Growing My Own Heart and Habits

Lull from frequent colds, stiff neck and headaches because of neck misalignment. One day up and going, the next day hitting the sack. I wonder what and why am I having such frequent health hiccups?

Other than having to build up my immune system through my diet, the more mind and heart boggling issues had to be discerned and dealt with.

As I ponder and pray, i realise that it took many such feeble moments to break me. As when I am up and well, I instantly resume my speedy strides with intense activities both at work and home.

A mentor wisely summed up her observations. ‘You over commit to everything you do. You are also getting older.‘  She then shared the importance for me to balance my life better. I cannot be giving 100% to everything and everybody. I have to reserve some fuel for my self-care too.

Her remarks startled me. I knew I had to cultivate slowness into my routine but I was not fully convinced to make it a lifestyle. Having identified my over-commitment helped shed light to my weakened health symptoms.

Transition from a 6 year SAHM (Stay At Home Mum) to a 16months Working Mum

For those who are new, I shared my struggle on managing my work and home Here in aug. Prior to that, how I stepped out from a SAHM to working Here in 2015. This post has been stewing a long time. In summary, these are lessons to grow my own heart and habits in 2017.

1. Reframe my expectations

100% is an ideal state. Reality begs to defer. I like how my mentor describes ‘we live in a real world’ therefore we need to balance our expectations. We wish to give our 100% best in everything we do. However, for me, that meant time taken away from my kids and my own sanity. I end up burning low and scalding my kids as cranky mumster. Instead of giving 100% to work or kids, I need to ‘ration’ e.g 50% to them. In other words, I have to limit my time and effort put into them. Instead of working on my lesson plan till it is ‘flawless’, I have to set specific objectives and once it is met, let go of the other ‘imperfections’. I simply cannot have it all. I need to learn contentment in working within the best of my abilities within my given capacity and personal life commitments. I still have to give the other percentage to my children, hubby, relatives, friends and myself!

That brings me to the next point.

2. Set a time limit and stick to it

Stepping out of my SAHM mode into the working world taught me how driven I am in pursuing my own standards. After struggling for a whole year, a habit that I need to change is setting a limit to what I do. As mentioned above, being a SAHM I do not need to report to anyone. Whatever work i do, it is on my own time and own target (otot). This changed when I had to submit work or prepare lessons within a stipulated timeframe. With a year’s experience, it is necessary for me not only to reframe my thinking, but to change my habit of working. Instead of refining my work until I am satisfied, or teach my students/my own kids the standards that I expect from myself, I have to keep within a time limit conscientiously.

Perhaps it is a pursuit of idealism, or is it my way of overcompensating for the lack of childhood that I wish to have? Whichever the case, I need to stop overworking myself and set realisitic goals. My headache incident made me realise how efficient I could be if I were to set my time limits. I had worked on my Scheme of Work for the longest time. Given the throbbing headache circumstances and an already overdue dateline, I made my moves fast, addressing only the essential hiccups. I submitted my work within supersonic speed. It became clear to me that should be the way I start training myself to work – efficiently without compromising quality.

3. Trust God and the villagers

When I came to the end of myself, I had to lean entirely on God to take care of my kids even when I can’t. I gave up micro-managing them. My mentor advised me not to ‘overteach’ them. Recognising that my overteaching could be my subconscious way of compensating for my lack of childhood’s need, I wanted them to have what I did not have. An involved mother’s presence. Now as a mother, I understood that my mum had to work for a living. I am privileged to have the support of my hubby both financially and emotionally for the last 6years as a SAHM. I wanted to do everything within my capacity to love and nurture them. All these are not wrong. I still did it out of love for God.

Nontheless, when I stepped out to work, i lose my momentum and stumble in this stage of life to God. I cannot cope with the demands I make of myself.

1 John 2:16 (NASB)

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

As the layer of an onion is peeled, revealing the odour of the heart, I sniffed the pride of life in me that warrant myself so important that people or work may be ‘deprived’ from my uninvolvement.

I had placed too much burden on my contribution instead of trusting Jesus to be the Lord of mine and others’ lives. I forget that there are other villagers who are significantly contributing and nurturing my lil ones while I am working. They are my kids’ peers, teachers, principals,  sunday school teachers, relatives, our churchmates, friends, domestic helpers, godgranny, school attendants, the bobo (granduncle) we meet often in the park and family members. I need to trust that God has a plan for them. Trust that they will grow well in this singapore village.

If I were to lead a balanced life while juggling with work and my family, I need to relinquish my – self. More trust in Jesus and less emphasis of me.

As another dear mentor encouraged me, To Dwell in the Shadow of God’s Wings.

I need to maintain an intimate realtionship with God. How? To hide under the shadow means to take time and walk along the will of God’s direction. To hide in His word and will. To overburden myself with cares is like stepping out of His shadow. Hide, I shall, under the Shadow of the Almighty’s Wings.

4. Rest and Relax

Lastly, I need to cultivate a more relaxed lifestyle. Age is catching up. I have to make time for personal respite during the weekends. My family always buzz outdoors during weekends. At least allow half a day to rest and be still at home?

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This post is a reminder to make plans for a looser year, and reset my mindset for 2017. Lastly, I am giving myself another year to slowly inculcate the new habits and shed the old. Praying for a better year as a better woman in Christ.

Thank you for following my quiet blog and the recent reviews I had done. It was due to my health issues that I had one review after another without any personal blogging these days. With a clearer idea of my struggles, I hope to blog more positively next year. Thank You for journeying this year with GrowingHearts!

Slowly, In His Time He makes all things beautiful.

How has 2016 been for you?

Do you have any Habits of the Heart to grow too?

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