Peeling Myself Off the Wall

I just piled up 47 of the 64 Christmas-themed library books I checked out last week, most of them unread. I'll be returning them, to make them available for others.

I also just deleted the rough drafts of eight Christmas Around the World posts I'd planned here for the next week and a half, because I recently made the very hard decision to forgo doing more of the series in our homeschool this year. So, though I know some of you have been following along in your own homes, I hope you'll understand and that the 12 posts already here will be enough for now.

It's not that I suddenly have anything against Christmas. On the contrary, I really wanted to spend concerted time this month enjoying fun Christmas unit studies with the girls - and, in fact, we will be continuing with our Truth in the Tinsel Advent study and The Wonder of Christmas devotional readings. I'll also finish our lunchtime read-aloud, Nancy and Plum, and read some of the remaining library books just for fun. My husband will also keep up with the girls' current bedtime story, The Christmas Barn, a book he says is absolutely wonderful.

But I have hit a wall. Well, I actually smacked into it a while ago - way back at the end of summer, in fact. However, I've been foolishly trying to act since then as if nothing were wrong, attempting to seamlessly juggle all the aspects of my busy life as a Christian homeschooling wife and mother, babysitter, and writer...even while I've been sucking the proverbial plaster.

It started when I made a couple of poor decisions in late August that I've allowed to snowball ever since, even though I know better. As a result, I am now physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. Running on fumes, in fact. And, as a side effect of all that, I've not been managing my time well, which means I find myself staying up too late too often...and, even though I am somewhat of a night owl, it's gotten way out of hand in terms of my overall schedule.

And then my church, with which I've been deeply involved for over 12 years, has been in the midst of major turmoil since early October. As my mother-in-law so wisely pointed out recently, I can't let that dictate the rest of my life - and it really doesn't. But the stress and angst is very real...both because of the situation itself and because we don't yet know how or when it'll resolve, or what that will mean for us. If Purgatory were real, our church would be in it at the moment.

Add to that a disappointment my husband suffered at work last month - something he (and we) will work through, but an issue that grates nonetheless - and the busyness of the Christmas season, even though I try very hard to avoid getting caught up in the "perfect Christmas" myth. And, frankly, I'm surprised I haven't completely fallen apart.

But I realized today that I'm on the edge of it.

Thankfully, I have a very good idea of what it'll take to peel myself off the wall and get walking on the right path again. But that's going to take some time, mental energy, and concerted effort. And so, for a number of reasons, I've decided - among other things - to create that space for myself by cutting short our Christmas Around the World study.

On the one hand, that makes me feel like a loser...because the You-Should-Be-Able-to-Finish-What-You-Started voice bounces around in my head. But, conversely, I'm relieved.

I really can't begin to explain the darkness of the place I'm in. And I know it'll take a lot more than a simple schedule change to get right; in fact, I could lighten our academic load now and still end up crammed deeper into the wall when 2012 dawns in a few weeks. So there's much more to it than simplifying and shortening our remaining December "school days" - but that decision is going to give me some intellectual and emotional "margin," as well as a bit of necessary time, for doing what I really feel I have to do...finally.

I'm not going to be "fixed" on January 1. But I'm looking at the next three weeks as a beautiful, rather natural opportunity to jumpstart a process that really is imperative for me right now.

Prayers appreciated.


Stephanie said...

My heart and prayers go out to you Tina! I have been up against that wall many times, and it is hard to admit. Great post, and thank you for sharing what was in your heart and on your mind. You are not alone in this.

Simply Taunya said...

Tina, take a break. RELAX! It's really ok. I've been there and in some ways still very much there. Being a home educating parent can be draining. It's ok to say "I have too much on the plate." (HUGS)

Carol Flett said...

You're on the right track. Stop! Wait! Pray!
I do understand what you are going through, and am praying.

Conny said...

Very much understand ... I'm not good at cutting myself slack - but have learned something I HAVE TO!! It is best for me, my family, and all around me. Rest, regroup, refocus - revive.

Q said...

You tell that "You-Should-Be-Able-to-Finish-What-You-Started" voice to SHUT UP! We absolutely should NOT finish everything we start.

Sometimes to start something is a good thing, but every step of the way we have to ask, "Is this next step the best thing for my family? For me?" If it's not, then the Lord has better for us, and we DARE NOT continue to plow through. (And it doesn't matter if we're talking about a Christmas series of blog posts, involvement at church, keeping up appearances, our academic schedules, or another bite of french silk pie.)

If it's been revealed to you that the 'next steps' in a few areas aren't the Lord's BEST for you, then consider the permission to stop in the middle of a plan as a GIFT from GOD.

A gift from God for Christmas.

I think you've already attained the 'perfect Christmas'!

Big hugs and love to you!

Laurie Neverman, The Common Sense Woman said...

Oh honey, I've often wondered how you do all you do without breaking, considering the babysitting, the girls activities, writing, homeschooling and everything else. Please do give yourself permission to just let go of what can be let go to keep yourself stable. We are all only human.

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

May the Lord bless and keep you close in His care as you tend to your spirit and may you find peace and comfort, surrounded by the love of your family during this difficult time. I think you are very wise to allow yourself to "change plans midstream". And, I think this teaches your children that we are not bound to or by our "plans" but that when we trust in God and follow where He leads us...sometimes we make changes as we go along in order to refresh, renew, and re-energize our bodies, minds, and souls! I DO believe in Purgatory...though the word is not mentioned in Scripture (neither is "Trinity" but I believe in that too)...the idea of a "fire of purification" after death is mentioned and because of Matthew 12:32 which says that sins against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either in this life OR the next...I believe that since forgiveness is not necessary in heaven...nor is it possible in hell...that this verse tells us of a "place" "process" "means" where there IS forgiveness/purification after we die but before we enter the kingdom...anyway...that's just what I believe...and I pray for whatever trials your church may be going through that led you to use that analogy in your post. I imagine that whatever it is it must be pretty stressful...I hope that your congregation will find peace and grow closer to Christ through their trials. Thanks for always being so open and honest in your posts Tina...you are an inspiration for you show us that although life is not always easy...one can still have JOY...for your JOY shines through your beautiful family!

From The Heart Online said...

Mmm... I can sure understand this darkness. I just walked through a year of that myself - church upheaval is surprisingly draining emotionally. The year was a cocktail of wrestling.

In the darkness I cried thanks, because I knew God was working through what looked like a mess without end.

Now, emerged, I can see what I couldn't while it was happening; growth has happened.

I clung to the truth and encouragement of Hebrews 12:11-13:

"No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong."

I hope these words light your path too :)

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