Friday, January 22, 2010

ReRun: What to do when you are overwhelmed

They’re expanding a road in my town. It’s a big deal around these parts. After all, we only have one stoplight in our entire county. They want to straighten out the road some, bypassing the town and the ensuing stoplight. Because it holds traffic up, you know.

They have one little teeny tiny problem, though. There is a mountain in the way. Well, a high hill really, but it sounds better to say they are trying to move a mountain. I drive by this construction site every time I go in to town, so I have been watching this hill’s demise with great interest.

Know how you move a mountain? One bucket full at a time. They pick up a load of rock and soil and dump it into a dump truck. When the truck is full, it drives away and they start the process over.

And in time, the mountain is disappearing.

I have been thinking of the application of this in our lives. Sometimes we feel so disorganized that we are paralyzed. We cannot even move because our whole life is in chaos. The baby isn’t sleeping, the kids are disobeying, and your husband has begged you to please not serve cereal for dinner again.

Trust me — I’ve been there. I have a to do list longer than my arm. I don’t even want to admit in public how long it’s been since I’ve corrected some subjects in school. I have to set the cell phone’s alarm to remember to give Mercy her medicine or I totally forget.

Sometimes I sit in my chair, look at the piles all around me, and wonder where to even start.

Then I remember — one bucket full at a time. I start at the first thing. Then hit another. Or change a diaper. Or break up a squabble. Then go to the next. One thing at a time — one bucket full at a time — and eventually some of it gets done.

It never all gets done. I doubt I’ll have that until the children all move out. By then I’ll have grandchildren, so it still won’t get done, I’ll bet. But if I do just one bucket at a time, something will get done. And that will have to be enough.

Pick the most frustrating thing in your day — what derails you for the rest of the day? Start there. Work on that one thing. When that is done, pick another bucket. Sooner or later, you’ll look back and realize the mountain has been moved.

One bucket at a time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ReRun: What About Me?

A reminder I need for myself these days...


There are a lot of people who depend on me. From the minute I get up, until the minute I go to bed, and several times at night I am needed. I need to feed, train, disciple, and educate nine children. I need to help my husband. I need to manage my household.

Somehow in all this, I need to keep my sanity. Sometimes that’s really, really hard! The calling we have as wives and mothers is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Yet we are called to it. And if we are called, God will help us to do it.

Sometimes I feel that with everyone wanting a little bit of me, that there will be nothing left when they all leave the home and get out on their own. I feel sometimes that I am dissolving in the urgency of getting through the moment. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself… I so rarely have anything to do for me. It’s all about them.

Then I remind myself — of course it’s all about them. Well, really — it’s all about Him. It’s all about losing myself in Christ’s call on my life. Which is loving my husband and family. Serving them to the best of my abilities.

It’s not in getting some me time. Because they will all be there when I get home. The character issues which bothered me before will still bother me after my latte. The schoolwork I didn’t feel like grading will still be there on the other side of my day away. I have rarely found things easier with time away for me. It actually gets better when I stay home and concentrate on training the character issues which drive me batty.

My conclusion today is that it is hard to be a living sacrifice. It hurts to pour your lifeblood out in service to others. Our flesh cries out for relief from the pain of being patient while training them in righteousness.

But if God has called us to do it, then He will give us the strength to see it through. We have to be running in order to run and not faint.

I am not perfect. Many, many times my flesh wins out in the struggle. But sometimes — glorious sometimes — I win the battle and I hear God’s whisper of, “Well done. Keep going. You can do it.” And somehow I do.

If I can do it, you can too. God promises.

Monday, January 18, 2010

ReRun: Making the Most of Your Day

You don’t have to have 9 children to have a to-do list a mile long. It seems a common trait to have more things to do than time to do them. It is human nature to try to do too much in too little time.

We all are working with the same 24 hours a day. We all have to figure out what to do in the time we have been given. My last post talked about how to do a schedule. This week I want to talk about how to figure out what we are supposed to do — with the three million things to do each day, how do we decide what to spend our time on or not?

1. First off I recommend taking the time to sit down and talk with your husband about what he thinks is important in the day. What makes him feel things are together when he gets home? My husband likes to have the floors clean each day. Things can be piled up on the sofas, but if it’s off the floor he is good. A friend of mine needs to have the kitchen counters cleaned off; another one’s husband needs the garbage to be taken out.

2. Once you know what he needs you to do to be a good helper to him, add in the thing that makes you crazy. For me, I cannot think if the counters are cluttered. So I need to be sure to add time to take care of them on a regular basis. This does not always happen, but I feel so much better at the end of the day if my counters are neat.

3. Then add in the things that have to get done. Feeding the crew, washing the dishes and clothes, keeping the house relatively neat, etc. Allow a certain time to get these things done. Be realistic.

4. Build in extra time for crazy things to happen, like a diaper blowout, paint spilled on the floor, or a toddler artist coloring on the walls. These things will happen whether we like them or not, so allow for extra time. A cushion of time around your activities, if you will.

5. Don’t forget to sleep. Some people need less, others need more, but we all need to sleep each night.

6. Lastly, add up this time. Does it add up to 27 hours a day? You’re doing too much. Find something to give up. Spread the cleaning out over a week instead of doing it all every day. (Haha. Anyone do ALL their cleaning every day?! Not me, that’s for sure.)

How are your schedules coming? Are you finding it easier to fit things in? Do the basics first, then add in the extras. For each family this will look different, but this is a great exercise to do to see if you are trying to fit too much into your day. You will also see how much you do which really isn’t on your most important list. Give it a try!