I have spent the past six months with my head buried in books, research, and APA formatting. Any love I thought I had for writing has been challenged to the fullest this season, as I have written paper after paper on change management, leadership theory, contemporary management, and data analytics. My brain could not seem to store any more information and as a child I once worked with would say I was having a complete "system overload! System overload!"
This as I'm learning, is the life of a doctoral student. Day by day, paper by paper, I am being transformed to a lean, mean, research machine. "It's all for a purpose" I keep reminding myself and trusting, there is a future me who will be grateful for my sacrifices today.
While all of that might me true, there's also a today me who is tired. Overwhelmed. Burned out. And at full capacity. My house hasn't managed to become self-cleaning. The dinner isn't cooking itself. And my household might be surviving on ceareal, frozen waffles, and anything that comes in a box. The behind the research life of a doctoral student can be quite a mess. For all of the effort, organized, methodical, time and energy I put into school, my personal life is depleted a tiny bit more. So much so that it's December 22nd and though all of my Christmas decorations are up, my Christmas tree hasn't decorated itself yet.
In the past I would have felt beat down by this season of life. I maybe would have felt that womanly guilt that loves to haunt us. Or maybe I would have felt like I'm failing for all the things I'm not doing.
But I decided to be done with that.
Actually, my husband sent me an article that simply said "just do what you can and forget the rules."
I have always been a big proponent for rest, but how do you rest when there's not much room for it? How do you make the time?
For me, I am learning to give myself permission. Permission to "just do what I can and forget the rules."
So some nights, we eat cereal.
Some days, I sit at my computer for 12 hours doing homework.
Some days, I cancel plans.
Some days, I do only the tiniest chore.
And some days, I cry, let it all out, then get back to homework. Remembering that no matter how challenging this is, it's a privilege that not everyone gets to experience.
In this season, rest looks like gratitude for the challenges and trust that the perseverance will pave the way for God's plans in my life. In this season, rest looks like eating cereal for dinner and celebrating that I had enough strength to buy cereal in the first place. In this season, rest looks like just doing what I can and forgetting all the rules.