Today’s episode of Cultivating Grace is sponsored by:
Finding Joy in the Story You are In
Hey, it’s Rachel from Finding Joy. When I was a little girl, we used to go to Southern Minnesota to visit my grandpa and grandma. My grandparents were farmers, and during harvest time, I rarely saw my grandpa. In fact, I rarely saw my grandma.
You see, my grandpa was in the field harvesting, and my grandma was in the kitchen, making food for all the men who were out in the field working. I never doubted that my grandpa or my grandma loved me. In fact, I knew deep down, even though they never said it, that because they were busy during that time harvesting, that was a sign of their love.
I know that sometimes in motherhood, you have these seasons where you can be incredibly busy, and you feel like your busyness is taking away from spending time with your kids. I want you to look at busy in two different ways today.
First of all, I want you to wonder about what type of busy you’re busy with. In fact, think back to my grandpa and grandma. When it was harvest time, they weren’t upstairs playing with us, they weren’t coloring new pictures with us or taking us on trips. They weren’t reorganizing the pantry, they were working.
Sometimes in motherhood, we have seasons where we actually have to work hard, and it means that we don’t have time with the kids. Sometimes we can feel guilt about taking time away from them. But you see, in actuality, you’re not taking time away from the kids, you’re doing what you need to do because you love them.
It’s guilt that makes us think that we need to be doing something else. In fact, guilt often denies the truth about our lives. You see, guilt distorts what we should be doing and tells us that we’re not a good enough mom or that we should be doing this or we shouldn’t have done that. It makes us forget all the beautiful things that we’re actually doing every single day. So, if you’re in a season where you have to work really hard or you’re not sitting down there, cutting out paper dolls or the next craft with your kids, that’s okay because it’s just a season.
Here’s the second thing I want you to know about busy, sometimes we can be busy in places that we think are the right spots to be busy in. In fact, it can seem noble to be busy. We can tell our friends, look at everything that we got done. But let me ask you this, are you busy in places that actually change your life? Are you busy in places that you should be busy in? Or are you spending your time being busy in places that make you feel like you’ve accomplished much, but it’s actually making you take away time from doing what you need to have done?
Think back to my grandpa and my grandma. They weren’t in the barn, shining those tractor attachments or my grandma wasn’t reorganizing her pantry. They were busy in places that they needed to be busy. I know for myself and my story, I can find myself busy in things that really don’t matter. There have been times where I need to make a phone call and I find myself in the laundry room, reorganizing boxes and sorting toys. I wasn’t busy in the places that mattered in that moment. I was using busy as a way to deny, to kind of disguise what I needed to do. At the end of the day, I could say, “Hey, look, I got everything done. I just was too busy. I didn’t get to that.” But is busy keeping us from doing what we need to do?
I want you to look at your to-do list really carefully, and with a gentle but yet critical eye, are there things on your to-do list that you have in the urgent spot that really don’t belong there? Look at each item, look at it carefully. Yes, it’s good to have a clean house, yes, it’s good to get things done. But sometimes, there are other things that need to be in that spot, like getting your taxes done.
Think about this, do you take time in your busy to take care of yourself? It’s so easy to be so busy taking care of everything else that you put yourself on the back burner. But you’re important too. You wouldn’t tell your kids, “Just keep going. Just keeping busy. Don’t ever take time off.” You make sure that they have moments in their day where they can get that breath again, where they can take time off.
You see, my grandma and grandpa had this collection of pictures on their wall, and every Spring, before planting began or any of the new seasons started, my grandma and grandpa would take a trip. Sometimes they’d be standing on a boat with a ship wheel behind them, sometimes they’d go to the mountains, but whatever it is, they would always take time back for themselves. Do you do that for yourself or are you in a constant state of busy?
Time is going to pass no matter what. Your kids are going to grow, the busy is going to change, but what won’t change is whether you decided in your busy to keep it rightly ordered and to take time for yourself. It’s a balance, balancing busy and doing what you need to do, and figuring out if you’re really spending time in the right spaces.
One of the things I’ve learned being a mom almost 23 years is that I’m going to make mistakes, but the mistakes don’t need to define. If my grandpa and grandma had a season where the harvest wasn’t as great, it didn’t mean that they stopped farming, it meant that they learned from the mistakes from the last year, sometimes they just had to give themselves grace because the weather dictated things beyond their control. It’s the same in our own lives. We have outside things that happen that we have to adapt to, and sometimes we just make mistakes. But what really matters, it matters that you stand up again and you keep on trying, day after day, good day after bad day, night after night.
Life was never meant to be a perfect collection of stories. Think about that. That would be the most dull, most boring story out there. Most stories have stories of triumph and stories of falling, of times where people figure out what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. It’s the same in our day to day life. If you’re busy right now and space is where you think, “You know what, I really should change that,” don’t be hard on yourself, learn from it. Figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it, and give yourself grace for the moments when you don’t know what you want to do.
Listen, I appreciate you. There were days in my life where I had seven kids home at one time. I was homeschooling, the dishes were piling up, there were books everywhere, toddlers who dumped out things that I had just put away. I know what it’s like to be busy, but I also know what it’s like to not know what to do next or to lose my heart. You’re the one in charge of your heart. You’re the one that decides that you’re going to take time for yourself today, that you’re going to give yourself grace, and that you’re going to try your best.
The Brave Art of Motherhood
That’s really what the brave art of motherhood is. It’s not being perfect, it’s not knowing all the answers, it’s not even having the life that you thought it would be. It’s in trying every single day, knowing that you’re doing your best and loving your children.
That’s why I wrote the Brave Art of Motherhood. It’s really a rally cry for moms to find their heart again, to fight fear, to have that confidence. It’s never about being perfect, but it’s really about finding joy in the story that you’re living right now.
Rachel believes in the power of the human spirit to overcome, to thrive and to find deep joy and because of that she pours out her heart via these platforms: she is the writer behind the site FindingJoy.net and author of The Brave Art of Motherhood. Her articles have been translated into over 25 languages, her site reaches millions of visitors per month and she has a robust, engaged Facebook community.
Her content has been featured in The Huffington Post, iVillage, The Today Show, Star Tribune, iVillage, Stuff New Zealand, PopSugar, Motherly, Parents, What to Expect, NBC Parents, IJR, Dr. Greene, and many more. She speaks worldwide encouraging moms and entrepreneurs to live each day with purpose and drive. Beyond that, she’s a single mom to seven, and calls Nashville, Tennessee, her home.
Find Rachel online at her Finding Joy Blog Facebook Page