Living Fully, not Frantically

Last week my little girl started year 1! She went off to school eager and excited for homework! On the third day I went into her class and there on the wall was a picture she had drawn that I couldn’t quiet make out and the sentence under the title “What does your mum do while you are at school” was ‘My mum just Mops’.

I looked at her but the bell went before I had a chance to fully ask her what she meant by I just Mop! Hasn’t she been living in our house? I am pretty sure the last time I picked up a Mop was before Christmas! I thought I had been instilling in my little girl that mums can be more then housewives! What we do is important. We are raising the future leaders of the world, we are keeping our home in check and I am also starting a new thing that I have been dreaming about for years, literally her whole life, and here she is, telling her brand new, 20 something year old teacher that ALL I do is “just mop”IMG_2830

So I went home, and mopped my floor.

I called my husband and was divulging that I was failing to raise a daughter who saw me as more then just a housewife (while I was mopping, ironic I know) and he very bravely said,

‘honey, I think you have it wrong. I think what she is saying is ‘my mum does MOPS’.

(Want to learn more about MOPS?)

As mums I think we tend to lean in a direction where we fail to see the joyful obvious right in front of us. We are always concerned in ‘presenting’ in a certain way, or averting a crisis and we can miss out in delighting in our children, in our crazy mess, in our being alive.

Stop and think for a moment. What is it that you like to do? When I get asked that question I have the hardest time in coming up with something that I like to do just for me. But I am a mum? I don’t have time to do things that are just for me. I need to create spaces and wonderful memories for my family. I have washing, dishes, shopping and ‘mopping’ to do! There is no time for something that I like to do. At this stage in my life, I am not important enough to celebrate. I am not important enough to spend money on. And what’s more, ‘My family need me’.

This is NOT True!

Your family need you, but that is exactly it. They actually need you, not a version of you, or part of you. They need you whole and present and that means that you need to feed yourself. It means that you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you help those around you!

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My delight. Beach, family and a cause

I think we get so wrapped up in the busyness of life, rushing about between drop offs and pick ups, keeping our homes and lives pinterest or facebook worthy because a ‘full calendar’ means a ‘full life’ right? Our souls are tired. It is nothing a strong coffee or a sleep in on Saturday morning can fix.

Busyness is valued in our culture, it is something to strive for. People ask, “how are you?” and we comment ,“Oh I’m so busy!” It is almost something to brag about. Many of us have gotten really good at keeping up this frantic place. Going and Going and going without much to show for it and wondering why we feel less and less content. We hit a wall and reach a point where we just can’t go on any more, but we do, because we are mums!

I don’t think we were ever intended to live self-dependent, ready to throw off our tops and be wonder woman to save the world. If we were to stop focussing on the little things that stress us out, pushing and straining to be enough for everyone in every situation we could live closer to the lives God intended us to have.slow down.jpg

So what sits before us is the need to Make Space.

We need to let go.

We need to embrace rest.

I don’t know about you but I want to live fully, not frantically. I want my life to be a fierce flourishing. Full of what matters most. Full of God’s grace.

Our circumstances are not going to magically change but the way we see them and how we react to them can.

Embracing rest doesn’t mean the same as it did when you were a teenager, or a 20 something single and care free. It doesn’t mean the same as it will in another 20 years when the kids are all grown up and you are choosing which cruise you are going to sit back and relax on. As mothers of pre-schoolers we don’t have the luxury of sitting down for long periods reading a book, or taking a nap, or if you anything like me, have a solid nights sleep is a faint memory.

slow downToo fully embrace rest, we need to see things differently, we need to notice the goodness in the big and little moments and we need to celebrate life in all of its chaotic and noisy glory.

As mums of pre-schoolers, so often are days are long, some really really long and the nights are short. Really really short. At the end of the day, as you slump down into the chair, exhausted but still with a to do list the size of your arm, it can be hard to see what has just happened. Where your day has gone, where your weeks have gone. This year I want to challenge you to practice noticing goodness in each of your days so that the ordinary moments become extraordinary. Be done with being numb to the divine beauty that is all around you.

It is going to take a fierce guarding of your thought life to focus in and pay attention to what matters, to receive what God is offereing and then to respond with a heart of gratitude. Noticing goodness, is noticing God, and in turn embracing all that you are meant to be. I thought this video explains the practice of noticing goodness the best.

I would LOVE it if we as a community could share the goodness we are noticing. Be that via Instagram or facebook. You can join us by sharing your photos with Billabong MOPS on our Facebook page or Instagram. Or join us on a Monday morning and add a leaf to our grateful tree.

We want to celebrate the small moments. Breathe in and stop for a second. And share this journey of motherhood together.

IMG_4448And as we notice the goodness that surrounds us, I think it will become easier to think of celebrating as more then just cakes, candles and milestone moments. Bringing feasting and celebration into everyday, means you need to have the eyes to see it.

I don’t want to diminish what is happening in your life, because so often there are very Big, very hard journeys that each of us take where noticing the goodness is not so easy. And celebrating? Who wants to do that!? During these times I hope, and my prayer is that you will have people who will be the goodness for you by listening to you, bringing meals over, looking after your kids. That they will give extravagantly and that you will receive graciously and that a time will come that you will be able to celebrate their friendship to you. During the mountain times, the times in life where things are generally going as they should be, and even, maybe more importantly, during the valley times when all isn’t going well, making the crumbs into joy, savouring the meals that taste so good or laughing until the tears are rolling down your cheeks. They are all a part of celebrating. Embracing who you were created to be.

And Fiercely Flourishing!

fully not franticSo 2016 has really just begun and I can not wait to challenge myself to slow down and literally smell the roses. To stop living frantically for the sake of myself, my marriage and my children and to look at those around me and fully love them because I am spending time loving myself.

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