I freely admit....
I let multiple balls drop.
I tried juggling too many and kept many up in the air for the right reasons, but in order to keep them going I was stretching myself too thin and neglecting too many important areas.
It became apparent to others and most definitely visible to me.
The last couple of weeks have shown me just how lost in the shuffle I had been.
I still have a LOT on my plate and it still takes some serious organization and constant evaluation of priorities, but I'm beginning to see a shift in many areas. Shifting back in to place. Fewer balls in the air and therefore lots less to have to pick up at the end of the day. Less guilt to carry. Less wondering how to make it all work together.
Making the changes were far from easy, but it's been vital. Some of the changes even hit the budget HARD since it involved greatly reducing the hours or days that I do childcare. Some changes meant letting go of things I LOVE....
After a couple of weeks of "slowing down", I'm finding just how much I was barely hanging on. I'm so thankful for a husband and close friends that helped me see the need to step back and reevaluate.
This time last year, I was finally on a good health path and was losing weight steadily and my health was at the best it had been in regards to lupus as it had been in years. I felt vibrant and confident that I could maintain those changes. Fall hit. I took on too much and didn't let go of others. To survive, I put myself on the bottom of the list. Literally in too much pain and severely exhausted (not just tired) to the point that I had nothing left to give. It greatly affected how we ate. I began to rely on convenience food, take-out, and anything that could be grabbed on the run. Obviously it packed back on the pounds, but more than that it was poisoning my body. Adding more stress to a body that already attacks itself. Unable to exercise because it just was literally impossible. I had worked HARD to get to the point that I was running a 5K 4 or 5 days a week (running.....as in so slow that walking MAY have been faster!). The last few months it seemed like a struggle to just make up the bed! Just standing in the kitchen over the stove or washing dishes literally left me in tears most days. Running? Are you kidding?!
Though we have a LONG way to go to get back to where we were and then continue to move in a positive direction, we are back on the right track. The changes we've made in responsibilities and schedules has allowed me to slowly work my way back into the kitchen---not relying on the "easy", but working towards the healthy. My energy is far from restored, it's a slow process---but the changes already taking place are indescribable. We've also started the journey towards being gluten and dairy free. It's hard. BUT.....it's doable. Finding every day that it is worth it for what differences I'm seeing. As the pain lessens and the energy starts to recover, I know that I'm going to benefit from having more physical freedom. My body was telling me with multiple signs that I had to make changes, but I waited so long to listen. We're getting back on the 5K journey. Though the one we are doing in a few weeks will have to be 100% walked---I'm happy to know that we are back committed and before long I'll be ready to start running again.
I'm also finding that I'm coming back to being myself more and more.
So many countless things got put off or ignored. Some things little and some not so little.
I'm finding more joy in the little things again.
I had lost that.
Just to sit down and write an email to someone struggling or better yet---a handwritten note/card has been extremely therapeutic. That part of me had been missing for so long and it's almost a vital part of who I am.
Just to stop and LISTEN and talk with my children---with no specific purpose has been priceless. To be more fully present when spending time with my husband---instead of running through a list in my head of things I need to be doing or trying to solve the "next" problem. To stop and listen to the birds....or slow down when a little one wants to pick up ANOTHER rock to throw in the creek.
It's made me realize how very little I was truly present. I appeared to be balancing it all.
But I wasn't.
I'm still not...
...but I'm at least keeping a few more things on track than before!
Instead of just hearing worship in the background, I can really listen to the words. Almost as if I'm hearing words for the first time even though I've heard or even been singing along for months.
Instead of just quickly grabbing a few words of Scripture as survival, I'm spending more time DEEPLY in it and thriving.
Situations come up daily that once would derail me completely, but now I feel like I have enough mental capacity to work through them. Life before had become nothing but a blur.
I'm feel like I'm waking up for the first time in a long time.
Seems like it's not just nature that's had a spring renewal. As the grass is finally turning green, trees are starting to bud, and a few flowers are beginning to sprout....I feel like I'm in the same place. Just coming back to life after a REALLY long and tough winter. Poking through the ground. A little slowly at tentatively at first and then boldly and confidently.
Just as it's tradition and a necessary task, spring cleaning is also in process around here.
Not only in our physical home, but in our physical bodies and our emotional/spiritual ones. Working on cleaning out some areas and repairing others. Purging. Letting go. Shining up.
I truly love spring.
I love the awakening. I love the new life. I love the hope. I love the fresh vision.
I love that winter is over.