Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #10: Be Realistic

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, NIV)

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ll go ahead and admit it: I’m a ‘Martha.’ I cannot rest until everything is finished; I cannot sleep (at least not peacefully) if I have left something undone. And the work is never done.

Unfortunately, however, it’s time for a dose of reality. If you’re working outside the home, you need to realize that you are never going to get everything done, especially if you have children. It’s physically and mentally impossible. The Titus 2 Woman, in her wisdom and encouragement, will tell you that although we are to aspire to her standards, the Proverbs 31 Woman does not exist. Not even the fortunate ladies who are SAHMs get everything done, although reading some of their blogs makes me feel grossly inadequate. We have to keep in mind, however, that it’s fairly easy to look good “on paper.” But just like no one really lives in the pretty rooms you see in magazines, the way we portray ourselves to others is not necessarily the skin we walk around in each day.

So let me share a little truth about me:

  • I never get everything done on my to-do list each day. I shift and reschedule and pray that, God willing, it’s all done by the end of the week. Sometimes it’s not.
  • I try my best to exercise each weekday, but sometimes it’s a casualty due to something that is simply more urgent, such as helping the kids with difficult assignments, unscheduled yet necessary errands, doctor or dentist visits or unexpected visits from family and friends.
  • Because I work at night, I rarely get enough sleep, although I do get more sleep than I did before I changed shifts. Sometimes I have to take a break and catch a 30-minute nap in the afternoon so that I feel safer driving to work. And I get grumpy when don’t get enough rest. The kids have actually sent me back to bed, which throws off my schedule, which means I don’t get everything done…
  • I work hard to make sure that we have nourishing, healthy meals planned. But my husband does the cooking at night while I am at work, and if he isn’t in the mood for what I planned, he will prepare what he wants, unless what he really wants is to just go pick up a pizza. The goal is to eat in most of the time.
  • I have a real issue sometimes being content with the lot God has given me, and I have begged and pleaded with him to change my circumstances so that I can be home with my kids AND with my husband (at the same time). But in His infinite wisdom, He has told me, “No, at least for now.” As I look back, I know that my heart has always been at home; all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mommy. Despite what I wanted, however, He has wanted me to be working – outside the home. He has revealed it through the desires of my husband, who has never wanted me to stay at home, and He has revealed it through the amazing research work in which I have been blessed to have had a small part. He has never failed to take care of our needs, and He has richly blessed us with many of our “wants” as well. He opened the door for me to continue working when He called us to bring our children out of public school to homeschool them. He has been faithful, and that brings me joy. I can be happy – content, even – because I am being obedient. (Hey, I’ve talked myself into it! Funny what counting your blessings can do…)
So the dishes and laundry and mopping and vacuuming can wait: they’re not going anywhere, and they will continue to wait very patiently for me until I can get caught up. The point is to make the most of every day, so that every moment is time well spent, to the best of my ability.

This is where the rubber meets the road as far as our priorities are concerned. My prayer is that I will have “chosen what is better” when the day is done. I am praying this for you also.

I saw this on a blog I was visiting recently, and I have saved it for this post, because it is so appropriate:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely...” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

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