It doesn’t have to be all or nothing…

My husband is a very smart man. He knows me so well, and when I get to the end of my rope, he knows how to grab hold and pull me back to get my footing stabilized again. Like now…

In my quiet time this morning, I was reading in a book by Kevin Deyoung, Crazy Busy, and stumbled (quite purposefully, I’m sure) across these words: “…busyness can ruin our joy.” He first described busyness as this, “…we are distracted. We are preoccupied. We can’t focus on the task in front of us. We don’t follow through. We don’t keep our commitments. We are so busy with a million pursuits that we don’t even notice the most important things slipping away.”

Ouch. Mr. Deyoung just described my life of late. And although the description was dead-on accurate, it didn’t make me feel any better. He had just put onto paper exactly what is happening to me at present….I am allowing my joy to be ruined.

This is how most weeks look in my world….a truck full of furniture and “fun” things heading into my spaces at the Marketplace on Locust. It is in this space of time each week that I am content in the moment. I love designing spaces that people can wander through, finding joy for their own day perhaps by being in a place that offers smiles, friendship, good deals and lots of home decor items just waiting to be discovered. But when I get worn down, worn out and simply worn to shreds (due to my own doing/overdoing), my joy flits away as fast as it came. And then I go searching for how to create more time in my days….to do what I love to do.

Like baking – (and oh, by the way, take notice of that cake plate! I bought it from a vendor at The Marketplace on Locust!). I used to stop my “work” everyday around 3:00 and head to the kitchen where I would begin prepping dinner, making desserts and getting ready to entertain friends or family.

And it was never ONLY about the food! Notice the dishes those delicious goodies are settled on….items hand-picked from antiquing with my sister, or shopping on my own at thrift stores. I love a good find, whether I’m bringing it to the shop for you or taking it home for myself!

And then there’s that “other” thing I’ve come to enjoy…upholstery! I see fabric now as an opportunity to move my design skills to a different level. Not only do I like coming up with the perfect pieces for my spaces, but my brain starts flowing in colors, patterns and setting the perfect scene for you to come explore at The Marketplace on Locust. Which then involves shopping, which then leads to painting furniture to go with the fabric I’ve just discovered. The cycle of busyness is moving rapidly in a downhill motion, picking up momentum….

Until I head outdoors into our yard and catch a glimpse of a quieter kind of beauty. B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Breathe deeply child. You’re about to have your joy unraveled by all the things you love doing. And you. Don’t. Even. Realize. It.

Relationships are being put on the back burner. And for what gain? More fatigue? More money? More accolades of your creativity? More exhaustion of mind, body and soul?

That web was spun overnight in our yard. With one swift sweep of my broom, it was gone. All that hard work, yet some spider was suddenly homeless. (I know, just writing that makes me feel bad all over again.)

So maybe all my hard work won’t be swept away overnight, but….it could be. And then what do I have left? Broken relationships? Unmet friends? Bruises on my arms and legs from carrying furniture too heavy to be lifted by a little ‘ol lady (me)?

And his voice comes back to me, ever so gently…”It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, Connie.” And then I pick up my book from my morning quiet time and read: “Margin is the space between our load and our limits. Planning for margin means planning for the unplannable. It means we understand what’s possible for us as finite creatures and then we schedule for less than that.”

Me? Schedule LESS? (I need some air, a paper bag to breathe in, anything!) “Yes, Child,” my Father assures me.

The view was something I could not have planned. But I was still enough last night to notice it. And to breathe it in.

So here is my declaration, the way I purpose in my heart to get back to the things God has given me to do instead of doing all the things this world expects me to do….

  1. Spend time with God daily. He is my life. It is because of Him that I have breath in my lungs and can create anything from a good home to a good booth space. And in my busyness, I have neglected the Giver of Life.
  2. Spend time with the people I love….my husband and children first of all, because THEY are the first gift God gave me when He gave me the desire of my heart to be a wife and mom.
  3. Spend time cultivating relationships I have abandoned. My parents, my siblings, my friends. They matter.
  4. Write, write, write. Not because I think I have anything important that the world needs to hear but rather because by writing I often tell myself things I need to hear. I have pushed that creative and God-given outlet off the stove altogether (never mind putting it on the back burner!).
  5. Keep creating the spaces I love with zeal and new insight, but stop letting those spaces “take on a life of their own”, as my husband knows all too well that I can do. When that creative outlet comes before the first 4 things on this list, I have flung my joy totally away. I crash. And others get caught in my spinning out of control. Nobody wins that race. But we all get hurt in the crash.
  6. Last, I am giving up social media altogether. (It’s okay, really.) I have let other people’s comments (or lack of comments) drive me to places I would rather not admit that I’ve gone. I won’t miss my own rants, and truthfully, you likely won’t miss me! If you enjoy my blog posts, then subscribe at the bottom of this one. You will be notified whenever I write. And my writing will still include the pictures and stories of my time at The Marketplace on Locust, but I pray it will also include far more important things that awaken your senses to the hope we all have available to us by a life with Jesus as your Savior.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. But margin is important (that space between our load and our limits).

My load has become too great, and my limits have been met. I am turning back to the Source of my strength and my creativity. In that place, I will find again my joy in this journey. And be sure I will be sharing that with you.

~Blessings,

Connie

14 thoughts on “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing…

  1. I hear you and admire you for realizing your limits! The older we get the more relationships matter! You are so blessed to still have your parents and you should especially enjoy time with them!
    I enjoy your posts and I am glad you plan to continue to share your talent of writing

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  2. Thank you for your words of wisdom. They are very timely. As a local teacher, now retired, my volunteer activities have a way of overwhelming me. As September approaches, with more activities and responsibilities on the horizon, I feel as you do/did. Gotta find those margins…

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    • I appreciate your encouragement, and I pray you can indeed find margins for yourself. I’m believing it IS possible, when we realize it’s relationships that matter eternally. Those can be (and often are for me) found in the volunteer moments we have. The key is remembering why we do what we do…and that even Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing. In other words, be where you know you are supposed to be when you know you are supposed to be there. 🙂

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  3. Love this and totally understand! We all need to nurture the most important things in our lives and you know exactly what yours are. Good for you! Hope to make it to your shop soon.

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