This morning I woke up later than usual.
By the time I sat down at my dining room table with a bowl of granola, a cup of coffee, and my Bible, I was already feeling the pressure of another busy day weighing heavily.
Even as I opened my Bible, my mind began to fret:
How am I going to get our school work done today AND clean this house?
What about the needs of my friends from church… I feel overwhelmed that there’s nothing I can do to help them right now.
I didn’t get up early enough to blog this morning or update my weekly newsletter. Wow, I’m totally going to bomb this bundle sale.
I meant to turn to my daily reading in the New Testament, but my Bible fell open to the book of Ecclesiastes. An underlined verse in chapter four grabbed my full attention:
Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
Isn’t that my word for this year?
It’s funny how I just keep bumping into “quiet”. Daily being reminded of how very much I need this “quiet” in my life, my heart, my mind.
“Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.”
I cross referenced this verse (Ecclesiastes 4:6) in several different Bible translations, and basically it means
It is better to be satisfied with the few things you have than to always be struggling to get more.
Do you ever feel like that’s you? Like you’re always trying too hard?
Trying too hard to get ahead.
Trying too hard to reach perfection.
Trying too hard to lose weight or get into shape.
Trying too hard to be a better wife… or find a husband!
Trying too hard to eat healthier.
Trying too hard to get a home business or a dream off the ground.
Trying too hard to get your name out there, be a better blogger, or a better _______________ (you fill in the blank).
I think a lot of us are guilty of trying too hard.
I’m not suggesting that we should sit back and take the easy road-to-nowhere.
As Christian women, we should be intentional, driven, focused.
But sometimes we simply fall into the trap of “always struggling for more”, or, as another translation put it, “always chasing the wind”.
Can I ask you a question?
What are you chasing after?
And where is it leading you?
Toward rest? Joy? Contentment?
Or are you “always struggling”?
Against fatigue, discontent, and a feeling of no sense of accomplishment?
Motivation and a certain amount of “striving” are good things.
But when is the last time you simply enjoyed life?
Just because it’s your life?
Not because you have the perfect skirt or bra size.
Not because you have a perfect marriage.
Not because your house is big enough and clean enough and organized enough.
Not because you eat great and look great and feel great.
Not because finances are good and you’re reaching all your personal goals.
Those are all good things, but what about just being satisfied with the things you have (and are) instead of always struggling to get (and be) more?
What about taking a nap so you’ll feel like a nice person instead of an over-worked grouch?
What about cuddling on the couch with a good book and a cup of coffee?
What about just relishing the rain… or the cold… or the heat… instead of battling the elements?
What about just… enjoying life anyway?
So here’s my challenge for you (and my weekend reads):
- Stop trying so hard.
- Cultivate beauty in your life (
evenespecially on difficult days).
- Ask the Lord to show you one thing you should focus on right now (instead of the many things that are wearing you out).
- Let a few things go (the best advice I’ve ever heard).
- Remember: you can’t do it all!
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This weekend, I’ve got homemade personal pizzas on the menu, a lavender soak with a good book on the agenda, and hopefully enough quiet time to write up my workshop outline for our upcoming Girls’ Day Out at church.
How do you intend to enjoy this weekend?
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.