As soon as I switch the vacuum off or put the mop away, the floor is dirty.
When I enter the house with groceries there is already something to put on the list for next time.
The day after a date with my girls someone will complain about never going out.
Work is never done. We are seldom completely satisfied. We are never really caught up. So what can be done?
Philippians 4:11-13 New International Version (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Easier said than done or a discipline we choose to live out? As a mom of four, I’m determined not to wear “busy” as a badge of honor. We all make time for what is important to us. It is important for me to have space to do the things I’m called to well.
What does this look like?
For me it means…
- Inviting guests to a simple dinner regularly rather than Martha Stewart-ing (she was the standard when I used to go crazy… don’t mock me) once a year.
- Fitting in Coffee or a walk with a friend at least once a week.
- Letting the laundry folding go in order to play a board game or do some baking.
- Making it to the baby shower, wedding, or funeral whenever possible because they are big life events and people matter more than dinner.
- Allowing each kid to choose only one sport or activity per season because committing to one thing and doing it well is important.
- Cleaning doesn’t mean perfection but simply taking a layer off and not being nasty.
- Family time isn’t wielded as a tool to get out of something but what we actually do… like an impromptu trip to the beach.
…and ultimately walking by faith pretty much all the time.
Five years ago, despair was my constant companion. I had settled into the fact I would never do anything in my life well again and it darkened my soul. I knew there were not going to be more 24 hours allotted in my day and I believed I was incapable of accomplishing anything more than survival.
Everything was a big deal and entirely too much. Anything extra was out of the question and completely overwhelming. Life was a big clump of “to do’s” that would never be “done”. I carried an invisible “failure” sign in my head and was trying to make myself accept it rather than fighting for more until I stumbled upon this…
Ephesians 3:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Either this verse didn’t apply to me or it did? There was no in between. I decided to stick to my belief in the Bible as absolute truth, accurate, and applicable in real life.
Three little changes that brought about life-changing differences:
- Order my day. I start each day knowing my to-do list is to too long and ask the Lord to help prioritize it. It is a process. It does not happen overnight. I have to preach to myself and remind myself about this choice and commitment every… single…. morning. Spending time with the Lord at the start of my day feeds my weary soul and nourishes me for the day. In those moments He reminds me who He is… the king of the universe and with me always so I don’t go back on my decision to let HIM order my day.
- Let go. Let go of what I am not called to that day. I cannot do everything. This requires a Disney princess “Frozen” sort of letting go of some obligations and the guilt that goes along with it. It is counterproductive to let go of the “too much” while allowing the guilt to weigh me right back down. Fortunately, these battles keep me looking to HIM throughout my day to reinforce His order.
- Choose contentment. It is a choice. Somedays are easier than others, but eventually, my heart will follow if I persist. I claim HIS promises, follow truth, align my priorities, and leave a margin for the unexpected. This is contentment. It takes the pressure off of me as HE is my decision maker. It frees me up to do the things on my list well.
Did my circumstances change? Not so much, but I did. As I type my house is covered in winter clothes needing to be swapped with the summer ones. There are dozens of home projects started yet unfinished. I set the four-year-old on the couch with the Bible App for kids to do her “Bible study”. I ignore texts and calls for a brief time because I am not that big of a deal… no one needs me that much.
We are only as busy as we allow ourselves to be. We all make time for the things that are important to us. I have to decide to be available so Christ makes more of himself in me and is glorified rather than me trying to do good things for HIM.
Today, I take a step closer to HIM knowing everything else will fall into place. The end result feels like I have more time and I end up accomplishing more.