Everything at Once

. . .  As pretty as a picture hanging from a fixture
Strong like a family, strong as I wanna be
Bright as day, as light as play
As hard as nails, as grand as a whale

All I wanna be oh, all I wanna be, oh
All I wanna be is everything
Everything at once
Everything at once, oh
Everything at once  . . . 

I absolutely love this song by Lenka. The first reason is because Lenka has an absolutely beautiful voice. And the second reason is because whenever I hear this song, I think, “ME TOO!!” I feel like my whole goal in life has been to BE EVERYTHING AT ONCE!!!

So many of my life choices have been about finding ways to be everything, all at once. My husband and I somehow found a way to both go back to school to get our PhDs at the same time with a one-year-old daughter in tow at the beginning of our journey. Three years later, when our limited student health insurance suddenly covered maternity benefits, we decided to have another baby. The following year, with a baby and a preschooler and both of us in a PhD program, was the most stressful of our lives. And another year later, we somehow managed to find a solution to The Two-Body Problem of academia and both found great jobs at our alma mater. But, we also had the distinct privilege of being two people who are each very career-focused, with two children who we love and want to spend as much time as we can with. 

So I feel like my life has been devoted to trying to be EVERYTHING AT ONCE to everyone. And although I have made peace with the fact that my house will always be a wreck, and I am destined to suffer one series of Pinterest failures after another, I still want to achieve at everything that I do. My goals when starting at our new jobs were simple. First, to take care of my family. Second, to make tenure. That's it. But then, somehow along the way, it changed to also include: Serve on every volunteer organization possible, and become an awesome runner, and make the kids participate in every activity that they can (even though they don’t really like activities), and, and, and…

It is EXHAUSTING trying to do and be everything at once. I have been struggling with this feeling for years, but I think that I finally hit my breaking point this past month. Like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, I suddenly hit my breaking point with one small addition, when I learned that my son needed weekly vision therapy sessions in a town 65 miles away. And suddenly, my whole endeavor to be EVERYTHING AT ONCE came crashing down. I couldn't be everything at once. It simply wasn't possible. 

I believe that God placed this song in my heart to help me slowly develop a new attitude...

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep . . . 

These words, popularized by the Byrds but originally ascribed in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, have so much power and truth that they take my breath away. "To everything there is a season." A season. It is impossible to do everything at once and do it well. Right now, this is a season with out-of-town medical appointments, but it won't last forever. Just like the baby phase with two crazily stressed parents didn't last forever. And my job isn't to do everything at once, but to simply lean into to the season of life that I am in at the moment and do the best that I can. 

Just like we learn in kindergarten, we sometimes have to Wait Our Turn. There is a time to be a line leader, and a time to be a door holder. There is a time when we will barge full-speed ahead in our careers. And there is a time when we will squeeze in every minute that we can with our children at home because that time is fleeting. And in the end, it is all about embracing the season we are in. Which is a truly beautiful way to live.

Amy spends her days as the world's most unorganized accountant professor, and her nights chilling with her crazy, equally unorganized family. She is blessed to be part of a wonderful church family both near and far who pushes her, challenges her, and loves her. Amy loves chocolate, reading, running, and ignoring the dishes.  Enjoy of her wit and wisdom over at her blog 4 is More.