This morning was a usual hustle and bustle kind of morning. Cliff got ready to leave, Caleb was up, putting out the trash that he’d failed to get to yesterday before going to bed and I was tending to our dog who has developed a hot spot he hasn’t had in quite a while. This is the busy season for our family – and the next three weeks will be very busy with speaking engagements and wrapping up work for a couple of graduate classes I’ve worked on this spring. But I’m still trying to stay focused and engaged on being there for my family.
So I made pancakes for breakfast for Caleb this morning because he asked me too. But this morning, the batter exploded. Like, literally. Flour and water went “BOOM”. I would like to say it hit the fan (and that would be fairly accurate since 1) we have a fan in our kitchen and 2) the batter went everywhere and could quite possibly have gone that high). But I’ll just say it exploded and leave it at that.
I was using the little Bisquick Shake ‘N Pour bottle. Love these things because you just add water, shake, and pour. (Thus, the name, in case you weren’t sure.) But apparently I shook it too hard, because as I twisted the lid to open the bottle and pour the batter onto the griddle, I was surprised with a big PWOOOF that sounded like a fairly large plastic bag full of air exploding. I had pancake batter on my night shirt (pajama top sounds too pajamamy – this is just a comfortable t-shirt I like to sleep in occasionally), on the stove top, and the floor (and I will probably go back and check the fan after I write this). It seemed to be everywhere! Who knew that much pressure could build up from just adding water and shaking?
But of course, as I sighed and half-chuckled at myself, wiped up the batter mess and kept going on Caleb’s pancakes, I got to thinking about that pressure. (I’m never one to miss a spiritual lesson if I can find it – just wish sometimes I would learn these lessons BEFORE the batter is dripping off of my countertop and down my cabinets.)
Because, I think as wives, we deal with a lot of pressure, don’t we? Sometimes I think we’d like to blame others for putting that pressure on us, but in the end, if we’re honest, I think a lot of that pressure comes from ourselves. My husband doesn’t ask for a perfect house – I do. My son doesn’t care about a fancy breakfast or dinner – I’m the one more concerned about the little details than they are. And all of the things I deem so important… if I sat down and wrote out what really was important – well, many of the things I spend time and energy staying focused on probably would not be on that list.
Part of what I struggle with is that pressure doesn’t come at me all at once. It builds up, and it builds up usually because I’ve added too many things and taken on too much. That’s when the pressure becomes obvious but by then, well, it’s PRESSURE. I’m in the thick of it. And I guess the obvious answer to keeping that pressure from building is to not allow so many things to build up that pressure in the first place.
But what happens when the pressure is already built? Well, somewhere you have to release it. Somehow, you have to lessen it.
Give it to God. Psalm 29:11 says “The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Ideally, we need to give each day to God before it starts. But if you’ve found yourself past that, if you’ve found that you’ve missed a few days and now you’re in a big ole’ pressured pickle – you can still give it to God. And He will help guide you through it.
Start saying no. Learn from the pressure you find yourself in and start saying no to the things that aren’t important. Or learn to ask yourself to look for the great instead of the good. There are LOTS of good things I can do and be involved in; but I’ve learned (over and over I’m sorry to say) that I can’t do all of those good things. So I need to choose the great ones. And be content with greatness. Not consumption or perfection of it all.
Whittle down the list. I think for too long we’ve been told and have told ourselves we can do it all. And we have technology now to help us. But I think we’ve put ourselves on a dangerous slope by believing that. Because if I can do it all, why do I need others? Why do I need to work on relationships? I mean, if I have my smart phone, do I really need anything or anyone else? So I need to whittle down the list of what’s important for this season of my life. Notice I said for this season. You may have dreams of doing things or accomplishing something big for God. But this may not be the season. Your season right now may be to focus your energy and your time on your family. Or on your baby. Or learning to fix dinner so you can save money by not eating out every night. Seasons. Whittle down the list to what fits this season today. And pray about it first. Because your list, and God’s list for you, may be completely different. (I’d go with His, by the way).
So those are just some thoughts I wanted to share. I’m going to be whittling down my list. I’m going to try and learn to say no more. (This is a hard one for me.) And I’m definitely going to remind myself that giving this life to God is a daily requirement – not just when we get around to it, or feel like it.
Question: What’s one thing you can do today to ease the pressure you put on yourself?