physical sickness and I felt this overwhelming obligation to say yes to something simply because the invitation was extended. It was the “right” thing to do.
But at the end of the day, the only true right thing to do is that which is best for yourself and your family. It’s okay to say no to that bridal shower. It’s okay to say no to organizing this year’s bake sale. It is absolutely okay to say no to anything that doesn’t bring you rest, build you up and replenish your weary heart.
The only place to find true peace comes from resting in the perfect knowledge that all that is truly required of us is to Love God and Love Others (and everything else required falls into place.). We don’t show love by saying yes to every single thing we are asked to do; we show love by being honest enough with ourselves and others to say, “I simply can’t.” There is love that radiates from a place of transparency in accepting that you are enough even in the moments of saying no.
Tonight, I pray that each of you who have been juggling far too many plates on your stack will begin to take down the unnecessary ones and focus on the ones that matter most. I pray that you will begin to find it enough to just rest in God’s goodness and be you. There is no task or activity worth your peace of mind and your spirit’s rest.
You are enough. And that baby shower will go on with or without you.
In Christ’s Love,