Tending the Right Fires
We are a culture of people who have bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up to us. -Brene Brown
Never let the fire go out…when you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Share with God’s people who are in need. Welcome others into your home. -Romans 12:11-13
You can’t truly rest until every area of your life rests in God. -A.W. Tozer
October was a crazy month. My house was constantly a mess, at least it felt that way. It seemed like I would clean something, and then just a few short hours later, it would look like I did absolutely nothing. And the rest of the house would remain a disaster. But then again, maybe this is just the normal of having two young kids in our home.
Each family member rotated in getting sick this past month, and of course, mom got the worst of it. Thankfully, my 7-month-old barely had anything worth noting.
My husband and I attended three weddings in a row. How often does that happen, especially in October? It was awesome having those date nights together and celebrating with friends, but yes, it made for a very full month for both us.
And to top it all off, attempt #4 of potty training started on November 1st. Yes, this is our fourth attempt with the same child. Thanks be to God, it’s going much better this time around. For anyone else who may find themselves needing to potty train in the fall, we’ve found having the Halloween candy around has been a good incentive for “going poopy on the big boy potty”. Yes, yes, I know. The sugar. But, it’s working, and this is attempt #4.
Before all the craziness of October, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) started back in September. MOPS takes place twice a month at our church. It’s a safe place for moms to meet, have a hot breakfast, hear guest speakers, converse with adults, craft, and play games. And most importantly, we support one another. It’s definitely allowed me the time to reset when I can have some time away from my kids.
The theme for this year’s MOPS has been “Find Your Fire”.
To be honest, when this season of MOPS started, I didn’t really want to contemplate “finding my fire”. The emotional baggage I’ve been carrying with the loss of my father, has been a lot on top of everything else going on this fall.
“Finding my Fire” initially seemed like one more thing I needed to be doing, but God has actually been directing me to stop doing and contemplate what I am doing in order to find that fire.
More times than I want to admit, I’ve wanted to curl up into a ball and run away from the fires popping up here and there in my life. Not knowing which fires to tend to, I took on too much in an effort to distract myself away from the hurt that came with this year. I clung to another commitment, another set activity, another thing on my calendar without ever really contemplating if that thing was good, healthy, and the right thing for right now.
As I look back at the month of October, it was truly a blur. Beyond the regular day-to-day craziness of maintaining a house, caring for my family, and trying to survive each day, there were added events, occasions to be celebrated, commitments, and so-forth. I committed myself to being busy, then busier, until I completely broke down.
I drove myself into the chaos of too many things, too many fires to tend, and not enough energy to keep them going. With so many things going on in my life, and very little thought or guidance as to what was most important or needed, I ended up snuffing out my own flame.
The illness I had this past month, completely knocked me off my feet. I could barely take care of myself, and I definitely couldn’t take care of my family. Thankfully, my husband and in-laws helped me out quite a bit.
Getting sick on top of an already busy month definitely put me over the edge. Clearly, I had overstretched myself when I got to the point of feeling so run-down and drained.
Through my fire being snuffed out, God brought me to a place of humility. A place of ultimately needing Him, desiring Him more, and realizing that His plans and His things are far greater than mine.
I’ve been clinging to what I know. Old habits. Old routines. Instead of clinging to Whom I know.
I’ve had to quit trying to control by hanging on to the familiar. Instead, I’ve needed to…
Sacrifice the comfortable for the uncomfortable in the unknown.
And most importantly, seek God in it all.
My simple prayer has been, “What needs to go because this can’t all stay?” This has been a scary prayer. For me, it’s easier to put more into my schedule, keep busy, rather than contemplate the what and why of what I’m doing.
These things that I’ve been clinging to aren’t bad. They’re just fires that aren’t meant to be tended by me. And maybe they’re waiting for someone else tend to their flames. These fires have been holding me back from a place of rest and trust in what God has planned for my life right now and for my future.
When there’s too much on my plate, I’m not allowing God the time and space to work in my life; I’m not allowing healing and restoration to take place. Cramming my life full of things to do has been good for distraction, but it’s also been overwhelming, and it’s gotten me to a place where I’ve felt so tired and I’ve felt too rushed.
In this season of life, God is directing me to take a few steps back, to look at what I’m doing, and pray about what fires need the most tending and what fires need to be put out or passed on.
I’m choosing to tend to my God-given fire, the fire that was meant to rise high, rather than spread thin.