“Everything’s a trade-off.” I say that all the time—mostly to myself. It helps me get back on track when I begin mentally veering off in the wrong direction…which I guess happens pretty often. For example:
Here’s a scene which makes me want to laugh, and cry.
scrapbook school desk in my scrapbook school room}
I laugh because of those scrapbook supplies on the back side of the desk. That’s me pretending like I’m going to be scrapbooking sometime soon. Ha ha ha! In my mind, I even like to call this my scrapbook desk. But that big binder in the foreground–my lesson plan book–gives away the truth. The times I sit at that desk every day are spent going over our curriculum, planning out lessons, and assigning schoolwork. The scrapbook supplies and tools nearby serve only to make me wonder when I’ll get to use them again.
Although your hobby might be something different, I’m sure you can relate. There’s always something we NEED to do sitting right in front of the thing we WANT to do. That’s just life. But sometimes it’s really tough to accept.
Whenever I make the mistake of flipping through a scrapbook magazine, I start to feel a tiny stab of jealousy. I start wishing I had the time and opportunity to scrapbook whenever I wanted. I start wishing I had my own scrapbook room. I start wondering if I’ll ever be done with all my “obligations” so I can have a little free time to myself. That’s when I quit wanting to laugh, and start wanting to cry.
And that’s when I have to remind myself once again: “Everything’s a trade-off.”
You see, if I had my own scrapbook room, that would just mean that one of my children wasn’t here with us. I certainly don’t want to rush that! If I had the time to sit down and scrapbook whenever I wanted, that would mean that my littlest one was growing up and becoming independent way too fast, and that I didn’t have the privilege of educating all four of my children at home.
Yes, lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to carve out some “me” time on a more regular basis. Mainly, I’m wanting to scrapbook. But what am I willing to trade?
Should I use the early-morning time when the kids are still asleep? Nope. My Bible study and prayer time is way too important. I can’t afford to give that up for anything else. Where else can I fit it in during the day? Pretty much…..nowhere. There’s school, and laundry, and cooking and cleaning and playing and errands, and a little one who skips naps as often as she takes them. And at night? Well…I’d like to list off some very noble-sounding activities for you, but most of you would see right through that and know that the truth is, by that point I’m just too tired!
So you don’t need to argue here that moms need time to themselves. I know that’s the case. But if we get too focused on what we think we’re missing out on/what we don’t have, we start to lose sight of what we do have.
We have lots of laundry because we have families who live with us and are active, and because we have plenty of clothes to wear. We have dirty dishes to do because we always have enough to eat, and school to plan and teach because our children are smart little sponges with whom we have the opportunity to share new things every day. We have responsibilities because we are needed, and that’s not a bad thing!
Sometimes we let the things and people we care most about begin to feel like burdens. Remember how much you wanted that house? (Think about that while you’re cleaning!) Remember how desperately you wanted those babies? (They are not burdens! They’re blessings!)
So today I’m going to thank God for all He’s entrusted me with, and I’m going to try to do what I need to do with a smile. Not just a smile on my face, but one that’s genuine and comes from the inside, because I know my work is important. And maybe one day soon, I’ll scrapbook. (If not, I know my supplies will still be there when I finally get around to it.)
What are you sacrificing to keep first things first?
Is it worth it? Why?
I hope you are able to smile about your priorities today. I hope you remember why you’ve made the choices you’ve made, and that those reasons motivate you to keep going. And even if you feel like you want to cry, I hope you can laugh instead.