Yesterday I wrote about the importance of us homemakers being still. The importance of slowing down and paying attention to what our needs actually are. Today I am talking about what to do once you discover what your needs are. And that is to USE YOUR VOICE.
In Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect she talks about how men always take care of their needs. If they are hungry, they eat. If they are thirsty, they drink. If they are tired, they nap. But women on the other hand are not very good at this. We just keep shoving our needs down down down and eventually we snap! I hear moms say all the time “I haven’t bathed in a week. I haven’t eaten anything today. I just need a second to breathe.” Yikes. We know what we need but we feel like we can’t get it.
That’s what happened to me this week. This week was HARD. So very hard. Trice came off of an out of town gig and went straight into a procedure which required a few days of bed rest. I was already empty by the time this week started and I so needed time away, but it felt like it was an impossibility. I wasn't able to still myself like I needed to. I wasn't able to spend time with Jesus. My emotions went crazy. I yelled at my kids. I was bitter toward my husband, and I walked around with a chip (okay several chips) on my shoulder.
Sometimes I NEED to get out of my environment and reset. But what I have found is that our men cannot read our minds. We can hope and pray that they will pick up on our cues and magically know all of our needs (thanks, Hollywood for that distortion), but that is unfair. So after several bouts of frustration and not being very nice to my hubby, I finally used my VOICE. I told him what I needed, and he was more than happy to give me time away yesterday afternoon. It has taken me 28 years to learn how to use my voice and express my needs, and what I am finding is that my husband is not appalled that I have needs. He isn't frustrated when I ask for some help. He would much rather me get what I need than to huff and puff and kick and scream all day. He is actually relieved when I lay out exactly what I need instead of him having to play the guessing game. I am not sure of the WHY behind it being hard for women to express our needs, but if I took a poll, I wouldn't be surprised if I found that a lot of us have a hard time using our voices.
Have you ever huffed and puffed around your home? Have you ever pitied yourself for your needs not being met? Or am I the only one? I am learning that a healthy, powerful person uses her voice and doesn't play the victim.
What I’m learning is that self-neglect is NOT the same as selflessness. “Submission” and “leading a quiet life” are not synonymous with “playing the martyr” and not taking care of yourself. Skipping out on your basic needs does not make you heroic. Just like you wouldn't drive your kids around in a car with flat tires and a check engine light, so you shouldn't mother out of exhaustion or unhealthiness. You must fill your own tank before you can fill others’ tanks.
If you need to carve out time to be quiet, do it. If you need to take it a step further and see a counselor, do it. Even if it breaks the budget. Why is it that we do not think twice about paying for our kids to see the doctor, but we wrestle with the idea of hiring a babysitter for an afternoon or paying someone to clean the house once a month if we are overwhelmed? I have put off seeing a counselor for years because of the cost, but Philippians 4:19 says that “God will supply ALL your needs according to His glorious riches.” That means when you get honest and express to God what you really need, He will show up. Every time.
Sweet friends, take some time to be still today. Take some time to feel your feelings. Take some time to think about what you need. Then voice it and take care of yourself. Take a shower. Finish your cup of coffee. Put on makeup. Brush your teeth. Schedule an appointment with a counselor. Hire a house cleaner (even if you have to sell something to pay for one!). Close yourself in your closet for a few minutes of peace and quiet. If the kids have to cry for a second, they will be ok. It's more damaging to their psyche for you to be unhealthy and then resenting them for it.
We ladies have to stop trying to be the superhero. If you looked at me as some sort of superhero who has it all together, I am here to shatter that image. I am here, publicly waving my white flag of surrender. Whoever said that we had to do it all? I certainly cannot do it all on my own. I need help, and I trust that God is going to supply that help bit by bit. Even if it means an extra dose of energy and grace for certain tasks. God is a good Father and He gives His children good gifts. It's okay to let some of your pride go and reach out for help. God loves to help and He loves to be needed :)
What do YOU need right now? Do you need help? Do you need peace? Do you need time away? Do you need to get some new clothes? Do you need to see a counselor? Do you need a one-time house cleaning? What do you need today? Express it to our gracious Father and watch how He faithfully comes through for you.