You really don't.
You might think you must, but you really don't.
This is what I used to regularly tell myself, but then I gradually stopped and life began to look like an endless mountain to climb, a mountain of my own doing.
So yesterday I pulled out this old stitchery and finished it up as a little mini quilt to hang over my desk. Now it's there every day, the first thing I see when I open my laptop each morning and prepare to begin my working day.
I'm a doer - the one who gets asked to do things because others know I will get it done, and if you're a doer you'll understand how life can often seem like one adrenaline driven project after another - whether that be cleaning the house, designing a pattern or writing a magazine.
I'm also an introvert - being around people exhausts me, too much conversation exhausts me, so I need a lot of alone time, quiet time, to replenish my energy and reclaim a calm state of being.
I have adrenaline issues - God gave me a whacky adrenaline problem where I get a whole lot of adrenaline build up (which is why I'm a doer) and the only way to release it is to push myself to the point of absolute emptiness. Once empty, I collapse in a heap for days before my body charges up and into overdrive again. There's no steady ebb and flow of adrenaline for me. It's all and nothing.
Many people write and say to me, "Jenny, just slow down...rest up", and that's great advice - if I didn't have this adrenaline overload which simply has to be worked out of my body.
My naughty side, though, is to try and push myself when the tank is empty.
And right now the tank is empty.
Maybe it's due to the emotional and physical completion of Phyllis May's Kitchen.
Maybe it's because we haven't stopped working on our home and gardens since we moved in late last September.
Maybe it's because I've spread myself too thin with Elefantz (not the blog, but more to do with social media business stuff)?
Maybe it's because I try to do it all????
Yeh, I think that's the root of this empty tank which isn't filling as quickly as it used to.
This Scripture really is the place I fall when the overwhelm catches hold.
That sweet reminder of where I need to lay my heart, where I need to rest my thoughts, and Who can revive me.
I'm nothing without Jesus, nothing at all.
Though I may overlook Him, He never overlooks me.
Though I may choose to ignore Him and go my own way, He will never ignore me and patiently greets me when I realise my wrong and turn back to His open arms.
One night last week the Lord very gently impressed upon my heart a warning to slow down.
The next night He came to me in a dream to warn me again.
"Slow down Jennifer, you don't have to do it all"
Now there's something mighty powerful about the Lord giving you a very clear directive two days in a row, and giving it at night because you've finally slowed down enough to hear and see and understand what He needs you to know...for your own good, because you are His child and He loves you.
A big mistake I made last week was to run ahead of Him and start a new Facebook group for the women making the BOM I just launched. It wasn't until that night, when overwhelm hit me in the pit of my stomach that I realised no prayer had been given to the matter - I'd started it because I thought I should. And to be honest, I should not. My cup was already full to the brim with stuff and now it was overflowing. Peace was slipping away.
So for the remainder of this year there'll be a lot more prayer about how to manage my days, and hopefully a winding down so that next year I can leave social media behind and just stick with blogging and designing, sharing Jesus and trusting God to bring the customers instead of following the social media formula. He may have a different path for me, I never rule out His Hand in my journey - but for now that's what my hopes are.
I also turned to my prayer partner Allie, who without knowing it, spoke words of life into my spirit and confirmed something the Lord had asked me to do. I tell you, even though we live on opposite ends of the world her prayers and counsel are graciously God-gifted.
It might surprise you to know that I have been too busy to stitch lately, and as it's one of those few things which relaxes me I decided even if it's just something small I needed to stop and sit with needle and thread for an afternoon.
You see, the actual hand embroidery side of Elefantz is a very small part of the business, but it's the part I love most - and I've missed it badly.
Over two evenings I made this simple hexie embellished mug rug.
Truly, I'm not normally a lover of mug rugs, but I really needed one for my sewing room table where I sketch and plan, read my Bible and drink my afternoon cup of tea or decaf coffee.
Around the outside of the hexie is a edging of chain stitch, something I love to add and which I first saw about nine years ago when a friend, Cheryl Goss, sent me a birthday hexie block made that way.
It's such a pretty effect don't you think?
Don't ask me why but I love adding tags to small projects so I followed that habit...
...and now I have a decent size mug rug for the sewing room, made from a variety of scrap fabrics.
Nothing more satisfying than a completed scrap box project, even when it's small.
You can probably imagine that I have many stitcheries floating around which have never been made into a project, right? About 200 in fact.
Yesterday I framed one of them as a gift for a new friend.
That tiny peek of floral Tilda (also from my scrap box) was all it needed before being popped inside the shabby chic cream wooden frame.
Do you have a lot of completed stitcheries that could be framed (or made into a mini quilt like the one at the top of this post)?
A sense of completion, satisfaction, comes from finally 'finishing' a stitchery setting. I'll be doing more of this.
The patterns for this framed stitchery and the mini quilt are now in my shop.
In the eight and half months we've lived here in our first home I've not once bought myself a bunch of flowers - yet before that I would buy an inexpensive bunch every week and display them on the dining table. I love flowers!
But with so much garden coming alive here and a mortgage to pay off in ten years I made a few decisions to save $ and one of them was no flowers.
Well, imagine my delight when a friend dropped by for morning tea yesterday and brought me a bunch of gorgeous gerberas and carnations!
Gerberas are one of my absolute favourite flowers and truly, my heart was overjoyed. How blessed was I?!
I've been listening to Mr E out front whilst writing this. He's planting the jasmine and trimming branches, watering the new hedge plants and clearing weeds, so I'd best be away and take him a cool drink and some grapes.
I pray your weekend brings joy and abounds in the delights of the Lord, that you pray over your own to-do list and see if He wants to make changes - because if you ask Him to, He'll guide your path.