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When you let go of “have to”

This year, my #thisis41 year, I’m learning that I am not essential in a lot of areas that I previously tried to own. They worked for a season, but maybe they were not for a lifetime. I have learned to let go of “have-to,” as in:

  • I don’t have to HOST ALL THE THINGS
  • I don’t have to ATTEND ALL THE THINGS
  • I don’t have to be in charge of or feel responsible for the social lives – or even holiday plans – of every adult in my family
  • I don’t have to be everyone’s BEST FRIEND, FAVORITE PERSON, or MOST ESSENTIAL HELPER.
  • And, Jesus take the wheel, I do not have to be a ONE WOMAN ENTERTAINMENT COMMITTEE for my kids.

There were a lot of factors that played into my decisions over the past seven years: trying to put down roots in a new home and region, dealing with business disappointments and financial rebuilding, trying to make friends, trying to make extended family, trying to work through the grief of two miscarriages, trying to homeschool my daughters, and trying to be a completely present mama for the bonus baby I birthed at age 38.

Those things accomplished, it is time for me a new season, in which I let go of those have-tos that I held to tightly getting here – whether they bring shininess or not – and get back to some core needs in myself that I have neglected.

This year, I have made fitness, travel, and creativity priorities,after taking long breaks from all three. These areas are essential to my emotional, physical, & spiritual wellness.

In order to do this effectively, I had to sacrifice some other things that were eating my time and energy.

What I discovered is that by managing my time (work stays at work, exercise takes place during a certain time of day, adult time and family time are non-negotiable [I’m working on non-negotiable “sabbath” time]), I can fit a lot of stuff in – all the essentials, lots of niceties, and many times, I have energy to spare, because I am taking care of myself.

Sometimes, when I am working out (in the convenience of my home, thank You, Lord!), my little boy bangs on the bedroom door and cries for me. Y’all, he is 3.5, I nursed him for 30 months, he is the baby of 5: he’s alright. He knows I love him.

Sometimes, I don’t immediately react to a text or call about a work issue. I work at a church. In spite of my not acting immediately, it has not had to cease operations, and no one, to my knowledge, has gone to hell because I forgot to post something on Facebook.

Sometimes, instead of “doing” something, I sit on my couch, at my desk, or even in my bed, and work on my novel or this blog. I love going out; I love social time. But something has to give in order for me to be able to write and work on my new show. So something does, and it’s okay.

It’s tempting – so tempting – to do everything we can. But old adages about candles burning at both ends are true! If you want to add something to your life, you often have to take something out. So pay attention to what inspires you and what drains you, seek God’s direction, talk it over with The Voices in Your Head, the ones you trust, and make the changes.

What do you have to lose? Well, possibly the euphoric satisfaction of making everything shinier. But guess what? When we are our best selves, that’s exactly what we do anyway.

{Join us TOMORROW, August 7, at 9:30 Eastern on FB LIVE as we discuss more on this subject – specifically, boundaries – on The Refreshed Life Show!}

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