Oh !!!! Isn’t August such a “START-UP” time of year??? No matter, what age you are, or, what season of life you are in, I believe this post is for YOU! You see, I am really passionate (among a lot of things!) about the peacefulness and pace of our lives. More than that, I am really passionate about living life DAILY with the peace of Christ ruling our lives.
Too many times, each day, I cross paths with women who are truly anxious and rushed. The flavor of our culture seems to scream, ” Be a SUPER woman”, ” Be a perfect Mom”, ” Do, Do, DO IT ALL!”.
Well, I am urging each of you. There is NO such thing, I repeat, NO such thing as a “SUPER WOMAN”. No one, NO ONE, not a single man, or a single woman, can be “all things to all people”. We must learn to set boundaries and, at that, TIGHT ones, in our lives.
Who is ruling your life? Would you answer, the Lord? Or….sadly, if you are really being real, would you answer, ” The world, pressures of other people and/or, pressures from church/work?”
August is my month of the year to really DIAL IN on my schedule. After all, isn’t August such a month filled with the glaring: END-OF-SUMMER, sign-ups galore and, the calendar totally filling up? I don’t know about you, but, my last two weeks have been INSANE!!! The start of school, 4 children at three different schools, lists and more lists from teachers, for supplies and activities for the year…..gymnastics starting, piano lessons starting, soccer starting, tennis lessons starting……OH MY!!!!! How do I get a handle on all of this? How do I live in true PEACE day-to-day? Well…..I want to share with you some truths that the Lord has been so good to show me over the years:
1. I pray about my schedule. Pray for every single aspect of the school year or, if you do not have children, for every single aspect of your time. Ask the Lord: where would you have my to time go? Where would you like me to serve this season? How can I maintain a peaceful life as I navigate the goings on of my family? Do you want me to attend a Bible study group? How can I honor my family and home duties best?
2. I do not compare myself to other Moms and, other family’s children/their activities. NO COMPARISON! As Theresa Nelson once said ( wife of pastor Tom Nelson at Denton Bible Church), ” Comparison destroys contentment”. Did you get that? DESTROYS! We destroy our lives by comparing! Think about it: we compare house size, our cars, our finances, our clothes, our children’s activities…..we compare and, then, we RUN our lives based upon trying to keep up.
3. I realize and recognize, I am NOT a SUPER WOMAN. No way!!!!! Back in my 20’s, my sweet discipler, Marchetta Strader, spent hours teaching me about how to love my husband and, truly how to keep my priorities in order. She was the MOST amazing wife and servant! She truly “got it” and understood that time with the Lord had to be “center stage” each day. It has been said that our inner time is a total reflection of our outer time. Let me break this down, you MUST (MUST!) spend time reading your Bible and, in QUIET TIME with the Lord each day, in order to be effective with people. The more you don’t spend ALONE time in Bible reading and prayer and reflection, the more your outer life (with parenting, being a friend, being a church member, etc.) suffers and is not very effective.
4. Tell your time where to go, do not let your schedule rule you! Are you truly in control of your time? Do you allow a million activities that YOU permit your children to be involved in, rule your life? Can you say “no” to people? Do you find your identity in being the person that has to sign up for every organization or every need at church? * My heart aches (totally aches!) for the many women in my life who allow their schedule and the RUSH of life to run over their lives. Makes me so sad! I hear from these dear women and men ALL of the time! They are tired, get sick often, battle anxiety….they are stressed to the max! The results that a driven and jam packed life produce make me see that the Lord never intended this as He watches over our lives.
5. RATE YOURSELF!!!! On a scale of 1-10, would you say you enjoy your life and, are you a peaceful person? What is your answer? If you are below a 5, I beg you to STOP! Stop the crazy cycle. STOP the treadmill of never ending busyness. I ask you to please read a few books that have TRULY helped me prioritize my life: These books have become true STOP SIGNS in my life, I am so grateful that I read each of these.
– Boundaries, by Drs. Cloud and Townsend
– The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
– Ordering Your Private World, by Gorden MacDonald
– More Hours in My Day, by Emilie Barnes
* All books are available on Amazon.
Please, I ask you, I beg you: YOU tell your time where to go! Do not allow your time to RULE you! Do not allow other people or their expectations to rule you. Yes, this is HARD, I know full well, but, I truly believe you can put the brakes on your life and on your schedule and RE-CLAIM your time!
You can start by looking at (writing down) the different roles that you play. Number your roles in order of priority and, for each role, make several goals for each one. Here is a sample from my own personal list: ( By the way, reviewing this list often, keeps my fire burning about where to give of my time!)- For instance, I can easily decline another obligation or time commitment, if I look at this goal /role sheet and, know that I am falling behind. The contrary is true, if the following roles/goals sheet are in order and, I am “in sync” with my established priorities, then, I have room to say “yes” (in total freedom) to other things, other priorities. I have found that writing down my roles and goals for each one, truly brings stability and peace to my life. This list anchors me in who I am and what I need to be doing each day. The Lord and the Bible are my primary “anchors”, but, this list brings me back to reality.
** Keeping your roles and priorities right in front of you allows you to say “no thanks”. Why? Because if I am not ‘hitting’ the goals that I have established before the Lord, then, there is no question in my mind, that the other things that constantly TUG at me, are a flat “non-negotiable” …..a big “NO” in my life.
My Roles/Goals: AUGUST 2012
I. Christ Follower-
a. Daily seek my Heavenly Father through scripture and prayer
b. Maintain my prayer journal and update on a regular basis
c. Attend a weekly Bible study with fellow women Christ followers. This group is great for accountability and encouragement to study the Word!
a. Encourage my husband each day. (He is deeply ministered to with encouraging words)
b. Pray for him like no one else.
c. Spend time with him. Creative dates and, great conversation.
d. Laugh with him each day.
e. Keep short accounts. No lingering arguments.
III. My Body- My Personal Goals
a. Regular exercise- 4 times a week. Minimum of 30 minutes each time.
b. 7-8 hours of sleep each night
c. Down time. Time to read or pray. Alone time. * Inward time with the Lord + rest= a better me
d. Personal improvement: A hair cut, a manicure, a one night trip away- just to think and pray
e. Healthy eating- lots of fresh salads and grilled meats.
f. Exercise my spiritual gifting on a weekly basis. The Lord has given me the spiritual gift of exhorting others, I am fulfilled when I use this gift.
a. Pray for my children individually each day. Disciple them.
b. Strive to be a creative and loving mom to my children
c. Read parenting books for encouragement and answers to questions I have on parenting
d. Prepare good and healthy meals for my children each day
e. Intentional time with each child: reading to them, going over school work, play time, laughing
a. Stay in touch with my Mom and Dad and, my dear in-laws. * All four are in other states and, I strive to be intentional to stay in touch. We may travel to see them or, I can call or write. Four amazing people with over 100 years of marriage between them. Amazing and Godly people, all four of them! So blessed!
b. Plan regular trips in order to visit my parents and my in-laws. Grandparent time for my children is so important!
VI. Sister, Sister-in-Law
a. I have 1 sister, 2 brothers, 4 sisters-in-law and 3 brothers-in-law—-each of them are AMAZING! Each of them live in either Kentucky or Texas. I LOVE being around them! ….being in their lives…..I also have, 15 nieces and nephews, 1 great niece and, #16 niece/nephew is on the way….(congrats Ben and Kim!)…..I LOVE being an aunt! They are all important to me!
a. Stay in regular communication with my God given best friends.
b. Pray for my close friends
c. Serve and encourage my close friends in personal ways
a. Invite couples in to our home for dinner. May we encourage couples in marriage and, in tough times of life.
b. Pour into/minister to younger women, as the Lord would allow. Strive to mentor and disciple women.
c. Encourage younger women, via meeting for coffee or, other methods. *Lord, I pray for opportunities to disciple younger women for the next generation. Titus 2: 3-5 is my heart’s cry.
In closing, the BIGGEST thing I need to share with you, as school is starting and, fall activities are many, I ask you…..PRAY, PRAY and PRAY some more about your schedule. ASK the Lord to help you arrange your calendar. Make SURE you have ample time for rest each night (my goal is 7-8 hours, no questions asked). Do not forget that (especially women!) taking care of your home (the laundry, the grocery shopping, the picking up) takes TIME! There is no substitute for time, when we are talking about keeping house. Time at home is KEY! Are you a working Mom? This requires so much planning, in order to “juggle” all that you have to get done! Hang in there! Be encouraged! I know you can live in a peaceful state and frame of mind.
Ooooohhhhhh! I can’t get enough of my new Lilly Pulitzer day planner! The colors just POP and, it even has stickers!!!! Day-to-day, this is such a fun way to keep track of your time!
Search scripture for answers about your schedule and your priorities. The Lord will SHOW you how to organize your time, as you seek HIM in scripture.
I love this book by Gordon MacDonald! A real classic!!!! Awesome! Emilie Barnes and her books have influenced my life in a BIG way! This book is great! Reminding me of my priorities as a Wife and Mom. Love it!
I pray that this post will encourage your heart! Please pray often over your time and schedule. May you have peaceful and joy filled days. Our life passes by too quickly….we must focus on the Lord and ask Him to order every minute for us.
With Blessings and Flair,