“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and went off.” Matthew 13:24-25
September to June was so insanely busy, I burnt myself out in every area of my life. Being the extremist I am, I’ve swung the pendulum in the complete opposite direction this summer. In fact, I’ve swung it so far, I don’t even recognize myself.
I used to be so organized and efficient; now I barely answer emails. I used to be a neat freak with plenty of OCD tendencies; now my house is such a disaster, my husband even commented the other morning, “This place is a mess!” (You need to have seen how disgusting his apartment was when we were dating to get the enormity of this statement.) I used to be so busy I never sat down; now I am at risk for roots growing out my backside, and some serious weight gain from all the inactivity. The thing that amazes me most is – I don’t care about any of it: my slacker attitude, my messy house, or my new couch potato status. It all feels like a gift that is quenching the fires of burn out.
I am a different person when I am not busy or stressed. I am more patient with my kids, kinder to others, and far more connected to God. In my new rested and relaxed state, I actually feel I’m getting closer to becoming who God is calling me to be.
I can also see more objectively the havoc that busyness and stress wreak on my life. When there is any kind of deadline, I become a terrible mother. I yell at my kids, I don’t give them options, and I certainly don’t concern myself with gently teaching them anything. That takes time. When I’m running short on it, I just bark out orders instead. Anything the Scriptures have taught me about being a good person and mom go right out the window.
The line that hits me the hardest in Matthew 13:24-25 is, “While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed seeds all through the wheat, and went off.” I used to read “asleep” in the literal sense. Now I’m realizing that “asleep” is any negative state we work ourselves into. It could be fear of bad health or finances, anger at a spouse, insecurity or vanity, or stress and busyness from our employer and motherhood. When we let that negativity lull us into a state that is all consuming, we fall asleep to all the good that God is doing in our lives.
Furthermore, we expose our Achilles heel to the enemy. The devil is so smart, creative and sophisticated, he will use any doorway into our psyche that he can. He plants his “weeds” by further feeding our vulnerabilities. He’ll convince us that we are justified in our worry about our health or finances, that our husband is a schmuck and we deserve better, that we aren’t good enough or we’re better than others, or that we aren’t doing enough and should add more to our “to do” lists. (And if your Achilles heel is not on this list, trust me, he’ll find it and capitalize on it for sure). He is a master gardener who will fertilize, water and nurture those weeds so they grow so pervasive, they choke out any and all joy and grace God is offering us to get us out of our dark places.
It seems when I need to learn a lesson, God sends His message in all different ways. Recently watching the movie The War Room, and now reading Allie Worthington’s book Breaking Busy have planted this good seed of awareness in me. But it wasn’t until I read Matthew 13:24-25 that it all clicked into place in my head, like a combination lock finally opening. The enemy has been having his way with me through my busyness and stress.
I am so grateful that summer break exists. I have a strong feeling that if it didn’t, I’d still be in my “asleep” state. Instead, I have had the downtime to spend with God, soaking in His Word and learning where I went wrong.
Now that I know the true source of my stress and busyness, I can spend the rest of my summer fortifying my soul with prayer. Come September, when school begins, hopefully I’ll have swung the pendulum to middle. Once there, I hope to focus on only the things that truly need to get done, use better time management, and be who God is calling me to be for more than just two months out of the year.
Questions For Reflection:
* What is my weakness, my Achilles heel?
* Have I allowed that weakness to lull me “asleep” so the enemy can plant weeds in my soul?
* What can I do to pull those weeds before they choke out the joy and grace God is offering me?
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Awesome post, Claire! I am so guilty of “I have to finish this one more thing’ and then keep adding ‘one more thing’ until the day is gone and I haven’t spent time listening to God or glorifying Him. Thank you for the reminder!! I’ll need to make myself notes to remind me daily! Love you!
I guess I come by it honestly then 🙂 But don’t judge yourself so harshly, Mom. Don’t forget that you start every day at Church. That is the epitome of glorifying God!
That is me too Mrs. D. This summer has been wonderful but it has been anything but relaxing 🙂 I try to cram in as much as I can and always thing there is time for one more thing. I think I too need another posted reminder (I have reminders made by Claire all over my house). Amazing post Claire. I hope to swing my pendulum the other way while at the lake and then keep it in the middle come September. The only thing getting me through this summer is my daily yoga/prayer/journal time!! I will add waking up to notice the weeds to my daily prayers. Thanks Claire!!’
I’m SO impressed by your yoga/prayer time Jess. That’s better than any weed killer on the market. And I envy you your lake time. Here’s hoping it refills your well and does swing the pendulum to middle.
Another beautiful piece, Claire! Thank you!
I am in the stress/busy state right now, but trying to climb out for the same reasons you stated. I hate when I’m less of a good mom because of work stress.
I am trying hard to get to a more relaxed state so I can enjoy my life and my children more.
Thanks for the great inspiration!
I’m sure you will succeed with flying colors, Deborah. But if you need some help along the way, I HIGHLY recommend “Breaking Busy” by Allie Worthington. I’m only half way through it and it is COMPLETELY changing how I view “busy.”
Amen! As usual you were dead on. What a wonderful tool for self evaluation… too many weeds in my garden! : O
But don’t forget, Elaine, that you also have a green thumb. You are growing beautiful things in your garden, not just weeds. Between raising your five boys and driving that bus, you are touching lives in wonderful ways 🙂