Tuesday, February 07, 2012

When Extending Grace Overwhelms Me

Typically I am good at one kind of extending grace - to myself. Now to those who really know me well this sounds like a complete lie and oxymoron. I am very hard on myself in a lot of ways. But, when I am stressed or tired or have just had a rough day - to a certain degree, I extend grace to myself.

I set aside a chore and read a book or do something creative to refresh and rejuvenate. But, I notice that sometimes I can extend myself too much grace or grace of an unhelpful nature.

Am I making any sense with this or just running circles? Here's an example - one day a couple of weeks ago, I was just having an off day, feeling unmotivated and restless and not getting much accomplished.

I extended grace. I threw out my to-do list for the day and walked around the yard taking pictures, unwrapped crayons for a Valentine project, and just did various other random things that weren't necessary but available to be done.

That one day of grace from chores and routines has cost me dearly. I had been on a long run with routine and order managing to come out above the chaos and that day changed everything and I've yet to completely regain footing from that decision. I have felt overwhelmed, snowed under, struggling to know where/how to begin again, grouchy, etc...

That day made my house look like this {and more!}:

A week later, I was still struggling and floundering and overwhelmed by the state of the union in our home. I remembered I had printed out this 2 hour home cleaning checklist from Crystal at Money Saving Mom and decided to carve out the time to do it the next day. I got it done! And, felt so good until that evening when I basically needed to do all the cleaning up, picking up, tidying all over again. Talk about a roller coaster!

Truthfully, I have so regretted this extension of grace to myself that one day. Perhaps I should call it laziness and not extending grace to myself on that occasion. But whatever you call it - I think I learned a valuable lesson.

Extending grace is not always in the best interest of others or even myself. And, that is one thing that is so tough about grace - knowing when to extend it and when to just push forward and gut it out.

And, here's the thing - I bet you can imagine {because you know} that when my house looks like complete chaos, my heart is a wreck.

1 Corinthians 14:33a, "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace."

This is a living post, I guess - because I find that I can't really finish it since I'm still living right here in this for now.


Amy said...

Love this! Thank you for sharing. My heart needs it.

Anonymous said...

One rule at our house. If the kids are big enough to drag it out and play, they are big enought to put the stuff away when they finish. It sure saves my time of picking up after them.

Anonymous said...

Ohmiword Monica. I soooo feel your pain. I have been under the dishes, diningroon table, piles on the floor for days now, just cause of goofing off one day! And it has been on a roll since then. DOWNHILL ;-) I feel like I have a mountain to climb and I know I will be so much happier when it is clean...its just getting there. And I am my biggest critic, so I get down on myself and then, spiral down, and you know the rest. Praying for us BOTH today. I will NOT let the enemy have the victory here and overwhelm myself with discouragement! In His Grip Always, Lynnebee

HeatherMavis said...

I have been frustrated over this subject many a time. I haven't extended grace well to myself nor to those (my family) I hoped would extend grace to me. My expectations get too high - not placed in Jesus and I get disappointed in myself and my family. I have been known to ask "why is it that I end up PAYING for a little time off? When I don't live up to my own expectations there's the guilt and a dark blue mood that the whole house is effected by.
It looks like you need to extend grace to your overextended grace. I know exactly how you feel, regretting your lazy day. Seeing the chaos and where it all began. Spend some time talking to Our Father about it remembering that you can do nothing without Him. Put on some praise music,sing along. Then if you're like me put on some "work" music (I get distracted if I start singing along) and dive into the work. God bless You and the work!

HeatherMavis said...

Here's a blog I think you would love, thequiethome.blogspot.com

South Girl in the West said...

I can completely relate to your question. I am in the first trimester with our fourth baby and am really having a lot of morning sickness and fatigue. My home and children catch the short end of the stick because i guess i extend myself too much grace. My body says lay down and nap, so i do. The result is a crazy unorganized life and home. Each new day i say i'll do better, but then fatigue takes over. Hopefully things get better. While motherhood is hard, it is also worth it! And we are learning and growing, just like our children, so don't be hard on yourself!

angie said...

A difficult balance, indeed. I tend to go to the other extreme, never allowing myself to coast and be refreshed. My kids think that being adult/parent is all work and no play because I portray it in that light. Maybe like the 2 hour cleaning checklist, we need to extend ourselves grace with an end time in mind.

Mom said...

I totally get the part about being a wreck on the inside when things are out of order around me!!

Here is an idea you may have already tried, but the next time you have a day when you feel unmotivated, set a time limit (one hour, 15 minutes, whatever you can handle) and have EVERYONE pitch in to pick up, put away, clean up -- whatever needs to be done. Then when that time is up, everyone can have the rest of the day off.

Another idea is to do the reverse of that -- give yourself a time limit for your extension of grace (at least an hour or two). Then when that time is up, it's back to what needs to be done.

Extending grace is good, but sometimes it needs limits -- just like a lot of things!

Love you, Mom

Mary Ann said...

I agree with your Mom about setting limits on both ends. I've found that keeping to a simplified version of my daily routine on "off" days and weekends really helps so that everything does not spiral out of control and leave me feeling way behind all week.

Jill said...

This is exactly where Im at myself. I seem to get so stressed out when my home looks like this which is EVERY day. My husband, a wonderful man, gets onto me often when Im trying to keep it clean, or even just picked up. He tries to remind me that the kids will only be little for so long and then I will wish I had that time back with them. I know he's right but I struggle something terrible when my home is a mess. Lately I've been working hard to declutter my home, thinking that it will be much easier and faster to manage on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing!