Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Give Me a Break!

Some Thoughts on West and Wewaxation (as Elmer Fudd would say)

As a child my models for being a wife and mom (my mother and grandmother) were servants first. They met every need the family had, served in church and took care of extended family as well as neighbors in need. They prepared meals others enjoyed (no thought to their own preferences), took the drumstick instead of the breast, and often insisted their family rest and leave chores to them.

In the early days of caring for my own home and family I applied these same methods. I remember one day, when I was pregnant with my second child, waking up face-down on my bed in a pile of clean laundry—one sock still in my hand. I had simply collapsed from exhaustion.

Fortunately, my husband had a different kind of role model and (with on-going battles) he helped me learn that caring for everyone-all-the-time wasn't in my job description; that my loved ones were capable and needed to take more responsibility.

I was admittedly a slow learner, and a bit stubborn, but as time went on I learned there was much freedom and peace for all of us when I let people do their own jobs. Letting go of guilt as I rested and watched others labor was tough initially, but each time I saw their satisfied faces when they had accomplished something on their own, it became a little easier.

Following is an excerpt from Joan C. Webb's book It's a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life: Devotional Readings for Women Who Strive Too Hard to Make it Just Right (Regal, 2009). I was delighted to participate in Joan's Blog tour. For tomorrow's stop, click here and this link will show you the whole schedule. As a recovering work-aholic and perfectionist, Joan has been a powerful inspiration to me.

Diane Markins

Rest Regardless

He restores my soul. Psalm 23:3

"Whenever I say I need to rest or take a nap, I get dirty looks from my family," said a coaching client. "This pushes my button and keeps me moving. Lately I've realized I let their reactions control me. Should I stop to rest even if they don't like it?"

This reminded me of a conversation I had with an executive friend who said, "God has specifically told me to take care of myself this year and stop doing for everybody else what they can do for themselves or what someone other than me can do to help. He assured me he doesn't want me to work so hard that my health is negatively affected. I will obey him and include space and rest into my life. But here's the rub: Others don't appreciate that I've changed my modus operandi. I'm getting flack."

I understand. Some of us have taught others that we're super-women—willing, skilled and available to make life easier for them. When this is the case, it is unlikely they'll suggest we relax, or be pleased if we choose to take time off. But here's what my client and the executive—and I—have learned: We don't have to wait until someone else notices our exhaustion and suggests we take a break. God grants us permission to take responsibility for ourselves. He loves to replenish our souls, and we can cooperate with Him regardless of what others say or do.

Lord, I want a balanced life of doing, trusting and resting.

*Bonus: If you post a comment you'll be entered in a drawing to receive a signed copy of the book! (Make sure I can contact you) DM


Just Breathe said...

Great job Diane. I did mine on November 19th. Don't put me in the drawing. Take care & God Bless.

Connie said...

Yes, after 20 years of being a single parent, I've beginning to rest-mostly birthed out of a lifetime of exhaustion. I'm now remarried and an empty nester. I work full time outside the home and I'm beginning to learn that I don't have to do it all for everyone all the time. Praise God!!! I'm reading a book called Sit, Walk, Stand, and right now we're talking about sitting--not doing. I love it!!!
P.S. You can enter me in the drawing! My email address is

Grandma Scott said...

Give and take 50/50 is how my husband and I have always been we both do what is front of us and love each other, we are friends, soul mate and lovers not alway in that order I start each morning in prayer as does he and we move together side by side threw the day hugs Grandma Scott

Nancy said...

I regret that it took me over 50 years plus a bout with anxiety and depression to realize that i can't do everything .... my own stuff plus what the people around me need. Although i love getting involved and helping where i can, it leaves no time to take care of me. Earlier in my life I was not as in tune to God and His word and how He wanted me to live my life.
My daily devotionl,Jesus Calling, is a wonderful reminder of what God's word says about His faithfulness to me and His presence
in every aspect of my life. Being closer to Him is helping me change my lifelong habit of being too busy to have time for myself or Him.

Ally Johnson said...

I absolutely agree with the rest and relaxation part and have myself struggled with the guilt associated with it. I'm thankful for a husband who encourages me to take time for me, and who is happy to pick up the slack if needed. In order for us to be all we can be for our families, we must be all we can be for ourselves first.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Sister!
Rebecca Lamb

Anonymous said...


I too grew up in an era where women did it all. Once my mother went to work & then opened her own real estate business; things changed. My Dad always did the dishes following a big meal - he was never told to do so - he just did. When I went back to college after our daughter's were born, my husband just automatically pitched in to help. And after he died, the girls took on chores they never would have had life been as before.

PAPA does want us to live a balanced life & I'm still trying to negotiate that piece, ha! I am 'driven' by productivity; thus I always fight guilt bangs when doing something just for me or when others do things for me. . .

But I'm working on that aspect diligently! Thanks for adding your wisdom here. . . much appreciated!

Love in your day,

Linda Fitzgerald

Joan C. Webb said...

Diane, thank you immensely for hosting one of the last stops on my Wonderful (Imperfect) Life BLOG TOUR. I so appreciate you. And I identify with your personal comments.

Love your comment "Letting go of guilt as I rested and watched others labor was tough initially, but each time I saw their satisfied faces when they had accomplished something on their own, it became a little easier." :-)

And thank you to all your readers and followers. I loved reading their comments, too.

Merry Christmas!
Relief blessings,

Diane Markins said...

Congrats to Linda Fitzgerald. You won the drawing and I'll mail you a signed copy of It's a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life.
Thanks to all who commented.