A month ago, my new doctor told me to try to find stress-free time: ideally two hours a day, I was "to relax, with the intention of doing nothing."
I was incredulous. How could I possibly do that?
When people learn that I have six children, they often say, "I don't
know how you do it all!" And I usually respond, "I don't." But that
doesn't mean I don't keep trying (and failing). There are never enough hours in the day to take care of everything.
What weighs most heavily on me is the challenge to get in as many hours as a freelancer as I should, especially with a toddler in the house. It's makes keeping my priorities straight quite the struggle. I keep trying to put God first, then my
family, then my work, but that order always seem to be flipping over. It's like trying to balance an egg on its tip.
The doctor (also a friend) clarified that praying counted. Also exercise. So did playing with the baby—as long as I didn't plan my day at the same time.
A light turned on. This was an opportunity to do what I should do anyway. A way to get that priority egg back upright.
But putting this into action would require some trust. (This is yet another example of a pattern I've noticed. Every time I think I've learned to trust God, He comes back with, "Oh yeah? How about now?" and ups it a notch.)
To do this would mean that I'd really need to entrust my time to the Lord. Trust that if I didn't get to everything, including my paid work, it would be okay. Trust that He would provide for us, or give us the grace to get by with less.
So I've been trying to sit with my little one during breakfast, rather than use it as a chance to check my email. (She's not much of a conversationalist yet, but I believe spending that time communicates something important to her.) I'm getting to daily Mass more often, getting my prayer time in earlier and (thanks be to God) with better concentration. I'm trying to remember not only to love my kids indirectly—by helping to provide for them and washing their clothes, making their meals, etc.—but also to love them directly, by spending more time with them. I'm running in the park a few times a week.
And it's working. I not only feel better physically, but in every other way too. Most importantly, I feel more at peace, and that's got to be better for my family, and be a better witness to Christ's presence in my life.
Matthew Kelly, in Rediscover Catholicism, wrote, "We're not here to solve problems. Problems are here to solve us."
Looks like that's the case with my rheumatoid arthritis. God's using it to help me along the path to heaven, and become closer to Him.
After a long time of having almost too much work, there was a little lull in my freelance projects recently. But last night, at our annual parish patronal celebration, our family won third-prize in the cash raffle—just the amount to make up the difference.
He is trustworthy.