The last few weeks I’ve been battling depression and anxiety. I don’t want to get up in the morning and when I finally do, all I dream of is the moment I can return under the covers. In the darkness of my room I feel shielded from all that the world demands of me. I can not do it all. So, I opt to do nothing.
In my saner moments, I can identify the root of the problem. It lies in the supposed.
I Google its definition. Supposed: Generally assumed or believed to be the case, but not necessarily so.
It’s not my long “to do” list that kills me. Rather, it’s that list of what I’m “supposed to do” that weighs me down like the twenty pound diaper bag I used to carry.
Watch your sugar intake. Exercise three times a week or more for at least twenty minutes. Eat more vegetables. Read to your children, every day. Make sure they don’t spend too much time looking at screens. Go to bed early. Wake up early. Don’t spend too much time sleeping. Stay connected to people. Don’t be on social media too much. Be efficient. Don’t multi-task, you’ll ruin your brain. Take time to relax and unwind. But don’t spend too much time on futile activities . . .
On my average day, I feed four minions three square and snacks, solve broken Lego mini figure challenges while teaching three-digit subtraction. I watch the clock on their afternoon screen time like the person administering the SAT and schedule dentist appointments. I do three loads of laundry–at least twice a week. I sweep the spilled Cheerios and wipe down peanut butter stained placemats. I write blog posts. I pin a few recipes. I post a few Facebook funnies. I connect with my husband, read my Bible, and try to encourage a friend. I check-in on my parents, plan my next grocery store trip (then try to find those coupons I cut out two weeks ago). Most days I also take a nap. . .
And yet . . .
At the end of the day, instead of feeling accomplished, I feel exhausted, drained, unmotivated. My brain spins with all I should or could do. Couldn’t I be an even better wife, mom, writer, friend, daughter, chef, laundress, teacher, house-cleaner or Christian? Shouldn’t I strive to do more?
Yet, now I’m discovering it’s what I’m supposed to do that’s killing my joy–not my actual activities.
See the supposed tells me that the list of what I get done each day isn’t enough. I’m supposed to be feeding my children better snacks than what comes out of the Costco sized box of Quaker Chewy granola bars. I’m supposed to be infusing them with literature not Minecraft. I’m supposed to be watching my weight, eating kale at every meal, doing cardio and weights, Tweeting, Pinning, Instagramming and Facebooking so someday I can get another book deal. I’m supposed to be better. More.
I know it’s time to say “Enough!” But, how do I do that?
I read the whole definition again.
Right there. At the end . . . that’s the part I forget. “Not necessarily so . . .”
Who says what I accomplish each day isn’t enough? Who tells me I’m supposed to do more, be more?
It’s not the God who loves me. It’s the enemy who accuses me.
Am I supposed to do more? That’s not necessarily so.
Can I feel joy from the small things I accomplish each day, in this busy, kid-filled season of my life?
Perhaps I can, if I let go of all the supposed.
**What extras is the “supposed” overwhelming you with this week? Let me encourage you to defeat those thoughts with these four words, “That’s not necessarily so!”