The pants, the plates and that old rocking chair.

We’re almost there parents…almost there…it’s almost summer.

And I, for one ,can’t wait.

Let me just say that the month of May is the most tiring month of the year!  December, you’re a close second but, May – you’re what coffee is made for.

My son is completely over school right now and, in his defense, so am I.  His last few days of school are filled with field trips, field days and baseball.  He’s overly tired, overly stimulated and overly sugared which means our mornings consist of me repeating phrases like, “put on your shoes”, while an eight-year-old zombie trips over said shoes saying, “I can’t find my shoes”.

And, as if I didn’t have enough to do, our new dog, Cooper, decided to use my daughter’s most prized possession, Honey Bunny, as a chew toy.  I worked my nurse/mommy suturing skills to the best of my ability, but Honey Bunny is now blind and her nose is a little jacked up.

One more gripe before I move on.  This is a public service announcement to all the baseball coaches of America…STOP IT WITH THE WHITE BASEBALL PANTS – PLEASE!!!!  Just stop it!!!  White pants are a nice thought and they may even look good for the first 30 seconds after we arrive to the field, but they create a lot of extra wash time.  Gray, red, black…all good choices, but no white.  Can I get an Amen!?!

But, this year, in the midst of all the crazy, I feel an uneasiness about how I’ve been approaching the chaos.  About a month ago, it became obvious to me that maybe the unrest I feel on the regular is more about my methods than the madness.

I recall a counseling session a few years ago when I described how overwhelmed I was as a wife, a mother, a nurse practitioner and all the other titles I carry.  As I talked, cried and maybe whined a little about my circumstances, my counselor took my words and perfectly described how I felt then and sometimes now – like a circus acrobat spinning plates.

Have you seen this?

That’s exactly what it feels like, right?  I’m spinning the plates of wife, mother, career, housework, elementary school projects, little league, and yes, the scrubber of the white pants.  It’s constant and never ending.  And, it feels like everything hinges on my ability to spin the plates.  No pressure.

And I don’t know about you, but, if I’m not careful this pressure becomes crippling, overtakes my thoughts, and steals my joy.  My attitude changes and resentment builds creating a disgruntled mama who’s always tired, always overwhelmed and never satisfied.

So, in an attempt to quiet the uneasiness, I’ve done a little research and a lot of thinking which has lead me to a lesson I’ve known my whole life…priorities matter.

This isn’t rocket science y’all.  We all know this, right?

Well, if I’m honest, sometimes my priorities are all over the place and I reach the end of everyday wondering where the time went and beating myself up about the things left undone and the plates that are hardly spinning.

And, as luck would have it, the plates that I leave spinning slowly at the end of each day are often the plates that Jesus taught should be first.

Can we just get really real for a minute?

Far too often I fill my days with a little bit of coffee, a whole lot of tasks and a sprinkle of Jesus – in that order.  It’s no wonder I feel like everything hinges on my ability to spin the plates.  No wonder I’m tired, worried and overwhelmed!

In Matthew 6, Jesus talks a lot about prayer, treasures and worry.  He teaches us to store our treasures in heaven and to seek him first.  He teaches that where our treasure is our heart is also.  I’ve always thought of this simply in terms of money, but recently I’ve been thinking this could possibly stretch so much deeper.

I mean, what if my most prized possession is time?  What if time is my currency?  Where then is my treasure?  Where is my heart?

It’s an interesting thought isn’t it?  How we spend the currency of time?

This is where my uneasiness lies.  Because as I look back over many of my days, my currency is spent on a lot of tasks that may be necessary, but only leave me exhausted and overwhelmed.  Furthermore, if I look really carefully, I mean really carefully, I tend to cash in a lot of this currency with distractions like social media, Amazon searching and TV.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Social media is not the problem.  It’s how we prioritize it that matters.

Let’s go back to Matthew 6.  Jesus talks a lot about worry.  And, if you’re like me, this is a biggie.  Remember the spinning plates?  Well, I worry about them all the time!  All the tasks.  All the responsibility.  All the busyness.  All the chaos.  All the “things”.  And, in the spirit of transparency, I sometimes get caught up in all the perfect people with perfect families on social media and I spin that plate too.

So, if my currency of time is only spent spinning the plates, guess where my treasure and my heart lies?

In a vulnerable place, spent on earthy things that can so easily be destroyed.  But, Jesus teaches a different way.  He says, “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal”.   This realization of time as currency has lead me to a place of surrender because, y’all, I’m sick and tired of spinning these plates and being robbed of joy and peace.

So how do we change this pressure when we can’t change our circumstances?  Well, we change our approach.  Now I believe that this will look differently for everyone.  But, for me, I’ve changed my schedule a little and I start the day with the things that matter.

Jesus teaches, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).  What things?

Let me illustrate something my former pastor taught one Sunday.  In the images below, the cars are the things that matter and the peas are the tasks.  If you fill your day with the tasks first (left image), you won’t have time for the things that matter.  But, if you fill your day with the things that matter first (right image), the tasks seem to fit.  Funny how that works.

So, I’m putting this principle to the test and I encourage you to join me.  In this busy season of May, instead of a sprinkle of Jesus after my tasks, I try my best to start my day with him.  It’s intentional.  I meet him in my old rocking chair with a devotional, my bible, and a list of prayers.  And, almost every morning, I become a blubbering mess of grateful tears because it’s kinda like he’s been sitting there all along just waiting on me.

Y’all, this simple act has the power to change my entire day.  Things aren’t perfect and my responsibilities have certainly not decreased, but, every morning in that old rocking chair, my priorities jump right back in line.  My treasure is found and my heart follows suit.  So, as I end this day with a few plates left to spin and white baseball pants to scrub, I will do so with a little more joy because I am no longer defined by these tasks or my ability to spin the plates.  And, I know that no matter how this day ends, priorities in line or not, tomorrow morning Jesus will meet me in that old rocking chair.

~Mary Ann

1 thought on “The pants, the plates and that old rocking chair.

  1. Great read!


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