I have been doing fantastic work lately on getting my priorities straight. When I say “fantastic,” I mean I hit a brick wall and had no choice but to decide what had to be done and what I needed to let go of immediately.
Simply put, I have been overwhelmed. I won’t go into the details (you are welcome), but my family is currently transitioning on multiple levels. Here is the best way I can explain what life is like right now.
I have this beautiful 10,000-piece puzzle. I have been sitting at my kitchen table for a while now, working diligently on this puzzle (oh, and I am reeealllly good at puzzles, by the way!), yet none of the pieces seem to fit. They all look right, but I can’t even find the outside pieces to start there. I would work on this puzzle, head down, only to pop out of my seat when duty as a wife, mom, caregiver, or business owner called. Once my tasks were finished, I went off to the puzzle again, head down.
There I sit, day after day, staring at this puzzle I so want to finish. Quickly. It just isn’t coming together.
OH! Wait, there’s a corner piece. “Phew, now I can get going,” I say as I rub my hands together triumphantly. Then the government came by, sweeping that piece off the table, and says, “Your work over the past few months has been fine, but we are going to take this and hold off for a few months still. Hold tight.”
Seriously?! You know you are going to give me the dang corner piece…JUST GIVE IT BACK ALREADY! But no, off they go.
Fine. There are three more corners. I can do this.
ABC Organization comes by one day and says we qualify for XYZ services. Whoot whoot! They put together a few puzzle pieces while I’m not even looking. Fabulous. Hope.
Fine. It’s not a corner or outside piece, but I can work with that! I can do this.
Wait. What is that? Is that a cat wearing a bathing suit?! There are no cats in this puzzle? This is a sailboat out off of the horizon of a secluded beach puzzle. GAH! ABC gave me pieces to the wrong dang puzzle. [Insert not-so-nice name-calling on my part, then gentle reprimanding by our Heavenly Father.] Well, they said it’ll not be a problem, but we need to wait until our meeting next month to clarify this fiasco.
Fine. I can do this. I’ll just pretend the sunbathing, bikini-wearing Persian cat is waiting for the sailboat to dock.
I’m not going to go into details but let’s just suffice it to say that there are a plethora of things that are either stealing my puzzle pieces, spilling sticking stuff all over them, or someone is trying to “help.” At the same time, I’m asleep or not looking, and they are doing that thing where they try to force the pieces when we all know they won’t fit.
Fine. I can do this. I’ll just…
What do I need to do?
Do I really need to do anything right now?
Here I am, sitting at the table alone with my head down, stressing myself out when someone has absconded with one of the necessary corner pieces. (And I’m starting to think that the cat is a government operative.) Someone else put me in a bind and told me to wait for a few weeks until they give me back the right puzzle pieces. Meanwhile, I’m pouring all of my energy into this task, head down, with my back to everything I love (and everything I want to do), for what?
Is this a puzzle I need to be doing right now? Is this even my puzzle?!? Let’s be honest. We’re caregivers. We will always have a puzzle or ten that need our attention, and more than a few won’t make sense. However, is this particular puzzle my responsibility at this specific moment, and does it need my attention right now?
This is when I need to evaluate my drivers. I need to ask myself what is driving my behavior. What am I trying to prove, and to whom?
Am I doing this at this time because I know there will be positive outcomes or am I being stubborn and I’m simply frustrated? Are my typical habits taking over to avoid feeling the hopelessness and frustrations of the moment? Am I trying to control the situation by continuing to try and manipulate the situation, by continuing to shove pieces into the puzzle?
Is this puzzle necessary, and is it necessary at this time? Are my actions going to change outcomes in a profound way at this time?
What other actions can I have that would be more “profitable” to myself or my family?
What alternate actions are better suited for my needs, what my family deserves, and what God has called me to right now?
I cannot see what God has in front of me as long as I try to solve my puzzle with my head down.
So, for today, I choose to lift my head, step away from the never-ending puzzle that has no rhyme or reason, and instead step into the laughter and joy God has called me to experience.
I choose to trust God to place the puzzle pieces in front of me as he sees fit for me to find them.
I am also trusting myself enough to know that I am a strong woman, a great caregiver, and I know I’ve got this.
I will not fail because I choose myself today.
The puzzle is going nowhere. I simply choose myself over the creepy bikini-clad cat today, and no one can fault me for that.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those who have already bought our new book, The Other Side of Special: Navigating the Messy, Emotional, Joy-Filled Life of a Special Needs Mom. We are so grateful for each of you. If you are enjoying it, please do us a favor and leave a review on whichever retailer’s website from where you purchased it. That would help us continue to reach other special needs moms out there!
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