Thrive as You


It’s funny the things we believe when we’re growing up. When I was a kid I thought babies came from hospitals—literally that the hospital passed out babies (my mom never told me my four sisters were growing inside of her).

Katie used to think that squirrels controlled the stoplights. I don’t know where she got the inspiration for that one!

As a young mom I thought to be a good mom I should never spend money on myself or do anything to rejuvenate myself. I thought good moms keep going with no complaining and no pampering.

Then one year at Easter I was shopping for the girls’ Easter dresses and I wandered into the women’s dress department. I didn’t need an Easter dress. I had a couple I had worn for many years. (I still remember them perfectly.) But a few dresses caught my eye. Before I knew it I was in the dressing room in search of my new Easter dress. And you know what? I found one!

Gene was happy I bought a new dress. The fashionista that had been sleeping in me was unleashed.

A few years later Gene was driving me to the airport for my first writers’ conference. On the way to the airport he said, “You need a new purse. You are not going anywhere with that old purse.” (The kids said it is an icon from their childhood. They wont’ let me get rid of it.) So we stopped and bought me a new purse. Again, that one act awoke the purseaholic that I didn’t even know lived inside of me.

Since then I have given myself permission to buy myself clothes and purses.

For many years I believed the same type of fallacy—rarely take time for me, instead give everything I have for my family. Rarely should I do anything just for me.

About this same time in my life, I was asked to join the leadership team of a large Bible study I attended. Part of my responsibility was to write and give a short talk every week. I took this responsibility very seriously. Gene designated Sunday afternoon as my time to write. He kept the girls occupied while I sweated bullets over every word I wrote on my yellow legal pad. Even though this wasn’t a “fun” thing, it filled me up. It was the beginning of my process of following the calling God put in me. As importantly, taking that time to write showed me that not only was it okay for me to do something I liked to do, it was part of who God made me to be.

Currently, my tank needs to be refilled. Lots of wedding planning, remodeling, and lack of time to write and the fulfillment that comes from it have drained me. I’m not as “me” as I usually am.

So what will I do to be refreshed in the midst of “two weddings and a baby”? What will I do to refuel in the midst of a season that will continue for several more months? Please know this is a precious time of life that I will cherish forever. But still I must rejuvenate myself so I can be my best and be fully me for my family.

Since this craziness is my new normal for the next few months, I need to learn to thrive in it. I will make the most of pieces of time to do what refuels me.

  • I will run or bike first thing in the morning.
  • I will write in snippets of time and not make the excuse I need more time. In his book, The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin talks about taking time to do the stuff that makes us us. He calls it our “art.” He writes, “And we’re most likely to do that work [our art] when it’s least expected, when the table is small, the resources are lacking, and time is short.”*
  • I will give myself grace when I’m not accomplishing all I think I should do. I’m doing the best I can.
  • I will have coffee with friends and invite other couples over for dinner–keeping it simple.
  • I will not resent “interruptions” as they are my day. They are my calling from God for this season.

What about you? What refuels you? What makes you you? May I suggest that you may be spending your snippets of time on things that don’t refuel you? Sure, it’s fun to catch up on the latest on Facebook, but how much time do you really need? Wouldn’t you feel better if instead you (fill in the blank with your “art.”) What else eats up precious time you could use to refresh you? Texting? Twitter? Shopping? Online anything?

We’re older and wiser now. We know where babies come from and that squirrels don’t operate the stoplights. We know we need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of those who count on us and so we can live the mission God gave us. We know that, right?

So what are you going to do about it? In this crazy season of your life, how will you find time for you to be you?

I would love to hear your ideas.

BTW–The reason I’m using this pic is because I was thriving as me at the time–had just run a 5K that morning, enjoying life, family and friends.

*The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin. Penguin Group. Page 172.

Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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