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Aligning Priorities

Interview with Nat Irvine

November 10, 2021

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Hi, Nat, and welcome to unsung stories. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you. Just so that Alex knows can get to know you a bit more. Could you tell us a bit about you, your family and just what everyday life looks like for you? Yep. So I'm Natalie. I live in Willingong new south Wales and I love it.

I like to have my mum friends over. I like to read books and go for walks by the beach with my family and to takeaway coffee in hand. I'm married to Steven and have been for almost nine years. And I'm mum to Adam. Who's almost five Bethany. Who's almost three. And our new puppy Beauford. That's fine.

He sounds very cute. What kind of puppy is he? He's a Spiegel, a caucus bagel, which oh, what a smart and cute combo. Yup, exactly those things. Yep. Nice big floppy ears. And. One day. I'd love to come down there and join me for that takeaway coffee along the beach. Nice, welcome. We have plenty of coffees, places and plenty of beaches.

Perfect. Sounds great. So you've been a mum for five years now. Has there been anything about it that has surprised you? Yeah, I I now tell anyone who asks about. That it is so refining. Great word. Yes. Wow. And I certainly wouldn't have pitched that before kids. I think as most women find having my first child was a game changer for my day-to-day life.

You're on someone else's routine and needing to meet all their needs often at the expense of your own. But ultimately I still could do it. Like serving in multiple ways at church saying yes to different things and resting when he rested was all still possible. But having a second child who was on a totally different routine to the first sleeping men, my first was ready to get out and play waking through the night when you've given out so much to everyone during the day, it really threw my capacity in my face.

And I couldn't do as much as I thought I could or should be. This is pretty common in motherhood that we're realize that we don't have the capacity that we want to have or feel that we should have. Did you notice it becoming a bit of a problem for you? Or how did you handle that whole tension you're living.

Yeah, I think the biggest tell that I was at my limit was the rage monster. It revealed in me. I'd go from experiencing these beautiful moments with my kids. And then a few minutes later, raging that they weren't behaving how I wanted them to a door shut too loudly when I'd just gotten the baby to sleep was enough to set me off at my top.

My ability to go from zero to a hundred, just blew my mind and left me racked with guilt that I behave that way and to my own child of old people. So you're noticing this yucky stuff that's coming out. How did you feel with all of that? Pretty rubbish? It felt like an emotional rollercoaster. And it didn't take long to know that I wanted off.

I started giving a lot of thought to the mom. I wanted to be the mom. I wanted my kids to see that it wasn't one of it. Wasn't one would these ugly outbursts of uncontrolled anger. But one who had some self control in frustrating moments and modeled repentance when she stuffed it up. So what's something that stood out to you as you realized these and wanted to make changes.

I think it's interesting that I didn't feel condemned because it would be easy to wallow in these big ugly feelings or go the opposite way and just write them off as part of being a tired, busy mum. But I knew I had a heart issue in ease grace. I had this understanding that I needed to clean to Jesus to pursue him, that he was my only hope for transformation.

And also that I could come to him in this sorry, state, that he loved me enough to take me as I was. But he also loves me enough that he doesn't want to leave me in that place. And it's the same for anyone with any sort of sin in their life. And so I reconcile to pursuing Jesus wholeheartedly.

I wanted to leave an authentic faith. If I was telling my kids that knowing Jesus is the best thing in life, I wanted them to see that I was truly living that. So I knew I needed to orientate my days to show that he is my first love. So how did you do that? Cause I think that we can all identify with similar feelings of business or time, or , that tension as you juggle the kids or even the rage, anger control kind of stuff. And realizing it's one thing, but changing is another. So what have you been doing with it?

I'm going to say these things and it's going to sound like I have it all together, but I most certainly do not much. I'm such a work in progress. I have good days and bad days. But I know that it's not through me pursuing my definition of perfection, that God is glorified, but me resting in him that gives the spirit space to work.

So I'll share a few things that have helped create that space. Yeah, that'd be great. It's looked like paring back. The number of things I commit to each day, week and month being really intentional about the social things, church things, kid things, et cetera that I our families say yes to. And that's been hard for me because I like saying yes to things.

And I'm also a recovering people, pleaser. But creating this margin in my life, acknowledging my limitations, the limitations in my capacity. Has slow life down to a pace where I can spiritually breathe. I'm no longer overextending myself and giving irritability and anger a foothold. So also it looks like taking my Bible reading seriously.

So carving out time every day to be hearing from God and learning his ways. And I'm not talking massive amounts of scripture here. For me, it's a Psalm and a chapter of whatever book I've chosen to dive into each day. I'm the type of person that if you give me a heavy duty reading plan, I'll read it to tick that box off on my to-do list, but it won't sink into my heart and change me.

I take myself outdoors to read, so I'm not distracted by housework. And I also find that looking at nature helps my heart posture. You can't help, but praise when listening to a bird, seeing or seeing sunlight streaming through clouds. Once I've read something, I then just sit and think about a word or a verse I've read and be still a meditating.

This has been so important for moving from just knowing about God, to enjoying him. Seemingly small things like pumping good Christian music throughout the house or on car rides, setting my phone wallpaper to averse things like that have been helpful too. And finally dwelling on the woman. I want to be years down the track has made it easier to be disciplined today.

You don't just become that wise, generous, grounded, and prayerful older woman. We all admire overnight. She's been disciplined in her walk with the Lord for decades. So if I truly long for that, then that needs to shape my today. That's all really beautiful. So you were mentioning that you noticed some sin issues or some heart issues popping up because of being busy.

And you've been living quite intentionally to put that to death. Have you noticed any changes. Yes, it has taken intentionality and discipline and to an . Extent, sacrifice, choosing to carve out time to be still or read the Bible when you want to do other things, doesn't come easy, especially at first, but, in the Psalms, it talks about being brought into a spacious place.

I honestly feel that way deep down in my soul. That I'm free to enjoy free to fall apart, free to rest free, to just walk faithfully with him and authentically encourage others to do the same. There is no space for guilt. If I fail one day, his mercies are new every morning and their sacrifices and disciplines don't feel so much like that anymore.

They feel like. I've had a print with Psalm 84, 10 on my wall as it captures this feeling. And also to remind me on days when I'm tempted to believe, otherwise it says better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. How true that is if only we could believe it with our whole heart I've also led to cry out to God is my first instinct in those heated moments where I used to jump straight to you.

A quick inner prayer for peace and grace before I opened my mouth and our home is more peaceful because my heart is bound to the source of true and lasting peace now. Yeah, that's really nice. A lack that you can say that it's affecting your home as well.

Whether we like it or not there something to be said about mum setting the tone for the home. I know when I'm crying, miss cranky pants, everyone else is more likely to be cranky. And when I'm calm and happy, other people are too lots of us moms have that rage monster inside of it. And it might not be because of the same reasons as you, the monster is still there regardless.

Would you have any encouragement for that? Mom? Who's not liking being stuck that way. I'd say mama, you are known, you are seen and you are loved. There's no need to run away in shame from your maker and there's no need to remain stuck where you are. Don't buy the lie that you're stuck in the first place.

Instead pray for the desire and strength to run towards him with all you have, pray like the Psalmist, that the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart would be pleasing in his sight because he is your Lord, your rock and Redeemer, every little act of faithfulness, every little choice you make to prioritize him in your day will make you stronger in your fight against the particular scene.

You feel defeated by. Choose to lift your eyes and ground yourself in him. He has given you his spirit to grow you in love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness. And self-control,

Lord, you are our Lord. But it's all too easy to live our days as if you. And so I pray for all who are listening, that you will help us to make the changes we need to make to ensure that we are prioritizing you and letting your spirit to a good work in us. Thank you that we can come to you with all that.

We are the good, the bad and the ugly, and you helped transform us into a picture. More like your son when we lean into you help us to persevere in pursuing your way. Is that we reached that less spacious place of freedom from sin rest and delight. Let this be alive. Giving witness to the children.

You've entrusted to our care in in.

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