When We Want It All

I want it all.

I want to do it all, I want to have it all, I want to be it all.

The problem, of course, exists in the fact that not only is this way of thinking absolutely impossible, but it’s also wholly unrealistic and unhealthy. So, I’m learning, as a late thirty-something year old woman, to set boundaries. I’m learning to say no once again and I’m learning that in order for me to see and relish and believe in the Beauty existent all around me, I have to listen to my insides.

And I have to stop and do some navel gazing of my own.

Perhaps you’re a little bit like me: a Seven on the Enneagram, an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs chart. I relish in a full schedule, in appointments and meetings and assignments – but as much as I love the look of business, of the aforementioned “all,” when I neglect to leave room in my life for quiet, for rest, for slow, stress and anger rear their ugly heads.

There are things that I’ve said yes to – really, really good, soul-filled and filling opportunities – but when push comes to shove, I find that I have to hunker down in quiet more than I’m prone to do.

What I want is to attend a four-day conference, where I know honest conversations of God and faith and identity will fill me from the inside out. But what I need is to remember my obligations, to work and to family, to a couple of little boys who are still in the throes of moving-transitions. So, maybe I can’t make four days away work right now, but I can make two days work.

Still, I wonder if that’ll be what my soul needs. I wonder if it’ll be enough. I wonder if I can have it all and be it all.

What I want is to fill every night with a different friend: Jamelyn on Monday night, Lily on Tuesday night, Anna on Wednesday night, Lizzy on Thursday night and Melanie on Friday night. We’ll go out for a glass of wine or we’ll toast chopsticks over all-you-can-eat sushi; we’ll wander the aisles of the local bookstore or we’ll walk the three miles around Green Lake.

But once again, what I need is contrary to what my mind sometimes scream for: to support a husband who needs his wife in the intensity of a new job and new city, to lay next to a toddler and a preschooler when the creaky walls of an old house threaten their sense of security.

I’ll always be prone to indulgence, you see – it’s the deadly sin I lean toward.

I fill my schedule: more. I fill my belly with good food, over and over again: more. I have not one drink but two, but three: more. I buy more books that I do not read and I rip more recipes out of magazines that I do not make: more, more. I pitch queries and I fill the silence with noise and I rest not from social media: more, more, more.

As excess builds around me, all that stuff begins to take over. All those Really Good Things I found myself saying the heartiest of yeses to leave me overextended and undisciplined.

Extroverted and optimistic to the core, all the new and exciting experiences fail to ground me.

Exhaustion takes over.

Distraction is crowned queen.

Gluttony becomes the ruler of my life.

And I lose my natural ability to find Beauty in the most unlikely of places. Forgetting my childlike spirit, my eyes furrow with impatience, and, as the Enneagram Institute says, sevens “…misapply their many talents.”

So, I don’t know about you, but in the newness of this year, I’m hunkering down. I’m narrowing my focus. I’m making goals so I don’t operate out of a scattered, reactive mindset, and I’m giving my body, brain and soul time to rest and recuperate.

I’m staying home and I’m sitting on my couch.

I’m holing up on the floor with a two-year-old and four-year-old who desperately want their mama to learn how to play Hotwheels and Farm and Legos with them (and not just Instagram said pictures of them playing), and I’m finding joy, all over again.

Because joy is the seven’s spirit animal.

It’s who we are when we’re the healthiest version of ourselves, when we’re the most alive with God, and when we’re the best able to love and relate to other people.

And I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly who I want to be.

Cara Meredith

Writer at Be Mama Be
Cara Meredith is a writer and speaker from Seattle, Washington. She is passionate about issues of racial and social justice, and also can’t get enough of dinners around the table with those she loves. Her first book, a memoir about her journey into issues of race, releases in January 2019 (Zondervan).

Latest posts by Cara Meredith (see all)

  • Oh, Cara, I absolutely love this! I’m not for sure what I am on the enneagram, but I know I like to be with people, to have plenty of creative things to do and I often spread myself too thin. It’s hard to say no when you love doing things, isn’t it? Always love to read your words and hear about your sweet family! Blessings to you as you continue to move through this thing called life! xo

    • carameredith.com

      Thank you, Gayl. We are similar in many ways, and thanks always for the encouragement!

  • “Joy is the 7’s spirit animal.” Love it. Love your sevenness, too.

    • carameredith.com

      Thanks, friend. Rawr!

  • I come into excess from the three’s perspective — not for the joy or the people-loving, but for the sense of accomplishment and the horrific self-conscious image-management of the three. Even so, I think the struggle is the same: to learn the satisfaction of the word “enough,” and to rest in God’s calling to take the risk of being still. Blessings to you and your sweet family.

    • carameredith.com

      Yes. I get it. Even if the core of where we come from is different, it’s still learning to be satisfied with what’s in front of us, with enough. In this with you, Michele!

  • “I want to do it all, I want to have it all, I want to be it all. ” Oh how this rings so true to me. I have overextended myself once again and can’t quite see how to wiggle out of it. I don’t want to let people down and I don’t want to skate out of my obligations. Of course obligations I never should have make. Yikes.

    • carameredith.com

      I get it, Maree – in this with you, sister. Here’s to saying no!

  • Cara, it’s an insatiable vacuum which will one day be satiated. I’ve not taken an enneagram test, yet I bet I’d fall in an introverted category. Thank you for your words…

    • carameredith.com

      Jessica, your first sentence is GOLD: “it’s an insatiable vacuum which will one day be satiated.” Ain’t that the TRUTH?!

      • I took the Enneagram last night, Cara. “Peacemaker–#9. ; )