Monday, August 12, 2013

Prioritizing... Need I Say More?

A peek inside my thought life...

There's so much to do! Okay, let me start with this laundry. No wait, the dishes are piling up. Why didn't I do these last night? Ughhhh, seriously this bathroom. Ummm, does somebody stink? You know what, just regroup, make a list, and knock everything out one by one. Speaking of lists, what do I need from the grocery store? No, back to my to-do list for today. Focus, focus. Done. Might as well map out my week. Man, this would look prettier if I color-coded it. Yup! And a nice laminate.
Whewwww.... I feel so much better. 

I wish this were an exaggeration, but it's not. In fact, this was my morning. Today. Scattered. Doing a little bit of this ... a tid bit of that. You may know how it goes, or perhaps not. But for me, I tend to confuse busyness for productivity, and I find myself slipping back into the idea of, "Just write everything down, make it look pretty, and do as much as I can. Ready, go!!!"

Then I take a deep breath... I realize that I need to prioritize. I mean really prioritize. And effective prioritizing must first involve... pruning.

(But it ALL needs to be done!)
I can't do it all
(Oh, yes I can!!!)
I can't do it all... well
(Watch me and see!!!)
I can't do it all well... without something or someone suffering
(Eeeekk...You got me there.)

That's the key! At the end of the day, even if I complete everything that I set out to do, and I complete those tasks "well" - the question is, who or what has to suffer because of it? Chances are, with SO MUCH TO DO, that something has to give! Someone has to suffer. And naturally, the nearest victims are my kids, my husband, or even myself.

So what do I do???!! Live in a "messy house with happy kids"? I think NOT! How do I know what to do today and what can so-called "wait"? Where do I start?!

Ahhhhhh, start on my knees. I have to seek the Giver of my day. For the Lord Himself has not only set out for me to accomplish specific tasks for Him, but He has equipped me with the necessary power and grace to carry it out. Sometimes it's dishes. Sometimes it's playing outside in dirt. Sometimes it's cleaning out an entire basement. Regardless of the task, I must seek the LORD in the moment, and for the moment - each moment. Every time - absolutely every time - that I begin this way, I end the day feeling accomplished, productive, perhaps tired, but not exhausted in my own frustration. My mind is at ease. I sleep well at night. And note, my home is not in perfect order. Rather, it is in working order.

Let's face it. Each day looks different for each person. There is no set formula, except maybe this. Prioritizing involves pruning. Cut away... the demands that I place on myself. Cut away... the demands of others on me. Then I am free to bear the fruit of God's design for my morning, my day, my week, and even my life.

I must be honest. Pruning is often painful. It goes beyond scratching "wash dishes" off of today's list and putting it down for tomorrow.  Sometimes pruning gets into the nitty-gritty of my life. You see, people like me have a hard time with this. I like to sing. I like to write. I love to volunteer. I enjoy teaching. I mentor. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am... me! Hellooooo....NONE of this can go!!!

Hmmmm.... If my mind is already scattered as far as my life's direction is concerned, then it's no wonder the day to day tasks can get the best of me! There's a bigger issue at hand. As a believer, God is calling me to surrender everything to Him - so that the peaceful rest that I experience at the conclusion of a productive day is a reflection of the peace of God that resides within.

Talking to myself.

Prioritizing.... involves pruning... which involves surrender. As a mom, I'm learning that a frazzled day perhaps reflects a frazzled life. Too busy... with "good things". Time to prioritize... Time to prune... Time to surrender... today.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Eyes off Me!

Strong in who I am.
~We call that... before.

In constant need of affirmation.
~We call that... after.

What is it about becoming a parent that can turn even the most secure person into a pool of doubt? What is it about having a child that can make a person question everything and lose all sense of themselves? It seems that with parenting, the mighty become weak. The steadfast are shaken. And the once self-confident person is now desperately seeking approval. Or perhaps it's just me?

My children are late walkers, late talkers, slow at potty-training, non-bike riders, non-shoe tiers, and they seemingly miss every possible benchmark there is! So I have a tendency to look at other moms...and see how well their children are measuring up... which then leads me to observe the family pictures... the extravagant birthday parties... fun days at pre-school... potty-training successes... fashionable clothing... to name a few... and I find myself lost in the lives of others.

I compare. Constantly. I get jealous. I am envious. I covet.

Let's face it. In addition to my own brewing insecurities, we live in a "post it" society as well. A society where your success or failure as a parent has less to do with the health and outcome of your child, and more to do with what you say, post, tweet, or blog about your child. There's this instant approval of your day's work. There's instant judgment. There's instant reward. There's even instant criticism. And I'm captivated by this online world of instant gratification! Again, perhaps it's just me??

I look at my 2 year old son, who is fascinated by making himself dizzy.  So he spins... around and around.... until he stops... can't find his balance... and ultimately falls. He thinks it's the best game in the world, and he will go on without end! As I look at him, I can't help but wonder - how many times do I spin around and around, out of control... looking here and looking there... making myself dizzy by comparing myself to this mom or that activity... all while trying to maintain my own "I'm good!" facade... This is way too much.

Comparison... think about it. It's dangerous, though it seems so harmless (much like my endlessly spinning 2 year old!) But once I stop spinning, I suddenly fall into all of the devastating effects! It has put me in a self-absorbed, prideful mindset of being better than someone else. It has left me in the gulf of self-pity because I don't measure up to someone else. It has even set me on a path of complacency, because I seem to fit right in with someone is.

The Lord is not pleased with a life of comparison. He did not surround me with like-minded believers to compare myself to them, but rather to encourage, strengthen, and build up... as iron sharpens iron. And if I do it right, I can glean much wisdom, experience, ideas, and encouragement from my circle of influence.

If I don't compare myself with others, how will I know how I'm doing as a mom? I wrestle with that thought and many others. Then I am reminded that as believers, we are called to build up one another, pray for each other, weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, to consider, to rebuke, to love, and to spur each other on in good works. Motherhood gives me an opportunity to fulfill this mandate to the fullest!

Comparison... Abandon it, because it's not about me. It's not about me!! LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME!!! Therefore, I cannot consume myself with my own assessment of me.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
~Hebrews 10:24 -25