Have you ever felt like a hamster stuck in a wheel? Your legs are moving and you’re working hard, but you just aren’t getting anywhere?
That was me yesterday.
I tried to go for a run, but the heat got the best of me. Instead of the long run I imagined, I ended up walking for a bit, turned around and came home.
I tried to fix the Instagram links on my blog, but after an hour and a half of no progress and increasing frustration, I realized it was time to move on.
I tried to write an article, but when I sat down to type the words, my mind went blank. I couldn’t think of a single thing to share.
I woke up yesterday with a lofty list of goals and hopes. It was my only day this week without any commitments while the kids were at school, and I was determined to make it productive.
Instead of the productive day I imagined, it was a lot of wheel spinning and going nowhere.
As the day went on, I could feel my anxiety rising. It’s a big week. If I fall behind on Monday, what’s the rest of the week going to look like? Today was pretty disappointing.
Or was it?
Later, as I was reflecting on the events (or lack thereof) during the day, I realized maybe it wasn’t really that bad.
Maybe I was just focusing on the wrong things.
Did I get my workout in, fix my blog, or write my article? No. Was the laundry all folded and put away? Did I clean out the craft room like I had hoped? No.
But here’s what I did do.
I did spend extra time snuggling my little ones in the morning before they went off to school. I was able to go on a walk and enjoy some fresh air in the middle of the day. I learned a little more about the great big world of website design while I was attempting to fix some minor issues. I had a phone conversation with a friend who I hadn’t spoken with in a long time. I ate dinner with my family, watched part of my daughter’s ballgame and received a free muffin from the local market.
Was it the productive day I had hoped for? Were all the boxes neatly checked off? No. But it was still a good day.
I think sometimes all it takes is a mental reset. Sometimes it takes looking at what was accomplished in a day, and not worrying so much about what didn’t get done. Sometimes it takes a switch from grumbling to gratitude; thank you, Lord, that I had today at all. Because each day is a gift, and no days are promised.
I need to realize that spending time with my children and my husband has great value. Helping them get ready for school and out the door in the morning. Making their meals and tucking them in at night. Driving them to and from school and practices. Watching their games. Helping with homework. Relaxing with my husband at the end of a long day. These things matter. In a lot of ways they matter more than many of the things I have on my list in a given day.
And there is value in rest. There is value in taking a time-out from the daily grind to read, or write, or draw, or run, or journal, or walk through the woods, or meet a friend for a cup of coffee.
When my children were very little, there were many days when all I could do was shower (maybe), nurse my baby, change diapers, and (if we were fortunate) make it to the park or the library for an hour. Those days may have felt unproductive at times, but looking back – they were filled with irreplaceable, immense value.
There is value in the minutia of life.
The next time I’m thinking about all that I didn’t get done in a day, I need to remember all the small things that did get accomplished. The small things that can often be overlooked. Brushing my daughter’s hair. Helping to pick out an outfit. Answering emails, scheduling appointments and signing school papers.
Yesterday may not have looked how I wanted, but it was still a good day. A day filled with blessing upon blessing upon blessing.
I just needed to shift my focus, and open my eyes, to be able to see it.