Yesterday I had some time alone in my house. It was unexpected so I really didn't have a plan for my time. I decided I'd do a little deep cleaning in my kitchen. One thing led to another and I ended up re-configuring the entire layout (moving baker's rack, decorative tables and walk groupings) It's funny how we get stuck in a rut sometimes. We go about our routine and really don't give a thought to it. So often I can let the activities we are involved in, especially the ones I'm in charge of, feel like a weight around my neck. Where I have a problem, so it seems, is that I feel over-extended, but time in the Word and Prayer confirms I'm right where I'm supposed to be. So what gives? Right? If I am doing what I truly feel is all from the Lord why do I feel so pulled and frazzled sometimes? Doesn't the Word tell us that His burden is easy and His yoke is light? Doesn't the Lord promise He will not give us more than we can handle? Then why do I feel like I'm drowning sometimes? Treading water...but going under for brief moments from exhaustion? Sometimes I feels like I need to clean up my schedule by purging activities, but really...I just need to rearrange it.
Honestly I did this without even realizing it. I was frustrated with the lack of time the "Priorities" in my life were receiving so I gave myself permission to MAKE them a priority. I said YES to them first and saved the rest for after. I know you're thinking..."DUH! That's why they are priorities!" But it's not that simple.
In life we have priorities, people and activities we deem in our hearts to be of most importance to us. BUT we also have the URGENT. And my friend...they don't work nicely together.
When the phone rings, or the text message comes through, do you answer? If there is a problem that arises un-expectantly in one of your other commitment areas, do you drop everything to get it done? See...putting priorities first isn't as simple as it seems. Sometime the URGENT becomes our focus pushing the priorities to the back burner. Most of the time we don't even notice it until we feel like we are drowning or experience the "I'm a failure" moment.
I have always like the saying "A lack of planning on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part." Rude...yes. True...well, it really should be. You see, if I am genuinely seeking to walk in the Lord's council and He hasn't released me from the activities I am involved in or the responsibilities I have, maybe I have given too much credence to URGENT.
Now, don't get me wrong. There are definitely some things that deserve our rightful attention to URGENT. Health issues, someone in serious need, the oven is on fire. We can't and shouldn't put those on hold. But all the rest, can it wait?
This is how I am taming, for now, the constant feeling of drowning and failing when it comes to my Priorities.
I schedule priorities. Period. I have school scheduled (at least what days we will school), a menu planned and time to see friends and family woven into those days.
I leave time for the urgent. Our days are not so full that if something comes up we will be wrecked. I try to give my attention to my priorities first thing of the day until early afternoon. If something urgent arises, I take care of that first thing after I finish my priorities. Example. We school from 9 to 1-ish. If Urgent has yelled while I am schooling, I assess whether it is an emergency or it can wait. If it can wait, which 99% of the time it can, I give attention to it as soon as school is over. It moves up on the things to do list, but it doesn't take away from what I feel is a priority in our home. Then I get back to the rest of the list for the day. If the laundry didn't get completely finished...it's OK. If dinner was a little later, that's fine too.
As I was cleaning and rearranging my kitchen yesterday, I realized the peace I have been walking in. Truly, NOTHING has been removed from my responsibilities list! I just rearranged it and gave myself permission to keep my Priorities, priorities and not let Urgent force them to the side. I don't always get everything I want to accomplish finished, but I do feel really good about accomplishing the few things I have set as priority. I feel less like a failure. I am no longer treading water. And I am still involved in ALL the same activities and have all the same responsibilities I had before.
So if you too are struggling, maybe it's just a little rearranging you need to do. Move the pictures to a different wall and the baker's rack across the room. You too, might be amazed at how spacious your living area becomes with all the same furnishings.