"To cite a whimsical saying; 'If you chase two rabbits, both of them will escape.' No one is adequate to do everything all at once. We have to select what is important, what is possible, and begin where we are, with what we have. And if we begin and if we keep going the weight, the worry, the doubt, the depression will begin to lift .... We can't do everything always, but we can do something now, and doing something will help to lift the weight and lessen the worry, 'The beginning,' said Plato, 'is the most important part.'"--Richard L. Evans
I love this quote. Too often I find myself chasing way too many rabbits... working 3 part time jobs, being mom to 4 kids at home and one missionary and one newly wed, teaching Sunday School for teenagers, being a supportive wife, taking time to be a good friend, trying to enjoy some time arranging flowers ... the list goes on. The wonderful thing about my life is that I truly enjoy each and every part of it. Don't get me wrong, there are definitley hard days and endless challenges. But I kind of love the challenge. The problem is that I find that I get upset with myself for getting burned out or tired or just not measuring up... And the silly thing is that I am the only one who thinks I'm not measuring up. Well, ok, there are always those who are really quick to judge and would be eager to point out my failings, but my biggest critic has always been myself.
I think this is a universal problem for most women. We really want to be able to do it all and we somehow think that anything less than everything isn't good enough. But good enough for who? Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to be everything. Most of the time society doesn't expect us to be everything. Our families don't even expect us to be everything. Honestly, I am the one who puts the pressure on myself.
So, what do I cut out? How do I prioritize? It really isn't possible financially to cut out any of the jobs right now, and they are such an incredible blessing because they allow me to be with my family when they are home and to still help meet our financial obligations. I can't just stop being a mom, and I don't want to. I love my family. They are my world. I enjoy my time with friends ... I seem to have a hard time making friends so I treasure the ones I have. I guess I just don't play well with others. My flowers are such a peaceful expression of my soul and I love the opportunity to create something beautiful.
So what to do?
One day we took Snowball in the backyard to get some excercise. She loved the cool green grass and soon decided that this paradise was so much better than her cage. She decided to make her escape and I found myself literally chasing a rabbit. Round and round the yard we ran with Snowball always one hop ahead of me. I couldn't lose my friend, she was much too important to me... I just had to catch her. I leapt after my Snowball and made a frantic grab for her beautiful fluffy white tail... and to my horror, as I caught hold of the swiftly hopping bunny, I pulled her tail completely off. I was devastated. I thought I had killed her. I sobbed harder than I knew I could.
In the end, she ended up being just fine... a little shaken and definitely not the happy bunny she had been just moments before. But I learned a valuable lesson. Running around frantically chasing rabbits is a little like chasing things in life that we think will bring contentment and peace. While it is possible, with patience and strategy and a little luck, to catch one rabbit ... it is quite another thing to chase several at a time.
My advice to myself and to others?
Be good to yourself. Give yourself permission to sit quietly and enjoy the peace and joy that can come from taking the time to focus on one precious thing at a time. There will be time to hold other rabbits, but allow yourself to enjoy each season of life as it comes. Slow down and take a look at all the good that you are doing, instead of focusing on all the areas you feel you are failing in.
And when you can't see the road ahead and it seems that you will never find that peace and rest that you long for, trust in your Heavenly Father and remember that He has said, "Be still and know that I am God." ~Psalms 46:10
The maker of rabbits, and challenges, and families, and trials knows and loves you so completely. Trust in Him. Seek His peace. Take His hand. Feel His love... and keep breathing.