Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Slowing Down

I have been having a rough week emotionally. Feeling very overwhelmed. Less able to handle the everyday annoyances or typical kid issues than usual. Feeling like am sliding backwards into old and ugly patterns of behavior. Feeling discouraged about that.

It all started with a blessing, actually. I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with a dear friend who lives overseas now but is home for a short stay. L and I have been friends as long as we have been moms- met at a baby group- and carried each other through the long, hard days of first time mothering. Our babies grew up together, playing together several times a week, until L and her family moved about an hour away. We still spent time together when we could, especially in the summers when school was out. This summer, L and her family moved overseas. They returned for the holidays and so the kids and I made the hour long drive to spend the afternoon with them this past Saturday. It was a wonderful day. A true blessing! The kids played so nicely together the entire time. I don't think we refereed even one conflict! And that is saying something as L and I have 7 kids between us, ranging in age from 8 to 2. And 5 of them are energetic boys. We all gave warm hugs as we said goodbye knowing it would be a long while before we could do that again.

After that, I just felt sad. It sounds strange but the best way to describe it is that I felt homesick for that time when we all passed so many afternoons together and life seemed, in retrospect, simpler, slower, less harried. And as the new week began on Monday, the sadness turned to feelings of stress and grumpiness. There was no more time to feel sad. I had kids to get ready for school, appointments, food shopping, work (which I do a few hours a day from home), dinner, school events, etc. So, without realizing it, I traded the sadness for irritation and impatience and stress.

But today, as I slowed down to examine my emotions, I began to realize what I had done. In taking a few moments to acknowledge that feeling of sadness and brainstorming about how to handle it without denying or minimizing it, I felt the heavy weight of stress and irritation begin to lift. It was an important reminder of the need to simply slow down, allow myself the opportunity to experience my emotions (good and bad) and resolve them productively so that they do not spill out carelessly and hurt myself and my family.

I have many more thoughts about slowing down as I know the Lord is calling me to do just this in my life. I will save them for future posts as He reveals more of His plan to help me to slow down. As the Lord would have it, these two posts today helped me to order my thoughts on slowing down as well:

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