The sticky note was titled, “Mom’s Pressure.” The following items were listed on it: wrapping Toni and Nettie’s gifts, making Anna’s Christmas dress, John’s phonics, meeting topic, Mom’s Corner, Christmas letter, more Sarah school help time, Christmas gifts, clean fridge, work on baby book, spelling bee, Gram’s puzzle, work on Sarah’s Christmas dress. These were things that I was feeling pressure about; things that needed to be done or decisions that needed to be made.
When I expressed to Steve that I was overwhelmed with what all had to be done, he encouraged me to make a list of these things so we could sit down together and figure them out. Just making the list helped greatly because I was no longer trying to keep track of all of them in my mind. The mountain didn’t look quite so high when it was written on a little sticky note.
Before Steve and I sat down to talk about the list, I had already eliminated cleaning the fridge, allotted Saturday night to wrap the presents that needed to be in the mail, decided to use my daily sewing time to work on Anna’s Christmas dress, put “as time permits” beside John’s phonics, and “don’t worry about it” next to needing more Sarah school help time.
As Steve and I talked about the other items, we were able to make some decisions. We also agreed to pray about the ones that had no clear leading at that point. No longer was I carrying a burden of pressure.
As homeschooling moms, with the task of running our households and getting school done each day, we easily fall prey to being overwhelmed by what we have to accomplish in a normal day, not to mention when “extras” come along. When we allow our minds to dwell on these burdens, we become discouraged and lose the joy and delight in following the path God has called us to. Not only does this affect our hearts, but also our husbands’ and children’s.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Could it be that when the yoke feels hard and the burden heavy, we are carrying a burden of responsibility that we have loaded on ourselves? Before I wrote down the list of what was pressure to me, I was feeling like I had to clean the refrigerator. When I evaluated my priorities, I realized I didn’t need to take on that project right before Christmas. It is now the middle of January, and I never did clean the refrigerator. It doesn’t look too bad! The spelling bee was Christopher’s project, not mine. I was involved in concern over it that I didn’t need to have.
Sometimes the burdens are there because we allow ourselves to worry about a situation rather than taking it to the Lord in prayer right away. Worry, anxiety, and pressure should all be signals to us that in some way we are not responding to the situation properly. Without the Lord’s help, the hard places will easily become burdens. We want to learn to cast all our anxiety on Him. I have often heard Elisabeth Elliot, the popular Christian writer and speaker, say she will get down on her knees in prayer to give worries to the Lord and do that as often as the worries return.
I don’t want my focus to be on the things that I think I need to accomplish. Then my eyes are essentially on myself, my agenda. My family will fall victim to my frantic push to get everything done. My “list” may grow shorter, but is it worth it if I am irritable with my children, won’t sit down to talk with my husband, or skip quiet time with the Lord?
I pray that our daily pressures, that never ending “to do” list, will help us learn what it means to serve a Savior whose yoke is easy and burden is light. May we see those “to do’s” as our service to the Lord, not as burdens. May they turn our eyes to Jesus, not put us into despair. May the Lord teach us how to truly rest in Him.