It was just another day. Just an ordinary, run of the mill day. The kids were destroying the house playing, the laundry was running, the the morning dishes were still waiting for me to clean them. Just another day. I took a moment to put in some jeans and a shirt that was less t-shirt than the one I was currently wearing. I proceeded to put on just enough make up to feel human look refreshed.
"Mommy, are we going to church?"
Apparently I need to put real clothes on and fix my make up way more often.
Kids. They say the darnedest things. Where does the honesty go I wonder?
We all do it. Every year we sit down and figure out what our resolutions will be. People have started to catch on to the fact that resolutions are forgotten shortly after being written and it has started a new trend. Now everyone is picking one word to focus on through the year. Perhaps it will work... or perhaps it will become another resolution disaster.
I have done both. For years I have made traditional resolutions and for a year or two (it escapes me at this moment) I have picked a word to live by. I did not feel as though either was better or worse for me personally. I have had great success with both, while also failing at them as well.
So whats really going to work? What will actually keep people focused and dedicated? I am convinced nothing. Why? Because life is hectic, that's why. Because we change, day by day. Because our life is in a constant state of transformation, no matter what limitations we put on it in January.
I don't beat myself up if I don't keep my resolutions down to the letter, or at all for that matter. I don't loose sleep over not letting one word change my life in a mere 365 days.
Life is a learning experience. Don't put your growth in a box. Instead, let it stretch and have the freedom to change with you.
Perhaps a monthly journal would help. Each month you could jot down how you grew, what God has shown you or a lesson He taught you. Then in January 2015 you can look back and see how much growing and changing you have done. Is change and growth only acceptable if you predicted it the year before? I should think not.
Now I do think having goals for the year is great, don't get me wrong. I am not bashing on people who pick a word to focus on, or people who list out their resolutions for the year. Personally, I have a few categories that I use to make my goals for the year (financial, physical, spiritual, relationships). I try to limit myself to 1 or 2 goals per category (written very short and concise). So there you are, proof I am not shaking my finger at all you out there making resolutions, I am simply asking you to take a different look at the traditional route for a moment.
Just live. Enjoy every moment of the life God has blessed you with. Don't get so hung up on what you have in store for your year that you are not able to enjoy what God has in store for you. Let that be your resolution.
I am warning you this is a rambling post and basically is for me.... you may or may not get anything out of it. Great opener right? Super stoked to keep reading huh? I thought so.... proceed....
I was talking to a friend a few days ago and during our seemingly mundane, ordinary conversation, she mentioned, "I just don't need one more thing everyday that takes me away from Jesus...". It really started me thinking about my life. Not only do I not need one more thing, I really need to clear out a few things that are already in my life.
I struggle with lots of things in my life, mostly bad, but some good. I find that the harder ones for me are the good ones. It's good to want to be a great mom; it's good to want to be a great wife or friend or steward or servant.... whatever title you can imagine, it isn't a bad thing to want to do a good job. What is bad however, is letting that pursuit become an idol in your life.
For me, I struggle hard with this. I want to be a good mom, but I let that run me... a lot. I want to be a good wife, and I let that run me..... a lot. All of these things take turns slowly becoming hue idols in my life. What does an idol do? It keeps my focus all wrapped up on it so that my focus can't be on Jesus. The farther satan and get my focus from Jesus, the happier he is. Satans goal every single moment of my life is to keep me from Jesus. He can be pretty frank for the most part, but e is also quite sneaky. Using things that seem good in my life to do his dirty work. I am just fed up with it to be quite honest. DONE.
My home is important to me. It is a huge blessing from God and I want to take care of it and treat it as such. Unfortunately my home has become a huge idol in my life. So I prayed that God would help me to truly understand what it is that He wants me to do and what I need to let go of. I am slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) learning that it is okay to let a few things go. Not forever, but just for a moment. Long enough to steal a few tiny kisses from Jayce. Long enough to hear an interesting fact Lula Mae found in a book. Long enough to have a tea party or build a robot out of legos. Just long enough to give my kids a memory. A keepsake that no fire can destroy, no robber can steal, no moth can eat. A moment they will be able to look back on and say, "I loved that my mom ____________.".
And so, I needed so system. This is laminated and taped to the refrigerator.
Having "focus days" has taken lots of pressure off of me. My kids and my husband know what the goal is for the day so that if there is something that hasn't really gotten done they can look and say "Oh, okay. Mom is going to work on that on Wednesday, not today.". Now don't get me wrong, I am not the only one responsible for these tasks, but I am the one who oversees these tasks.
This helps me realize, visually, that all those chores will still be there tomorrow. They aren't going anywhere. While I am not someone who can just do absolutely nothing, I am learning that it is just fine if EVERYTHING does not get done. My home and how it is taken care of should not be an idol. Balance... one of the hardest concepts of all time. Am I right folks?
Every morning the kids and I do a devotional together and read the Bible. I really love this time with them. They are still warm and snuggly from their nice cozy beds. They lay on me as though to say "Mommy here are my burdens, help me give them to Jesus". We read this together just two mornings ago...
Do not be overwhelmed by the clutter in your life. By "clutter" I'm not just talking about all that stuff under your bed. I'm including all those endless little chores that you need to do sometimes, but not necessarily now. All those little tasks will eat up as much time as you give them. So, instead of trying to do everything at once, choose the chores that really need to be done today. Then let the rest of them slip to the back of your mind, so that I can be in the front of it. Remember, your goal in this life is not to check everything off a to-do list. It is to live close to Me. Seek My Face all throughout this day. Let My Presence clear away the clutter in your mind, and flood you with My Peace.
Folks, take that and really ponder it for a moment.
I love how sometimes the kids devotional hits my struggles perfectly. Is it bad that my adult brain needs it broken down that far sometimes. Sigh.
And so, with all my rambling, I just urge you to just let some stuff go. Trust me, for this OCD chick, that is so hard.... but I am trying. Why? Simply so that I can spend more time every single day seeking His Face and allowing His Presence to clear away the things in my life that keep me from Him. My system is not flawless by any means, but it is helping.
On another similar note, this is what we have posted right underneath our Daily Focus chart....
... our family schedule. I have a stack of laminated, magnetic strips with all sorts of different things on them. A few of them never change (wake up/ alone time with God, breakfast/family Bible time being prime examples) while others can be rearranged to meet our needs for that day. Now I can't lie, sometimes I go days... or even weeks... without changing our schedule. Never the less, it is a great tool and it helps the kids and I stay focused and be productive while still remembering that it is okay to let things wait until another day and really put our focus on God. I still strive to be a good homemaker, I am simply choosing to do it while trying to live close to Him in every way!
I have a love/hate relationship with them, as I am sure lots of parents do. There are just too many toys! I have found that my kids actually play less when there is an over abundance of toys. Not to mention that they don't seem to appreciate their toys, or other things for that matter. Armed with this information, I began searching and praying for what to do.
As soon as I knew I wanted to work up a plan of attack, I started preparing the kids. We have been talking about how we are very blessed and how we are called to help those around us through the blessings God gives us. And so my first step was to ask the kids which toys they wanted to donate. Luckily that step went very smoothy. We donate toys often, but the attitude my children have about it is less than willing and shows just how selfish they can be. When I saw this progress I knew it meant we had to keep up the momentum and go deeper.
Now we are preparing them for the next step, the bigger step. The step that a tiny piece of me is like "Am I crazy? Are the kids going to drive me nuts when I do this? Will it be worth it at all?".
The day after Thanksgiving we are going to bring ALL THE TOYS IN THE HOUSE into the living room. Together we are going to sort every single toy into piles. A donate pile, a pile of "always" toys, and then bin toys.
Always toys are going to be the toys they can have in their toy boxes in their rooms. Lula Mae will get to have her baby doll and accessories. Jayce will get his cars and trucks. They will each get to keep a few more "always" toys, but I will be sure that they are toys that spark imagination and creative play. These piles will be very MINIMAL and will be monitored frequently.
The bin toys will be sorted into 3 plastic bins. We will no longer say "this is his toy" or "this is her toy". The bins are OUR toys, They belong to everyone. I am going to try my hardest to make the bins make since. For example on bin will have the cash register, the play food, the chefs costume, the tea set, etc. so that when a bin is picked they can really play together.
Each week the kids will pick out a bin TOGETHER that will stay in the playroom. For that week they can play with that bin, along with their "always" toys. They toys from the bins will not be allowed to come to their bedrooms, they must stay in the neutral area of the playroom. I am hopeful that that will help them to realize it isn't "his" or "hers", and instead theirs.
This is just my overall vision. I realize there are still many details that need to be sorted out. I am confident, however, that this new system will really help my kids. We live in a "stuff" driven world and I am desperate to help them see that "stuff" is not important. I want them to appreciate things and really thank God for everything He has blessed them with.
I won't lie, this will be very hard for me. One of my love languages for my kids is "giving gifts". Part of the reason I want to do this is to help me realize that my kids don't need all these things I am buying. I think this is really going to challenge me in a big way, and I am very excited about that.
My kids will have some adjusting to do as well, I am sure of that. I can't wait to see what this does for our family!
My brain has officially checked out. Yep. It isn't even mid-November yet and I feel like I am ready for the new year.
Life has been so full and busy these days. That is great I guess, except I feel like it has been so busy that I haven't been able to keep up with what's really important.
Jesus is what is really important. End of story.
With how crazy things are these days I am skipping my quiet time, rushing through prayers, squeezing in my devotional. What is that showing my kids??? It is showing them the exact opposite of what I am called to show them!
I need this holiday season to be different than any other. I need it to be low key, and calm, and 100% focused on Jesus. Not just Christmas, but Thanksgiving too! I desperately need things to slow down so I can gain some perspective.
Raising my kids is one of the most important things God has called me to do. I am seeing how difficult this job really is these days. I am also seeing how fleeting my chance to raise my children is as well. I will be my kids Mom until the day I die, but I only really have a small window of opportunity to raise them. The way things are going right now, I am ashamed to say, society is really raising my kids... not me. That is just not acceptable! I am aware that when my kids are adults I can still impact their lives and influence them, but not like when they are young. Not like I can today. Today is where I need to be.
Today is where I need to always be focused. Showing my kids how to live for Jesus today.
When the new year rolls around I want to have a better handle on understanding time. I want to move into 2014 with a feeling of "I can do this".
Deception. That really is the best way to describe it.
I am not the person you see on Facebook. My life does resemble that person, and the things I post are true life events, but in the grand scheme of things I am not that person. Not even a little bit.
On Facebook I am super woman, I am an amazing Mom, I should win Wife Of The Year, my home is perfect, I am always put together and wearing makeup, my kids are sweet little angles who say the sweetest things, I spend countless hours filling myself with God's Word, I am always filled with joy.... and the list could go on and on. This is the person I let you see. Why? Because the true me is just not good enough to post for the worlds viewing pleasure.
The real me forgets about the same load of laundry all day until I finally have to run the washer again just to be sure nothing got molded.
The real me sprays a little air freshener through the house before my husband comes home to give the illusion that I "cleaned".
The real me does not show my husband the respect he deserves on a daily basis.
The real me does not submit to my husband the way that God commands, and if I do it is with a bad attitude... which basically means I haven't submitted at all.
The real me rarely puts on clothes that don't closely resemble pajamas, much less fix my hair or do my make up.
The real me is the Mom I hoped I would never turn into. One who yells and says things to her kids that I regret as soon as they fly out of my mouth.
The real me has kids who disobey and throw fits.
The real me squeezes in quiet time with God and rushes through my Bible time simply to be able to say I have done it that day.
The real me is rarely joyful and has an attitude of selfishness and ungratefulness.
See what I mean? The real me just would not get a lot of "likes" on Facebook, and who wants that? We all want to be "liked" and so we show the world only what we want them to see... the good stuff. The truth is, there is a whole lot more bad stuff in me than good stuff. I long to be the person I am on Facebook.
Luckily, I don't have to be perfect. I am not expected to be the perfect wife, be the perfect mom, have the perfect house, have the perfect kids and have my life completely together. God knows I can't be these things on my own. His only expectation of me is that I come to him, broken, ready to accept the gift He has bought for me at such a great cost. He wants me to know how broken I am so that I can fully understand how precious His gift is. He expects me to wake up each day and ask for His help to be all the things that He calls me to be. He knows my life is not the picturesque one that I post to Facebook, and He loves me in spite of that. Yet I just struggle with loving myself in spite of all my failures.
I want my life to live up to the one I show the world on Facebook, but instead of focusing on that I want to simply focus on living a life worthy of the Gospel, a life that brings glory to God. I love God with all my heart, soul and mind and I want that to show on more than just Facebook. I want that to show to my children, my husband, the cashier at the store, my small group, my friends, my family, the stranger on the bread aisle with me.... I want it to show each and everyday, to the world!