Before I dive in, I understand you are probably wondering how tithing and time fit together. Most of you probably know the word in reference to giving a portion of your money back to God, which many of us exercise by giving to the church. However, I think this word is so fitting because we do understand it’s general meaning as well as it’s true definition. We are giving part of what we have back to God and His people. So take that idea forward as you read this post.
There’s a Thing as Too Many Yes’s
Earlier this week, I was texting with a friend in a moment when I was experiencing some raw emotions. Overwhelmed feelings, feelings of failure, anger, sadness, really just all the things. These feelings ebb and flow and I know I’m not the only mom to experience this, which does bring some relief. But for me, they are always the “biggest” on Sundays. I look back on the previous week wondering what I did with my time as half of my to-dos didn’t get done. I vow to make next week better by doing my daily chores and having less social time and in general have less expectations for myself. So far, I’ve been repeating the process for weeks, not really making progress breaking the cycle. Hey, just being real.
My biggest issue and overwhelming feeling is that I do too much. I’m the “Yes Girl”. I’m always in! You need my help? Of course, I’ll be there. Attend a social thing with friends I haven’t seen in a while? Count me in! Playdate for Amelia? She absolutely needs it. Something new to experience? I better not miss out! A friend needs support at an event? Ok, I can squeeze it in. This isn’t a new thing for me, I’ve always been like this. But as a single young lady, it didn’t affect nearly as much. However, fast forward 10 years, add a husband, kid and some adult responsibilities — I hate that Yes Girl!
Truth in Love
As I texted with this friend sharing all my feelings, resentments, frustrations and fears, she reminded me some truths. And she left me with this:
“You get to decide when to say no. Nobody else will say it for you. Just remember, tithe your energy and time outside your home after you have allocated your energy, time and emotional capacity to the people God has made you “steward” over first.”
Wow. Needless to say, this was so powerful it brought me to tears. Just because I’ve always said yes, doesn’t mean I have to continue to always say yes. Life has changed. There was a time in my life I had NOTHING to offer other than my time, support and love. When I was able to give these things, God brought people in to my life, and life got good. Now I do have bigger responsibilities with a husband, pets, a home, and a little one and I’m realizing I can’t be throwing out yes’s willy-nilly.
Over the past year especially, since I’ve transitioned to staying home with our daughter, I have seen me continue with my yes’s to the point that I have nothing left to give. I was living for my daughter’s nap time, so I could actually “get something done”. When my husband came home at the end of the day, I vented about my day and was unable to engage with him because I had nothing left. On top of that, I wore myself out to such a degree that the house became a terrifying mess; I’m talking about being weeks behind on chores. For those of you who don’t know me, me without a clean house is not acceptable. It only furthers snowball my stress level. So, clearly I have an issue when the first things to go as I’m throwing out yes’s all over the place are my most important responsibilities. My friend so loving reminded me it should be the other way around.
Practical Application At Once
My next step after hearing these wise words was, how do I apply this to my life? I see it as a two-part process. First, I need to spend some time getting to know myself and what I need to be a good mom and wife. What are my limits for social time and alone time? Once I’ve reached those limits, how do I “recharge”? If you’re thinking, “I don’t need time to recharge!”, I promise, you do. But maybe your recharge time looks like having coffee with a friend one-on-one or going out with a group of friends (you crazy mega-extroverts! 🙂 ) This recharge time is so crucial for me to be the kind of woman I need to be for my family and friends.
The first part is something I’ve worked on a lot for a few years, but the second part is newer to me. How do I not get to the point of burning out? Is not the best medicine preventive medicine? How do I make sure I have a continual flow of energy to give to my family so I’m not completely crashing and burning every night or every week? I’d been operating like this for years! This is where my friend’s advice was extremely helpful. Through it I heard, limit my yes’s. Just because someone extends an invite, doesn’t mean I have to take it. I struggle deeply with not wanting to hurt people’s feelings or let people down, but to what end? By saying yes to everyone outside of my family, I end up doing that very thing to the two people I love the most.
I Can’t Do It Alone
So here’s what I’m doing — I sat down with my husband and made a list of my priorities. It serves as my guide for my time, energy and emotions. When things seem out of wack, I have something tangible to look back to. I’ve also found it helpful to review my plans for the upcoming week with him. He’s great at saying, “Hmmm, seems like that might be too much” or “Hey, sounds like a good mix of social time and time at home.” Admittedly, I still have my weeks where I over commit. But they are getting fewer and farther between. I’m learning that it’s appropriate for us moms and wives to sometimes back out of plans. I’m not condoning constant cancellations, but there are times when we need an out. Furthermore, I strongly believe we need to respect each other in that.
I hope this advice helps you like it’s helped me in my ever-changing role. All people and relationships are important, but there are a few higher up on MY list (and your list is different). But the truth of the matter is, there is only so much time that all of us have to tithe. Once I’ve put my list of priorities on paper, it’s been helpful for me to go back to them to ensure that my actions are matching those priorities. I need to act accordingly and save my best self for the folks who are highest on that list. When I do that, I know in the end, I’ll ultimately have even more to give to everyone.