I am a doer by nature, the kind of person who always seems to be on a mission, from list-making, planning, and doing to constantly thinking of the next thing I think I need to accomplish. Along with it comes being a perpetual list-maker. Making lists, making a list for my lists. Writing things on my list just for the satisfaction I find in crossing them off. My mind is always racing to what needs to get done or the next place to go. I am Martha, always busying myself with something to do.
I think one of the most difficult things for me as a mother is the sense of failure when my to do list doesn’t get tackled. When the end of the day comes and I stare at a list that didn’t get any shorter and even some days only grew longer. I go through the day and base my success on how many items I cross off my list or what was accomplished rather than whether time was spent just loving on those placed in my life.
This summer I have been trying my hardest to focus on being rather than just doing. To be present to my children, this short time together and these sweet summer days, which will be gone all too fast. Truly being. Present, focused and connected.
I hope to fill these last two months of summer with more days of carefree timelessness, simply spending time together. Wasting time in each others presence, laughing, talking, playing. Those are the items I want to accomplish even if it means leaving piles of unfolded laundry or having peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.
On the days that I allow myself to be, there is great peace that comes with it. Having nothing planned, reading books out loud to a living room filled with all five kids, stopping by the ponds, grabbing our fishing poles and watching the turtles and dragonflies until hearts content.
Peace, because it is right where I am suppose to be. In the middle of the crazy and chaos, being wanted by each of the five children all at the same time and doing my best to be present to each one. Peace, because we were created to be in relationship with others, to be connected, to serve in being present.
We can look to Christ for the example. Yes, he went around preaching and was busy teaching going on to the next town. But he was present. Present to the hungry crowd, present to the official’s dying daughter, present to the tax collectors, present to the disciples fear in the storm.
There are some days it is a real struggle and I find myself saying that I didn’t get anything done. I am grateful for my husband’s reminders, “Was going for a walk as a family and having a water fight with the kids not doing anything?” Truly it is a mindset that we are fed by a culture that only places success in how much we do. A false notion that I daily need to fight.
It has been an amazing summer so far making memories with this crew of mine and I continue to pray for the grace to let go of the list and continue to just be present.