Spinning Plates

[Edit: I accidentally posted this when I meant to save a draft last night. D’oh!]

This morning, my church is hosting a simulcast for men featuring Craig Groeschel from Lifechurch. It’s called Fight and is a rather brilliant way to launch his book with the same title. The premise is that men have the heart of a warrior and they need to step up and fight for their marriages, their families, and their very souls. I filter that press release talk and I assume he’s going to talk about porn a lot, since that seems to be the topic of men’s events these days. Being in ministry, I know that this is a topic that can have devastating effects on relationships and the struggle is clearly a felt-need for many guys. We hosted a similar event a few months back and about 80 guys showed up.

All this got me to wondering, “What is the topic we’d have to hammer over and over again for women? What topic do we just not get, no matter how many times we hear it, read it, and admit we need it?” The first thing that popped into my head is that women have confused access to opportunities with a mandate to do everything. To put it another way, somehow “We can do it” has become “We must do it all.” It’s this massive weight so many of us are carrying around on our shoulders and beating ourselves up when we fall short.

After my son was born (yes, I know I need to update my “About” page with this info, it just doesn’t work correctly on the tablet I most often am writing on), I had a fairly easy transition. I take no credit for this fact; my son is an easy baby and my husband had several weeks of leave as well. I worked months ahead, so I didn’t think much at all about work while on maternity leave. When it came time to return, suddenly, it wasn’t so simple. Even though I can work from home around his nap schedule most of the time, there are times where I just have to get things done when he’s awake. I’ve become quite adept at doing many things with one hand as I carry him around, but the one feat I haven’t managed is to be present with him as I check things off my to-do list.

I can’t do it all.

And for the first time in my life, I don’t really care that I can’t.

I still work and I still love my job, but I say “No” more. I count the cost my family pays for my “Yes” much more than I ever did before. In short, I thoughtfully prioritize.

In spite of that, I always feel like I’m failing someone: my boss, my husband, my son, the people who email and never get a reply, myself for not losing the baby weight yet. I cognitively know I can’t do everything, but I have a nagging feeling that I’m supposed to rise above that and manage to do it anyways.

So, maybe I care a little that I can’t do it all.

After I’m through crying about it to God, I hear the same thing, “Work, don’t work, it doesn’t matter. Do what I’ve called you to do.” I want to do everything for many reasons, but they boil down to the fact that I want to be better than I am. I’m faced with the brutal fact that I’m just little ol’ me. I think I’ve always wanted to be better because that would mean people would think I’m awesome. I’d be worthy of their respect and love.

The more I reflect on it, I’m pretty sure God wanted me to have a child so that I couldn’t do everything. I have to face the fact that I’m not infinite on a regular basis. That causes me to pray more. The more I pray, the more I realize God loves me without all the plate spinning. He loves me and I am his.

Maybe trying to do everything is ultimately a blessing because it’s finally led me to the one thing I needed all along: resting at Jesus feet in his perfect love.

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