Yesterday afternoon, while my girls slept sweetly in their room, I sat on the couch straight up pouting. Here is where I confess: I still can’t shake that burnt out, bored, sadness which has been haunting me for a few months now. This feeling, it is hard to explain, it is something like restlessness to the max. It is this—RUN!—kind of feeling that makes my chest feel tight and my mind race for any explanation. All of my life, I have experienced this feeling every couple of years. And, all of my life, there has only ever been one solution: I need something new. I can’t continue doing X,Y, and Z each and every day. I am dying for a challenge, for an adventure. As a young person this looked like a hastily chosen box of cheap hair dye, an impulsive trip with my best friend, or even a new college major (three times!). As a newlywed, it was a new apartment, impulsively quitting my job simply because I need the challenge of figuring out what’s next, or a rambling three hour drive late into the night. Everything I needed to shake off a funk was wrapped up in challenge, risk, and exploration.
Recently, it was explained to me exactly why I experience this feeling. My personality type is actually hell-bent against routine. I don’t do well with repetition or mundane. If I want to grow, if I want to thrive, I need to explore.
Well, yesterday, I went looking for adventure. I wrestled my toddlers into clean clothes and shoes, I brushed hair and styled ponytails, and loaded them into my adventure-mobile: my Toyota Sienna mini-van. With no plan, I started to drive. A few minutes into the drive, my toddler was shouting from the back seat, “Mama! Where we goin’?” And before long it was clear that my current life isn’t conducive to adventure. We went to the library and the thrift store; we had dinner at Chik-fil-A. I arrived home feeling even more restless than before and now it was clear that I was stuck.
As a mother of small children with a demanding new career, there is not margin in my life for re-creating myself or running off on an adventure. There are people in my life who rely on me everyday to chose not to Eat, Pray, Love my life. And some days, that is really hard.
I am telling you all of this simply to say: sometimes you can’t run. Sometimes love compels you to choose monotony again today, just like yesterday. And, as a sweet new friend explained earlier this week, this is when you lean in to the hard.
I would love to give you “5 easy steps” and “9 books to read,” but I can’t. I am not here to give you a magic formula to transform the monotony of motherhood into easy and carefree, because it often isn’t. What I do want say is, when you are sure beyond a shadow of a doubt you can’t get up at 4:30 again or struggle through one more tantrum, simply embrace the weakness. Stop trying to white-knuckle your way through your burnout and start relying on someone stronger than you.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9