By Leah Heffner, contributing writer.
I can’t remember the last time I went somewhere, ALONE. Everywhere I go, whether it be the store, or church, or the zoo, or even the bathroom, I’m usually followed by a trail of Little Ducks.
My “entourage” as I like to call them.
Sometimes though, if I’m being really super, duper honest, I feel more like I move around with my own personal tornado of noise, activity, and mess.
And because of this, there are days when I see a need that someone has, whether it be for a meal, or a visit, or whatever, and I just can’t figure out how to make it happen. Because all I see is the mess it will take to get out of the house, the tornado of noise we will be at the store, and the all-over-the-place-ness that will be the reality, wherever we go.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I write through my thoughts on being “just” a mom. And as I think and write and reflect and pray, I see over and over how I’m not the only one struggling with this same thought. “How do I….What do I…When do I…do something…anything…in the middle of this?!?!”
So often, with so many people offering so many opinions about what a mom should and shouldn’t do, should and shouldn’t be, how she should and shouldn’t be using her time, we feel paralyzed. We don’t know how to go or how to move forward.
And I know that even in the middle of my personal tornado, I can be helpful to other people; a lifeline, a hot meal, a whatever. That doesn’t mean I have to say “yes” to every single things that comes my way, but those life-giving things, those things that pull on my heart-strings, those things that keep showing up in my path, those things that not only fit into my financial, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual gas tank appropriations, but that also fill it back up? THOSE are the things I want to find a way to say yes to.
But how do we do that? How do we say YES to “the thing”? Is it best to wait until the kids are out of the house? Is it best to dive in now? What’s the “right” way to do this with our
personal tornadoes entourages following closely behind?
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to these questions, here are some things to consider:
- Check in with your Family Mission Statement. In short, a family mission statement shows in writing what the priority for your family is. If your “thing” can’t run in conjunction to your family’s number 1 priority, all while maintaining that priority, it needs to be a no.
- Factor in your emotional capacity. It’s easy to look at the bank account, the calendar, and even the background thought involved in a project and completely miss the emotional investment.
- Is this “thing” something you can do as a couple or as a family? Is this time away and separate from them? This is more of a logistical question but one I come back to over and over with three small kids, a nursing baby, homeschooling, and not having my mom nearby. Time away just looks differently right now.
- Is this “thing” a BIG thing? If so, are there ways you can say small yeses right in the middle of your every-day-ness? If you have a heart for adoption, can you say yes to that t-shirt for a friend’s adoption? If you want to support a missionary, can you babysit their kids while they attend meetings? If you feel like women’s ministry might be your thing, can you start by texting a friend regularly to encourage and uplift her?
- Remember that every “yes” is a “no” someplace else. Consider how saying yes to something that isn’t yours to say yes to hands no’s out in places where you really want to be saying yes.
Sometimes, after you’ve weighed all these questions, prayed, talked with your husband, and prayed some more, the answer is “not right now”. And sometimes the answer is “yes right now”. Both of these are good answers. Both of these are hard answers.
When it comes down to it, if what you’re desperately wanting to do is glorify God in your decision and action, and the “thing” isn’t immoral, then there can really be no wrong choice. Our God is a God of creativity and just like there’s no one-size-fits-all mold in creation, there’s no one-size-fits-all mold for how we step forward in faith to serve with our gifts in a way God is compelling us.
My yeses look differently these days, when they’re followed by a tornado, but my entourage is what makes the work all the more worth it.
What is something you’d love to say “yes” to now or in the future?