This month I realized that I put too much pressure on myself to succeed.  This revelation occurred to me last Monday as our family was driving to Dothan.  The warm haziness of the sun had just drifted beyond reach and darkness started to set in as we drove south on Highway 231.  Raleigh and I had been in a tizzy earlier that day and we were finally discussing our gripes with one another.  Lately, I have been a bit of a grinch.  My tongue has been short and I haven't really enjoyed the companionship of my husband.  Everything he had done last month just plain got on my nerves.  If he took all of the covers at bedtime I felt like he was doing it to make me feel cold.  If he drank the last gulp of water out of our shared cup, it was his fault it was empty.  When our big dog was hysterically hyper I threatened to have him stay in Dothan next time we visited because it was Raleigh's fault that he was acting this way.  Anything and everything about that boy was just getting on my nerves.

Needless to say, what conversation we had up to that point in the car had been limited.  Finally, neither one of us could take the silence any more and on that two hour drive we both apologized for the way we had been treating one another.  Raleigh said that he has been having trouble being at work instead of home with the girls.  He knew our dog needed to be exercised but he would rather spend time holding and kissing our babies instead of running.  He was having a difficult time managing all of his responsibilities and he felt like I had too high of expectations for him.  He was right about the last one.  I expect way too much from my husband.  I want him to be the perfect family man and I often ignore any signs of struggle.

Raleigh did have some blame-worthy moments this past October, but I take first place in the one instigating the problems.  It all goes back to my need to succeed.  Last month, I was stressed.  I finally realized that on our drive home.  As the cow pastures and peanut fields passed by my window, my heart began to soften.  I just started to talk, hiding my tears in the darkness of the night.  I felt so bad for the way I had been treating Raleigh.  He was such an easy target and it made me feel better to place blame on him rather than myself.  As I was talking, I realized that the pressures in my life are put there only by me.  I used to think it was my circumstances or my job.  Whenever I used to feel stressed I thought it was because I had to do what I was doing and if I could only choose how to live my life I wouldn't feel stressed.  I realized that ever since I stopped working outside the home I have still put pressure on myself to stay busy.  I think that made me feel like my days were still worthwhile; that somehow what I do now is still just as important as having a real job that gave me a pay check every two weeks.  I want my life to be filled with substantial days and not let any hour go to waste.

So, the question I had to ask myself, "Is caring for my babies wasteful?"  My answer every time is, "No, it most certainly is not."  I realized that the babies are not the root of my issue.  I think the reason I feel this way is because I still have my own goals that I want to see fulfilled.  If I don't take time to work on these goals, I will feel like my purpose in life was never accomplished.  I don't want to look back in twenty years and wish I had taken more time to devote to this ambition but at the same time I don't want to miss out on any moment with my two beautiful little miracles.  So, is now the time to accomplish these goals?

This is where my problem lies.  My girls are my number one priority besides God and my husband.  Period.  End of discussion.  When our day starts, I do everything that I have to for them.  We eat, change diapers, play, learn, grow, and sleep.  That takes up a major portion of my day.  What time I have left is juggled between friends, family, household commitments, quiet time with God, the blog, learning to sew, and my goals among other things.  Every day is different but I try so hard to keep consistency.  I think that if I stick to my planner as a guideline, I will get everything accomplished.  But, I think I push myself too hard some days.  When it looks like I'm not going to get things done, I start to feel anxious.  That is where the pressure begins.  It is this need for perfection that is driving me nuts.  I need to be satisfied to focus on quality rather than quantity.

Before the girls were born, I really felt like God was calling me to go deeper with my writing.  Our whole experience in the NICU

My quiet time is way shorter these days and my prayers have been more of thankfulness than anything else.  I have SO much to be thankful for and I feel like now is the time to act on how gracious He has been to me.  Last year was a time for seeking out my purpose and I felt the calling on my life.  Why is it so hard now to accomplish it?  Why am I second guessing it?  I think it is because I see this huge picture and I'm not taking it one step at a time.  If I have learned anything, it is to trust God and give Him all control.  I need to take some time to spend with him in genuine prayer.  My soul is yearning to scoot closer to Him so I can rest my head on His shoulder.  He needs to stroke my hair and tell me everything is going to be okay.  I need to look at Him and realize that Christ is perfection and it is our goal to live our lives like Christ but not as Christ.  I need to know that what I am doing is meaningful in His eyes and is part of His plan for my life.

So, friends, I think I need to spend some alone time with God.  I need to remember that what I am doing is very meaningful.  It is growing me into the woman that I want to become but that woman needs to stop putting so much pressure on herself.  I have to get past this need to succeed and literally take things one day at a time like I did this summer.  Getting back to the heart of the matter, I have to trust in God's perfect timing.  If this goal of mine is meant to be fulfilled in the near future, it will.  I need to remember what God has already taught me so I can continue to move forward instead of going backwards.  This month might be a little different for my blogging.  As important as it is to me, I might not be posting as much material this month as I have been.  Who knows, I might be posting a ton if I feel His gentle prompting...I guess we will see as the days unfold.  All I know is I need to spend some genuine time filling up my soul through His truth.  Thank you for allowing me to share such tender feelings; I already feel like this is a step in the right direction.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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