Yesterday morning, Monday morning, I woke up knowing that we were going to face a lot to do this week. The first thing I did was just sit there in bed listening to our house coming alive with the sound of our kids waking up.
First was my oldest, he kind of gets up and thumps out of bed, dragging his feet to the bathroom and back to get dressed. Then he races off to get ready as fast as possible so he can have as much time as possible to play video games before it is time to leave for school. His rush to get ready usually wakes up our daughter, the two year old. She wakes up and immediately runs to find me or her dad. She might climb our bed and beg to cuddle and watch cartoons. If you are not there she just follows her brother and helps herself to breakfast before playing. Our middle child, now he is our sleepy guy. You can't get him up early. No. He is grouchy in the morning. If you try to take his covers away he tightens his grip on them like a boa constrictor. If you lift him from the bed he hangs onto the bed with all his might, eyes closed the whole time. He doesn't like waking up. When he finally does he wants breakfast, right now!
After my oldest was off to school and Brent was off to work I had a hard time getting myself going. I had a lot to pray about, a lot to just think about, and a lot more to do. I needed to respond to some emails about our Financial Peace class, I needed to print documents, I needed to figure out a snack for 30 people, I had on my mind a lesson I needed to plan for high school youth group, I was thinking about several people I need to pray for, I was thinking about an event I needed to finish planning for the school, a phone reminder told me I needed to confirm a dentist appointment which reminded me I have a hair appointment coming up but also that I was very behind on my physical for this year as well as my eye check up. I thought about the cleaning and laundry that I needed to finish. I also realized I hadn't been to the gym in a while.
You know what I decided to do? In he middle of just feeling a teeny bit overwhelmed?
I decided to take my kids to the park. We had our first days of beautiful spring weather and right then I really felt like the important thing to do was to grab a bike and wagon and walk to the park. The kids played on the swing, the slides, and we sang songs (mostly Frozen) and played tag. Yes, I played tag. For a whole hour it was just play. Then we went home.
It was then that I made a plan to tackle it all. That was my clarity. That was my moment of peace that centered my day. That is where I welcomed freedom. Freedom to choose what was important. Freedom to change my itinerary.
I didn't conquer the world. I didn't get everything done. I got the important and necessary things done.
I replied to all my emails. I made arrangements to print everything I needed. I picked up cupcakes for the snack. I decided to pray about the lesson plan a little more when praying that night. I took care of what I could for appointments and planning. The rest I let go.
I sometimes get stuck in my rigid routine and schedule and forget to just live and break a few rules. Usually they are rules that I have made for myself. Ones that don't always make sense. It is usually my kids that convince me to let go. They teach me that my expectations don't need to be so high. The show me how to find joy in little things, to be happy. The want me to love myself. They want me to fill my love tank and my needs too.
Yesterday morning, my tank was filling a little low. I needed something to run on. All it took was one hour to fill me up. One hour of pure fun and happiness without interruptions. It took singing and tag to set me free. Not a schedule, not a plan. It took having fun and being impulsive and not thinking like an adult. I needed fun. I needed to be free like a child. That is what made me happy.
We all need to be happy. Happiness is what keeps us going. Being happy is what we need. You don't find it in a list of accomplishments. You don't find it in things you buy. You don't find it by doing what makes someone else happy. You find it when you love yourself. You find it when you love yourself enough and give yourself permission to seek out joy. That is life balance. That is happiness.