I have found myself in a rut lately. The feeling that I'm continually churning my wheels to no avail. I'm stuck. There's a book the girls read, Sheep in a Jeep. In this book, the sheep get their jeep stuck in the mud. As I look out into our backyard, I see the girls toy jeep stuck in the fig trees and I feel similarly.
The striving. The to dos. The constant list of people to connect. Don't get me wrong, I love a good list. But lately I feel that as someone who tries to empower others, especially moms, that I'm lacking what I need to feel inspired.
I set aside the early morning hours to read, journal and stretch. Nap times are sacred - they are time for me to take calls and write. But over the last three weeks the girls haven't been sleeping in and refuse naps. My nerves are frayed. I feel myself running on empty.
And then it happened. I received a notice that I was a semi-finalist for an amazing award. And then I learned that I had won. And even more unbelievable, they wanted to highlight the work I had done with Burmese refugees. For about an hour I couldn't stop smiling. I was in disbelief. Someone actually thinks this work that I love is worthwhile. Someone noticed. Someone encouraged.
The feeling soon faded as I had cranky toddlers to feed, a puppy to scold for chewing up yet another electronic and an old pup to tend to for stomach problems. (I'll spare you the details.) My email box seemed flooded again by random requests or lovely meetings I just simply didn't have the energy for.
So I have found myself slowly saying no. Not because I don't want to, but because I'm finally starting to realize my limits. While the joy of winning an award was an incredible feeling, it doesn't replace the responsibilities that I have as a mother or entrepreneur. That encouragement was needed. Subconsciously I was craving affirmation, someone to tell me it's all worth it.
But how can I profess to encourage other women when I don't have anything left to give? I often get prompts to send someone an encouraging text, and I don't want that to stop, but I have to learn to protect those moments by giving myself some quiet time. If my tots won't sleep, then that just means I need to do less in a day and focus on fewer things.
I guess I say this to reaffirm the lifesaver that is encouragement. Encouragement can look like a friendly text, an award, a hug from a toddler or someone in the drive through line picking up your coffee for you. I'm grateful for it and didn't realize how much we all need it until it happened to me.
So if someone tells you no, or not right now, or doesn't get back to you - it's not that you did anything to offend them, it's just that they need a little space to think and grow and be inspired. I'm going to be more intentional about cultivating this space in my life because I definitely need it. So thank you. Your encouragement over the last few days has been life-giving and very much appreciated. Now if you don't hear from me for a week or so, just know that I'm grateful for you.