Friday, July 31, 2020

Dear Linda ~ 'I feel so responsible for everyone'

Happy summer weekend to you, friends!

I'm sitting at the big ol' table on the porch, the ceiling fan spinning 'round as I soak up the coolish breezes while a gentle rains fall.  I've already lugged the thirsty ferns outside so they can enjoy the mist.  The birds are going crazy at the feeders.  All is well with the world.

I'm resurrecting the old Dear Linda series today.  

Here's how we roll.

1.  You send me a dilemma or a question. 

2.  I get your permission to answer it on the blog, either anonymously or with your name.

3.  I offer my two cents.

4.  I hit the orange Publish button.

5.  Our little community offers you words of validation, empathy, and encouragement.

Today's letter?  All about vacationing with adult children ...

Dear Linda ~

Please pray for me that I might be able to experience a true vacation for me, in my mind and my soul.  Too often I feel so responsible for everyone and whether the family dynamic is perfect, everyone is happy, and it is overwhelming and heavy.

I'm going to try this year to make sure I have my grounding times of devotion and solitude before my days begin.  It's often easy to forego that on vacation!

Exhausted Already


Dear Exhausted ~

Your old routine sounds wearying, stressful, futile!  I pray your new mindset will bring a lightness to your spirit and enjoyment to your days.  

When my family was here in June I told them I'd take care of Saturday night dinner and that was it.  I had food in the fridge but not the typical overload that I normally do when the gang descends.  I planned nothing ... meals, activities, comings and goings.

It was the best visit ever.  Everyone figured out the details along the way and I didn't have to be in charge of anything.


The key?  Remembering that there's no perfect family.

I'm only responsible for me.  I can not make other people happy.

They are responsible for themselves, their attitudes, their relationships.

This takes the unrelenting pressure off to be all things to all people.  'We make it our goal to please Him' (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Pack your bikini and have a blast ~

Got a dilemma or a question you want to chat about?  Simply email me at linda stoll @ juno . com or leave it in the comments.

And click here if you missed July's Loose Ends * Let's Chill Edition!


visiting with 


  1. The advice you gave to Exhausted is perfect, Linda! We can only be responsible for ourselves, though we can also do things that make it easier for the folks around us. Vacations should be for fun, not for worry.

    1. Absolutely! As we offer grace and freedom to ourselves, we're able to joyfully extend those gifts to those around us.

      Thanks for kicking off this conversation, Martha. I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

  2. This reminds me too, of Martha and Mary. Jesus didn't need the meal to be perfect. Just wanted them to spend time with him. When we get caught up in the presentation rather than those present, we sure miss out don't we? I hope the pressure is lifted from your wise guidance, Linda!

    1. Lynn, thank you for bringing that profound story of Jesus and His friends into our conversation this weekend! I'm appreciating that insight of being present to those who are present rather than the whole wearisome presentation deal that is linked with hospitality rather than relationship.

      So glad you're here, friend ...

  3. My dear, I'll have to leave you
    in God's loving, tender care;
    He'll be the one to see you through
    from the here unto the there.
    Please know I would have liked to stay,
    but clearly I cannot,
    and I hope you find a way
    to recall what I forgot
    about the times before all this,
    before the cancer came,
    when a gentle, quiet kiss
    was worthy of the name,
    and not, perhaps, the last of these,
    cut in stone upon life's frieze.

    1. Dear Lord,

      Please bless Andrew and Barbara with a strong sense of your gentle presence during this season of farewells. May Your divine, unfathomable love knit them together with You in ways they've never experienced before.

      For Jesus' sake,

    2. Linda, we thank you so much for this. Truly.

  4. I think my trap is my own expectations. I create an elaborate photograph in my mind. There’s an awful lot of detail in the photograph: anticipation, hope, longing, being reunited as a family, my own sentimentality, struggles with adult motherhood … and just dreams of picture perfect. I cannot possibly meet my own expectations. And no family time can ever come as clearly in focus as that picture of my ideal. Gosh, I just miss being a momma sometimes and I think I often project that missing (and probably pressure) onto my kids. So for me, I’m coming to understand my own part in how things go … my own part in my own response … my own interpretation … my own good time. Lots of times, everyone else seems just fine … it’s me with the problem. And I’m learning to take responsibility for me in that way.


    1. Well, Barbara, there's so much meat, so much truth packed in each line you've shared with us. I could simply sit for hours sifting through this with you. In many ways you've captured a whole bouquet of family dynamics from a mama's loving heart.

      I know many readers will resonate with the stark reality of your gently honest thoughts this weekend.

      Bless you, friend ...

    2. Yeah, she's fabulous, isn't she!


    3. Thanks for the affirmations! We're all figuring it out, aren't we? It's so helpful to have this space to think and write ... and feel supported in both!

    4. You've hit the nail on the head, friend. We're all sojourners, learning from each other as we travel onward.

      Your writing causes me to clarify and expand my thought process and I am grateful ...

  5. Such liberating advice, Linda. I think women automatically have this in our DNA - we have this driving need to take care of others, to make everything right, etc. Freedom comes the day we realize we were never in control at all, and God is the only One who can set things right for any of us. Thank you for another encouraging, edifying post, my friend.

    1. You said it all, Cheryl, right here --> 'Freedom comes the day we realize we were never in control at all.'

      Only God. Only Him.

  6. I'd take this advice too! Thank you, Linda. Many blessings to you!

  7. It is funny cause I have the opposite experience. When my boys descend upon my home, they don’t want my fussing cause they want to do what they want, whenever they want. So I just make up the bed for sleep time and make sure drinks are in frig. The only thing is I loose structure with their plans and that can jibble me up a bit or find we starving for a lunchtime.

    Praise God my feeling responsible for others’ happiness is behind me now. What an awful way to live.

    Love this Dear Linda post

    1. 'Praise God my feeling responsible for others’ happiness is behind me now. What an awful way to live.'

      Amen. Amen. Amen!

      It was an albatross, a ball and chain, an unyielding anchor.

      Gone. Simply gone.

  8. This is what I need to remember too! --> "I'm only responsible for me. I can not make other people happy. They are responsible for themselves, their attitudes, their relationships." Thanks, Linda.

    1. And sometimes living out this key to freedom and peace is a whole lot harder than it looks!


  9. I love the advice you give here, Linda! I think there are lots of situations where we can feel like it all depends on us and that we have to keep everyone happy, when as you say that just tires us out. This is a good reminder that we are only responsible for ourselves.

    1. Keeping everyone happy is highly overrated, isn't it, Lesley ...

      Appreciating the dynamics that lead us to continually go there is sure helpful.