Do you remember being little and playing too long in the bathtub to the point where your skin would start to wrinkle? My mama would always remind me that once the skin got ‘pruney’ it was time to get outta that tub. It’s a funny memory and now as I towel my own children off, I still remember what it felt like to have those same stayed-playing-in-the-tub-until-I-squished fingers and toes. Here is the thing though; I think sometimes my soul gets pruney. Sometimes in the midst of the constant demands of each day, I forget what once started out as fun can quickly turn soggy.
Mothering ushers in a certain measure of magic and mess, but we have to know our limits. God cares about our waterlogged souls. So how do we unravel this tangle between our own needs and the needs of those around us? Here are four ways to give your heart a tune-up:
Call a Soul Time-out
There is no way you can pour back into your family if you are constantly running on empty. Soul-care is exactly that – taking the time to acknowledge that your own soul needs care. So when you feel yourself beginning to unravel – PAUSE! Take a break or give yourself a break in one area that is making you feel “cray cray.” This can be as simple or extravagant as you like, but the key is to walk away feeling like you did one thing that nurtured your own heart. It might look something like this:
- Light a candle
- Drink a cup of tea
- Go for a hike
- Order tasty take-out
- Engage your creative side
- Take a hot shower or bath
- Spend time gardening
- Read a book
- Listen to music
- Take a nap
Fight to be in the Moment
Thanks to social media we are faced with the opportunity to connect with people all over this beautiful planet, but sometimes that pressure can cause us to diminish those who are right in front of us. There is a battle for our time, but there is something so deeply moving about real human connection. Defy the urge to capture every moment, and simple BE present with your people. Look into their eyes, listen to their stories and love the ones you are with.
Unleash a Fresh Wave of Joy
Our children are great teachers of joy, it comes so easily for them and we should start taking notes. They aren’t afraid to laugh at the top of their lungs at the simplest thing they find funny. They don’t filter their reaction to the world around them, they just respond. So, get out there and giggle! Keep a record of things that bring you joy and talk about them often. Don’t wait for a special occasion. Try throwing a family “Gratitude Party” and invite others into your rejoicing. When we take time to delight in the people and beauty around us, it breathes fresh joy into our souls.
Share Your Burdens With Others
When you are walking through a painful season, the weight of your own personal grief can be relentlessly isolating. Sometimes even just the thought of letting someone into the messy parts of your life sounds like too big a risk. There is often this unspoken fear that if you expose too much that perhaps you’ll wind up feeling even more alone, but this is a lie! God created us for community. Let your tribe shoulder your pain with you, let them pray over you, and speak hope into your story.
So whether you find yourself in the eye of the storm, or tossed in the deep end of the pool, remember this, Mama: God sees you. He won’t let you sink.
Asha Grinnell is a lover of adventure, family dance parties and spending time by the sea. She is married to the man of her dreams and a mama to two little darlings who keep her on her knees and her toes.