Thursday, March 4, 2010

breathe (part2)

this post is quite long... please bear with me.

on my previous post ... i had mentioned feeling exhausted.. almost like drowning with no air. while thinking about what i wrote the other day, the image of a flight attendant came to mind. if you've ridden in a plane before.. then im sure you can picture the attendant standing in the aisle mouthing these very words.

"In the event of a sudden change of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the top of the cabin. When the oxygen masks come down, put your own mask on before attempting to help those around you."

that quote just resonates so much with me at this moment since there has been a sudden change of pressure in my life as of recently.

even since February happened.... i've been tired all the time... i haven't been able to concentrate much and i've felt really weak (not just physically but emotionally as well). i had shared what i was feeling to one of the nurses i work with and she told me that i was
FATIGUED and i was doing too much and i needed rest.

while she was telling me that, i visualized a person wearing too many hats at once that it became too heavy for them to carry... and instead of taking off some of the hats... the person went on about their daily business, trying to pretend like the heavy-ness didn't bother them. in the end... ALL the hats fell off and the person was left with nothing.

then i realized that if i wasn't careful, that could easily be me.

you see, as a single mother - i already wear more hats than a "normal person" usually does. and well aside from my daily routine of working and homeschooling full-time... i attend a sunday service, i also pray, teach, volunteer, counsel, attend bible studies (i attend 2 or 3 a week), lead bible studies (once a week), attend worship nights, and more. i also work, work, work so i can pay my bills. i will babysit or massage just to make extra money to make ends meet.

needless to say: i involve myself in a lot of things... and it's not because someone is forcing me to do so. nope. it's actually because i love being around people. i love church. i love serving. i love learning. i love giving. i love leading.

but in the midst of all that - i forgot one of the most important things that i needed to do - which is to prioritize and take care of me as well. i often forget that the people in church who can serve all the time are the people who get paid to do that.. because it is my dream to be in ministry one day... i often volunteer in order for me to take steps towards my dream. on the other hand, i forget that i have a full time job outside of church and i had other responsibilities and everything else i was doing was adding more hats that i could carry on my head.

you see, last month, i would attend bible studies and church events left and right, even in the middle of packing and moving. then i would go home to a messy house and b*t*h on my son or my sister coz they spilled something or one of the dogs peed on accident. i would stress myself out coz i had no time to pack and move and yet found time to "minister" to others. and i found that happening to me more often than usual.

and this weekend, after moving into my new place... i felt sooooooo completely tired and weak that i became fatigued. i could hear the Holy Spirit telling me "woman...what are you doing? you are not "single", stop acting like you are. you are a single mother! who is going to take care of you if you are not going to take care of yourself? your priority next to Me should be you and your son... not those bible studies... not serving me more... not doing more things for me... i love you even if you don't do those things for a season... it's okay... for this season let things that aren't a high priority go, just breathe and be with Me."

then i remembered a book that i had read about 8 years ago. in Elizabeth George's book: A Woman After God's Own Heart, she had mentioned how important it was to set priorities straight.
1. First is time with God
2. Second is spouse (i dont have one so my son is my #2 priority)
3. Third is your children
4. Fourth is your home
5. Fifth is your own personal growth
6. Sixth is your ministry (ministries)
7. and last is anything else that doesn't fall into those first six categories.

i was getting things all mixed up. i thought i was doing #1 while all the while i was doing #5 and #6 while letting go of my #2 priority - my son and my #3 my home. i was so caught up in serving, worshiping, learning, ministering, praying, leading (my dreams) that
i forgot to just BE.

so right now... i need to step away from everything and do some prioritizing. some of it will be temporary (maybe till the end of this month until im done unpacking and fixing my home) and some will be permanent. coz i know God doesnt want all those hats to fall but he certainly doesnt want me to try and carry all of it by myself either.

i've already started this week... by not attending extra church activities for the mean time... and learning to leave work early so i have more time to rest. i will step away from everything that isn't a high priority and focus on what is most important in the mean time (which is God, my son, my home, my personal growth). i will allow Him to prune me in order to bring have more fruit. i will learn to put my own mask first and breathe before i go out and help someone else put their mask on. in the end, the result will bring Him more glory as i bear MUCH FRUIT. and when i do start my own ministry, i will already have learned the art of prioritizing so i dont ever get burned out again.

to my dear friends, i will be M.I.A. (missing-in-action) a lot this month (even for events and parties). please don't take it personally if i say NO to you. please don't think i've backslid. LOL! i just need this time to be with God and rest in Him until His joy will recharge my strength.

Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." - Nehemiah 8:10 NIV