Wednesday, October 12, 2016

On Strike for JOY

I've been on strike for the past 3 months.  It was the best thing I ever did. For me, it took a major life crisis to open my eyes to the fact that I was on a rat wheel. I was running endlessly from one task to another, one appointment to another, one goal to another, for what? For the kids! For my family! For my husband! For my team! All of those activities are what held our family together, or so I thought. Our identity was made up of a million things like choir, homeschool, church, healthy eating, essential oils, entrepreneurship, and a million other things and they all depended on me and on my schedule. I HAD to do those things because If I didn't, surely something would explode.

And then one day it did. It was a day just like every other where I woke up at 5am to read my scriptures so I could leave at 5:45am to work out so I could be home by 7:15am to shower so I could be ready for devotional by 8:00am and I could slow dance with my husband so he could leave for work right at 8:15am. But when I got home from the workout, he asked to talk to me and right there in our bathroom, it all fell apart. He was leaving. He wasn't happy in our marriage and hadn't been for a long time. After years of working to overcome our personality differences and trying to keep up with my unrealistic schedules and expectations, He was done.  Done? What do you mean Done?  I couldn't wrap my mind around it. Sure, we had struggled, but done? And in that moment, my whole world felt like it was breaking apart, and I thought I would die. I wished I could die. I had never conceived of a life as a single mom. The words were poison on my tongue. Divorced.

My whole identity revolved around being a wife and a mother, and if those weren't ME then who was I?  Did I have any value? Could my life have meaning and purpose if I failed at the very thing I valued most? Was there hope to ever be happy again? I knew that my life depended on me finding the answers to those questions.

So I went on strike for joy. I hadn't allowed myself to do anything just for the joy of it for years. Everything I did was done because it was right, productive, healthy, educational, spiritually uplifting, good for the kids, or character building. On that day, I decided that I wasn't going to do anything If I couldn't do it for joy. If JOY is the purpose of my existence, I was determined to figure out how to feel it. And I did. I found the greatest joy I have ever felt in the middle of the most painful experience of my life. And because of that, I am changed. I am different. I am better. I am stronger than I was before. I am a better woman, wife, and mother than I was before.

My message to you today is don't wait for a crisis to start living your life for joy. Go on strike now. Stop doing all of the things you are doing because you think you have to. Because other people expect you to. Because that's what good mom's do. Clear your plate and your schedule of all the activities and obligations that drain our cup instead of filling it. Just stop. 

Ask yourself this question: What brings me JOY?

Reading a romance novel? do it.
Eating ice cream for breakfast? great!
Sitting under willow tree and staring? Perfect
Paint your bathroom purple? Sweet!
Holding your baby all day and letting the laundry sit? bravo!

I know that some of you are shaking in your boots right now. It sounds scandalous. If you allowed yourself to do those things, what would become of your family? Your children might starve! The house will be a mess! If you allow yourself this kind of indulgence, you may never want to go back to being responsible again! It's possible, but what is the responsible life giving you? Is it giving you joy? Or is it creating a bunch of resentment, discouragement, and overwhelm deep down in your gut?

Going on strike for joy allowed me to Choose in by Choosing out. It allowed me to intentionally add those things back in that were filling my cup and say goodbye to some things for ever. It turns out that I actually do enjoy making dinner for my family, about 3 times a week. The other nights, we are fine with eggs. I really do love to exercise! But not 6 days per week. I really get JOY from attending church and worshipping my God.  As it turns out, making my bed every day is overrated. Going to bed with a clean kitchen every night is not that important. Watching Poldark with my girlfriends-Pure JOY!

I dare you to take the challenge. Go on strike to whatever extent you can. Promise yourself that you will not say yes to anything unless you can do it with joy. When the phone rings and someone is asking you to take a meal to a sick person, ask yourself if you can feel joy about it.  When your child asks if they can sign up for one more sport, ask yourself if you can joyfully support that. When your neighbor insists that homeschooling is really the best way to educate your kids, ask if homeschooling will bring you joy.

Once you learn how to create JOY for yourself, you will naturally spread that to others. Your family, your community, and the world. Lets start a joy revolution;) I wand to hear about your Joy strike! Join my FB Group Heal Mom First- Becoming Happy Healthy Moms and join the discussion.

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