No Such Thing as Balance

We all long for balance.  The problem is there is no such thing as balance.  Life is not perfect.  We are not perfect.  Others around us are not perfect.  Harsh words for a recovering perfectionist.  Harsh reality for all of us finding ourselves battling the striving versus the being.

There is no such thing as balance.  Our days will be too full.  The unexpected will happen.  Something or everything will take too long.  As we seek to live a more organized life, to live our priorities in a meaningful way, we need to remember that balance will never be achieved.  The scales will always be tipped just a little one way or the other, AND that is o.k

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As long as the scales are gently rocking back and forth we can maintain, we can move forward, we can be confident we are living our priorities.  It is when the scales go crashing to one side or the other we need be concerned.  This week my business is taking more of my time, tipping the scales to one side.   However, I continue to protect our family dinner time, to honor the coming holy holiday, and limit the number of appointments next week.  When I can release the idea of balance, perfection, I can honor my family, friends, clients, home.  I can free myself from guilt as I meet the priorities of each given day or week, knowing next week there will be a shift in priorities.

It can be difficult to keep the scales gently rocking back and forth.  And there are those times, times of unexpected illness, loss, and even opportunity, that keep the scales tipped to one side longer than normal.  As long as there is a shifting back, as long as we remember the shift is necessary, that’s o.k.

My paper planner is key to helping me keep my eye on my priorities, keeping the scales from tipping too far to one side or the other.

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Across the top of my weekly pages I have a column for each of my priority areas.  My Home, Children, Business, Blog, Volunteer Commitments.  It is here I can track the weekly tasks.  Not only does this allow me to capture all the things I need to get done, it allows me to see where the bulk of my tasks are.  If week after week my business or volunteer activities require the bulk of my tasks, I can see the scales are tipped and I need to make some adjustments, focusing energy and tasks on family, myself, our home.  If I struggle to find a category in which to place the tasks, I know I need to assess my activities, determine if it is time to change priorities, let something go in order to embrace a new opportunity, new season. When a week seems overwhelming I can look to the next and make adjustments, focusing attention on another area/category.

There is no such thing as balance.  There is a gentle ebb and flow.  Once I embrace the ebb and flow, remembering the goal is to keep the scales gently tilting back and forth, I can release myself from the grip of perfection, the striving to do it all, and live more fully.  I can trust that while this week may be more about work, next week can be more about family, friends, caring for a loved one.  I can live a more beautiful life of purpose.

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Be AWARE or Beware

Having the opportunity to work as an organizer and meet with women through my Mary & Martha business (www.mymaryandmartha.com/shana) I realize how this fast paced life we live keeps us from being aware of what we are doing.  Choices get made, or choices get avoided.  We often think that when we avoid choices/decisions, we are simply NOT making a decision.  But the opposite is true.  Most of the time, NOT making a decision is in all actuality making a really bad decision.  Nothing is ever gained by avoidance. Nothing is ever gained by moving through life unaware.

I am a mom, wife, daughter, owner of two businesses, friend, Sunday School leader, speaker and sister/aunt.  I know and study time management principles and strive to approach my days with wisdom, directed by the Holy Spirit.  Yet, I too fall prey to just getting through the days/weeks/months too often unaware.  I’m in a hurry so I say “yes” when the answer should be “let me get back to you” or “no”.  I grab an unhealthy fast food item to eat in the car because I overbooked my day, leaving no white space (see previous post).  I snap at my girls and husband because I am tired and have let household tasks pile  up as a result of not taking my own advice and blocking off time for them.

The real tragedy comes in not stopping long enough to even know why we are doing what we are doing.  And sadly, as Christians we often pile scripture on top of it all in an attempt to justify our hectic lives.

We get a flat tire on the side of the road with a car load of kids.  We post to Facebook how “blessed” we are that this happened because along came some lonely older gentleman to help us and we got to witness to him.  NOT.  God doesn’t cause flat tires.  God doesn’t desire flat tires.  Yes, he can bring something good out of the situation if we respond in a biblical way to the situation.  The reality though is we would not have put ourselves, the kids, others on the road at risk if we had been thinking about our hectic lives, paying attention to the fact our car needed maintenance.  Being AWARE of our possessions and the care of them, aka the car, would have led us to make a best decision.  Did God and can God redeem our bad decisions if we allow Him to?  Of course He can.

We take our children out to eat after a full day of errands, preceded the day before by a late night at sports practice followed by a late dinner and homework.  They proceed to throw a fit.  We are too tired, or desperate for nourishment, to address them.  We allow them to throw the fit, disrupting everyone else in the restaurant.  We get upset at the couple two tables over for “glaring” at us.  We remind ourselves that children are a gift from the Lord and we are busy and tired from all the things we are providing them in an attempt to raise them for His service.  We remind ourselves that God is a loving God and we are to practice grace and forgiveness.  Not faulty theology, but maybe just maybe, we need to step back and consider the poor choices that got our family to this place and consider our motives along the way.  Would it be better for our kids to not be tired in the first place?  Would it be better after a long two days for us to be eating at home around our own dinner table where we would relax, share in conversation and seek refuge?

We get to work having spilled our third cup of coffee for the morning all over our front seat and meeting notes for staff meeting.  We’ve thrown the bible in the work bag, thinking will read it when we get to the office.  Lunch has been left on the counter, along with our kids’ lunches, forgotten in the frenzied moment of yelling and pushing to get out the door late.  the receptionist smiles and says good morning.  We mumble, head down and slam the door to our office hoping for a moment of quiet, when in walks the employee needing guidance on the last project we gave them.  We snap, we criticize.  We quickly apologize and then begin to remind ourselves we just need to pull it together because “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”  We decide to carry on, get over it, tell everyone else to get over it and move on.  We ignore the underlying issues.  Why are we late to school and work every day?  Can we have Christ’s wisdom and strength if daily the quiet time in His word is laid to the side?  Christ doesn’t promise to strengthen us for the crazy we let in our lives.  He promises to strengthen us for His works, getting through this life in this fallen world with grace and hope and joy based upon believing faith.  Again, wouldn’t it be better to remove some things from our calendar, determine what we can delegate and slow the pace of our lives down?

I’ve been there.  I have done all of the above-except stay in the restaurant with screaming kids-too much of a people pleaser to have ever gone there!  Skewing our theology, using scripture to justify or as a sword of judgement comes with fatigue, with lack of time in His word, with a rushed life.   It comes with lack of awareness, being on auto pilot.  When we fail to live life aware of our choices we need to BEWARE of all that will slip in, sucking life right out of us and those we love.  Living life unaware costs us.  It costs us in relationships.  It costs us in health.  It costs us financially.

As I seek JOY this year, I am reminded more than ever how important it is to be aware of what I am doing.  It takes time.  It means I have to step back and look at my life from the larger lens.  It means I have to stop when I react in a way I don’t like and ask myself “why?”.  It means making some tough decisions, letting go of some things or activities.  It means focusing more on WHO God wants me to become, than what I am doing (even if I think I am doing it for Him).  The process can be difficult because often I see my motives and how off base they are-wanting to impress, wanting recognition, needing to feel important.  Other times I have to accept responsibility for outcomes brought on by letting others control me or influence me.  This though is where I can claim His word.  He will strengthen me to make the difficult decisions.  He will work out for good those things in my life I lay at His feet, those choices made in the quiet time of reading His word, searching and seeking His wisdom and guidance.  He will grant me rest as I make best decisions which honor Him and meet with the priorities He has entrusted to me.   He will provide for my needs, not my wants and in Him I will find peace that surpasses all understanding.

I want to stand on His promises.  I want to claim them.  I can only do that by being AWARE of my moment to moment choices.  I have to remember to BEWARE of the one that comes to mislead and steal.  I will live AWARE.

Not Enough

I looked at my husband through eyes filled with tears.  “I can’t do this any more.  I have nothing-I only hear the message, ‘You are not enough'”.  In that moment I felt drained.  I honestly felt like any ability to extend grace, love generously, even think, was gone.  I had two discontent teenage daughters pecking at me, I had not been able to take care of something my husband needed done, I had received a message I wasn’t spending enough time with my mother, I had not called my mother-in-law and thanked her enough for Christmas (according to my father-in-law), I was behind on laundry, I was out of groceries, and my business had not met my expectations for the month.  The day before I had also received a call asking that I take a large leadership role in a ministry engaging women in our state.  While I desperately wanted to serve in this way, to engage again in ministering to women through a structured ministry, I knew beyond question my answer at this time was to be “No.”  It wasn’t what I wanted the answer to be.  In fact, I wanted to ignore what I knew to be true and say “Yes.” I was disheartened by the clear direction to say “No”.

It was a melt down  moment.  There was nothing my husband could do.  There were no “Sorry mom” statements big enough. There was no deleting the messages.  The only way to say “Yes” was to act in disobedience.  With wisdom my husband simply took the girls on to their respective activities, never saying a word.  And I, well I was left to fall into a puddle of what felt like complete overwhelm and despair.

Frankly, I wasn’t in the mood to talk to God.  I didn’t know what to pray.  Yet, I didn’t want to be angry.  I didn’t want to feel defeated.  Joy.  That was supposed to be my word for the year.  Only weeks into the new year and Joy felt like a universe away.  As I sat there motionless, empty, 2 Corinthians 12: 9 began to play through my mind.  “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect (complete) in weakness.”

I am not enough.  That is the truth.  I can not do it all.  I can not, in my own strength, be all I need to be.  I am not enough.  I am not complete.  There was nothing to do in that moment but to release the emotions and lean into His grace-grace that is sufficient for me.  A part of obedience is not only doing the stuff, but it is the letting go and leaning in.  It is the acknowledging.  It is the accepting.  I am not enough.  The message didn’t need to be defeating-that’s what Satan would like.  The message simply needed to be an accepted truth that would prompt me to act in obedience, leaning into Him, His grace, allowing Him to complete me, to strengthen me.

” I am not enough, but His grace is sufficient for me and His strength is made perfect in my weakness.”  That is the message I need to let run through my mind.  That is the truth.

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Clear Out, Clean Out-Get Ready

There are a million de-cluttering challenges happening right about now.  People are busy setting goals, clearing out the clutter in their lives, their homes, their offices.  Cleaning out the garage, the attic.  I’m doing it too.  New stuff has arrived at our home and well, we’ve got to make space.  I don’t want cluttered closets, crammed full of stuff I can’t find or use.  I’m also busy making sure I have my mind and calendar cleaned out and ready.  Ready to experience all that God has in store for me this next year.  I want to be ready.  In fact, I have determined 2015 holds to “Words of the Year” for me.  My first was Joy.(https://simplifiedorganizedstyled.com/2015/01/09/joy-do-we-even-know-what-it-means/)  Ready is clearly my second.

As I have been wrapping up my read through the Bible I have been convicted and struck by the number of times Christ directs his listeners and disciples to be ready. They weren’t ready for His crucifixion.  They weren’t ready for His resurrection.  I wouldn’t have been either.  Who could have imagined.  Who could have really understood?

I want to be ready this year.  Being ready means preparation.  I don’t know about you, but too often this is where I fall short. I procrastinate.  I lack the discipline.  I want to do better in all those areas this year.  I don’t know what the year holds.  And as my verse for the year reminds me, it may be difficulties, sorrow.  I want to be ready.  I want to experience JOY-not the giddy, happy feeling we tend to think of, but the peace, the sense of assurance that comes from JOY in Him.  I believe a huge part of getting to experience that JOY will be a result of my being READY, having prepared my heart and mind.

Are You Going to Do More Than Survive the Holidays? PLAN

I was asked to speak recently at a church women’s event, one of my favorite things to do.  With the holidays upon us, I was asked to speak on surviving the holidays.  For most of us that is exactly how it feels-like we are just surviving.  Much of life used to be that way for me as a strove to find success in my career, sought to have the cleanest house and most organized pantry. Life was often nothing more than moving from task to task, falling into bed exhausted, praying for a little respite to come my way.

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God’s plan for our lives holds so much  more than that.  There are no promises of pain free, sorrow-less days, but there is the promise of transformation, healing, strength, hope and joy.   We are reminded life is lived in the ordinary moments of our days as we love others.

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There is a way to develop habits and lifestyle which lead to more than just surviving the days, the holidays.  I’ve not perfected it for myself, but it gives me a guide, an accountability tool to use.  As we plan our days, determine our “to do” list, we need to filter everything through the PLAN.

P:  Purpose/Priorities

L:  Limits/Letting Go

A:  Acknowledge/Assign

N:  Nurture

Purpose and Priorities.  Too often we move through life allowing others to determine our choices and actions.  We say “yes” in order to please, gain a sense of accomplishment, fit in with a group, to avoid guilt, and the list goes on.  We give no thought to our purpose and priorities.

As I have sought to simplify my life and live a more organized life that reflects who I am as a Christian woman I have come to realize I must spend time here-in this place of determining priorities.  Scripture tells me I am to place Christ first, which means daily I must spend time with Him, study Him, seek Him.  Then I must care for those He has entrusted to me, my family.  I then consider the gifts and talents He has given me and consider ways to use those gifts to serve others, whether it is through paid employment or volunteer work.  When you set these priorities and limit your “yes” to only those things you have talents and gifts for, it really isn’t hard to determine priorities.  (The next step will be critical, so come back Monday.)  Interestingly, for those of us who call ourselves, believers, the priorities are pretty much the same.  He has a clear road map in the Bible.  The only real variance is the latter, using our specific gifts and talents.

To live according to our purpose and priorities, we must allow God to transform us.  Transformation begins with the renewing or our minds, thus the scripture reading, bible study, prayer and corporate fellowship.  Scripture also tells us the heart is the wellspring of life.  While we want to think through our decisions carefully, often those “best yes” decisions are the ones made with our whole being.  The one that just “feels” right as it aligns with our minds.  Those decisions you can smile at, settle into like a warm blanket on a cold winter night.  The one that when carried out gives deep satisfaction, peace and joy.

I have come to ask myself this very important question as I try to make that final determination between “want to” and priority. Will doing this “thing” affect someone’s body, mind or spirit.  If not, if it only affects me or has no real relational value, then I don’t do it.  It simply isn’t part of how God has designed us.  Now lest you think that means you can quit cleaning toilets, exercising or all that other mundane, not so much fun stuff, stop and think.  As a wife and mother (or husband and father) the care of my home impacts my family’s mind, body and spirit.  A clean, well managed home provides them a place of shelter in which to find safety, rest, health.  It is a place meant to refresh and prepare them to go out and carry out their purpose and priorities.  Exercise helps me maintain or regain strength.  It offers an opportunity to release stress and ensure my cardiovascular system is staying healthy.  I can then serve better, care for others better.  I can inspire or encourage those around me to do the same for themselves.

Get it?  Setting our purpose and priorities is about perspective.  To have the right perspective you have to stop and give it thought, look in scripture for guidance and seek His counsel that your mind may be transformed and your life may spring up from within your heart.  That is the place of peace and joy.  That is the place that even when tragedy or mishaps occur you can carry on.

What are your purposes and priorities this holiday?  Have you given it any thought?  Mine are:

  1. Create a home environment in which friends and family find peace.
  2. Keep our schedule open enough we have time to fellowship one on one, with family and close friends.
  3. Establish times to serve as a family, remembering Christ came to love, to serve and to save.

Set your “P” today.  Don’t rush into the holiday one more day.  Step back, get some perspective and decide your purpose.

Enough- Do We Just Keep Saying It or Do We Mean It?

I promise you at least a dozen times this weekend I heard someone say, “Enough”, “I’m tired of this”, “Are you kidding me, still?”. I said it myself.  “Enough” of this not getting the chores done.  “Enough” of these busy weekends.  “Enough” of the complaining. We all thought it as election day came and went.  “Enough.”

As I struggled with my own “enough” I had to admit that those things I most often say “enough” over, are the things I am hesitant to confront or change.  They are those things I feel compelled to do because the world offers them up as ‘important’, ‘necessary’, ‘obligatory’.  They are those things I fear will cause me social harm if not done.  They are those things I assume everyone else is doing, juggling with success.  But I must tell you, the more I sit and listen.  The more I find myself seeking to be a hearer and not a just a doer, the more I realize that very few people are meeting success with overbooked, overfilled, over stimulated lives.  In fact, it seems most of us are saying, “Enough.”

I decided to be deliberate.  I wrote down those things I felt were my “enough” items.  I prayed over them during the course of the weekend.  I was reminded most of what I had had “enough” of, was worldly.  We run, racing from one event to another. We fill our kids’ schedules to overflowing afraid they won’t make the team, or be “in” with the right group if we don’t keep up. We choose athletic practices over Sunday evening bible study or Wednesday discipleship.  We choose extra curricular activities, social events over dinner around the table with family.  We guilt ourselves into being at every church event lest those church ladies begin to gossip and judge our spirituality.  We run.  We race.  We grow weary.

God took me back to a scripture so well know.  Romans 12:3.  “Be not conformed.”  How easily we read the words.  Many of us can quote them as easily as we quote John 3:16.  But do we live them?  I don’t.  In those moments of “enough” I realize I vital the scripture is.

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God calls me to live differently.  My life, my calendar should not look like everyone else’s.  It should not resemble the calendar of one who does not serve the risen God.  My life should look different.  My calendar should look different.  His pattern leads to refreshment, peace, joy in the midst of trials.  His path leads to victory as I release the hurts and fears to Him.  I have to make a choice to renew my mind.  I can’t keep racing.  I can’t just keep going.  I have a decision to make.  In that moment of “enough” if I am to live transformed, I must stop and ask myself, “Is this necessary?  Is this the best for me, for my kids, for our family?”  I don’t have to just say, “Enough” and carry on.  I need to stop.  I need to let my “Enough” be a sincere word, an end to the crazy running, striving, seeking affirmation.  “Enough” should drive me to my quiet place, the sitting in stillness asking for Him to speak, give me scripture, guidance.  “Enough” should drive me to live transformed, to quit living conformed.

I challenge you today.  If you have uttered the word “enough” in recent days.  Go back.  What is it you have had “enough” of?Dare to let the “enough” drive you to deliberateness of thought, action.  Dare to stand out from the crowd.  Dare to live as you, as I, as we His church have been called to live-transformed.  Quit being conformed.  Enough is enough.

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Quit Blaming Your Stuff: 3 Questions to Help You Be REAL

So often we blame our STUFF or our CALENDAR for the stress in our lives.  Neither is correct.  Each of those are as they are because of choices we have made.  Choices to purchase something, to keep something from mom or grandma’s attic, to commit to an event or activity or project.  We have no one to blame but ourselves.  Ouch.  That hurts.  However, it is the truth.  The longer we live in denial about that fact, the longer we will live in stress, in overwhelmed, in over drive.

It is easy to accumulate.  We accumulate things, tasks, events, people, debt, the list goes on.  We get caught up in “the world” and the way everyone else lives.  We move through life on auto pilot or so busy and distracted we fail to even notice the moment, the people, our choices, our words, our actions.

My desire is not to just be organized.  My desire is to live a simpler life.  I want to live in each moment.  I don’t want the pull of the next task or event to distract me from this moment.  I don’t want the mounds of laundry, overflowing kitchen cabinets, or piles of paper to keep my mind abuzz with “you should”, “you ought to”, “you failure”…  I want life to be simpler.  I want it to be organized. I want it to reflect my style-my heart.  That life requires decisions.  It requires honesty.  It requires knowing where my time will be spent today.

Here are 5 Questions I ask myself:

1.  If I bring this task or thing into my home where will it go?  For tasks, that means where on my calendar will I put it?  For things, that means where in my house will I store it?

2.  Why do I want this thing?/Why do I want to do this task?  I am a firm believer that things need to have a purpose-even if that is to simply sit and look pretty and bring a smile to my face.  I am a firm believer that tasks I do need to fit my Life Statement.  Does this task help me reach a goal or meet a need for the people holding highest priority in my life?

3.  Can I maintain this task or thing?  I have to look ahead at my schedule and my space to determine if next week I can still find time on my calendar or will still have the space for this item.

If I can’t answer these questions, especially number 2, then I give myself 24 hours.  If the thing or task fits, I’ll know.  If I remain uncertain then I let it go, having faith that in due season if it is a necessary thing or task, the opportunity will re-emerge.

I don’t want to go through life on auto pilot.  I don’t want to miss that moment to connect with another.  I don’t want to miss the whisper of the Holy Spirit, because I failed to sit and rest.  I don’t want a home so filled with things that bring me and my family joy, but are never shared with another.  If I don’t, then I have to.  I have to quit blaming my stuff, my calendar or others.  I have to make a decision.

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The Search Never Ends-Planner Perfection

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Project List and Tracking
Project List and Tracking
Slim Weekly Planner purchased at Barnes & Noble
Slim Weekly Planner purchased at Barnes & Noble

Well, I know it is NOT just me.  There seems to be a never ending search among-st women for the PERFECT PLANNER.  Now, I know perfection is NOT something to be pursued, for none of us is perfect, but it sure seems like there would be a planner out there that met women’s needs.  We are all so different thought.  Some of us like to decorate our planners and want lots of white space in which to create.  Others of us, like myself, like lots of lines to write on.  Most of us need to manage a whole slew of people’s schedules and events.  Some of us want to manage those things by time slots, others want to see a section for each person they track.  The list could go on and on.

Out of curiosity, I thought it would be fun to do a little survey.  What would you want in a planner?  I thought about a survey, but I don’t want my limited thoughts, creativity to stifle your thoughts.  So, just post in the comments.

I want a month at a glance with lined boxes.  I like a 7 day per week on two pages overview.  I like an area to note appointments and like this to be numbered by the hour.  Again, I like lines.  I have this thing about crooked writing.  I want a place to put “to do lists” by category/project.  I do not need a contacts section.  I would like to track my water drinking.  You get the idea.  Dream away and give me all your best ideas.  Never know what my happen with those ideas!

 

Friday Planning for Monday

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I used to do my weekly planning on Monday.  I was always in a rush on Friday to wrap things up, or had something fun planned as my little reward for getting things done during the week.  As a result I often went into the weekend with all these little tidbits of information and thoughts spinning in my head.  My desk would have at least one good pile of papers sitting on it.  I seldom looked at my calendar until Sunday night family planning time, when my husband and I make an attempt at coordinating schedules and I holler across the house asking my girls what all they have the coming week, what items they need, asking if I have signed all the papers etc…  You know.  The mom drill.  Monday morning would come around and while I would awaken ready to start the new week off with a bang, at least two hours would be consumed with going through the pile of papers, trying to get on paper all those tidbits of information.  I’d be border-line exhausted by the time I had my plan of attack for the week mapped out.

Then, during the course of my much time management related reading, I came across two authors recommending Friday Planning.  David Allen, of “Getting Things Done” highly recommends this practice.  I hate to admit this hit me like a ton of bricks.  What a novel idea.  You see, being the type A, rule following girl that I am, it would never have occurred to me to “change” the ever acclaimed process of Monday planning.  That had been the mantra of most of the authors I had read, with the exception of the few mom authors who acclaimed the Sunday night planning.  After pondering the idea for a bit, and getting over the fact that I had never considered this before, I gave it a try.  I LOVE FRIDAY PLANNING FOR MONDAY.

I attempt to reserve time after lunch for planning.  I block off thirty minutes to one hour.  It’s amazing how quickly I can develop the next week’s plan of action on Friday.  It is also amazing how much I can get done Friday AFTER my planning session.  I sit down with planner and phone.  I use the monthly calendar on my phone for scheduling appointments etc…  I still transfer this information to my paper planner, but I don’t carry my planner with me at all times, so my phone calendar serves as the “master” calendar.  I make certain everything on the phone calendar is written into my monthly paper planner and weekly planning pages.  My next step is to review all of my project lists (remember from my previous post I try not to have more than 4-5 projects at any given time).  If there are new tasks to add I do so, while also marking off completed tasks and transferring to the coming week’s pages any tasks for that week.  I then review the current week, looking to see if there are any items pending or undone.  I either determine to get them done Friday afternoon or I transfer the task to the following week’s list of “to do” items.  Thirdly,” I make a list of anything I am going to need to buy in order to complete the next week’s tasks.  Lastly, I block off time to work on long range goals-those items that are value to me, build my business and my ministry, and are on-going.  This is in fact my weakest area, but I am finding that as I continue to practice Friday planning, I am much more likely to have the time for working on these long-range goals and keep the time appointment with myself.

Why does Friday planning work?  First, most of us are not up to starting new tasks or doing any “heavy” work on Friday afternoons.  Focusing my energies on planning for the following week gives me an opportunity to “wrap up” and bring closure to the week.  The little things left undone are typically items that are simple, require little thinking and can be done in about 15 minutes if I just do them.  Things like getting the filing caught up, sending a thank you note or business letter to a lead, researching hotels for future trip…  Sometimes it is even going back and reading all those articles I pinned or put in my “follow up” folder in e-mail.  Secondly, Friday planning gives me an opportunity to brain dump.  I can go into the weekend knowing that anything I didn’t get accomplished the previous week has been assigned a new date and time, and will not be forgotten.  I read once that a great deal of our mental fatigue is caused by thinking about things we HAVEN”T done.  This practice helps eliminate that.  I can get it off my mind because I know it is written down and taken care of.  Thirdly, I can truly wake up Monday morning and jump right into work.  This usually means I am VERY productive Monday through Wednesday, and then my energies begin to slow.  But hey, that’s ok, because 80 percent of my stuff gets done in 20% of my time.

I challenge you to give it a try.  Friday planning for Monday.  It might just change your weekends and your Mondays.

 

The Worry Sin

I seem to find myself ensnared in this thing called worry.  The worry sin.  It is mixed with a little fear, a little doubt.  Those in and of themselves are not bad, in fact they can be the emotions that spur me on to new places, new depths of understanding, new confidences.  But worry.  How it drains.  It creeps in during the deepest, darkest points of night.  It awakens me from the rest so desperately needed.  It stirs my mind and thoughts go astray.  The fatigue, the stress, the frustration alter the course of the morning yet to come.  The days feel long and the words are not encouraging, loving or grace filled.  The sweet daughter, the one with so much compassion and the gift of mercy, gently whispers to me, “Mom, why so much worry?  Relax.  Tomorrow will come and you can do some more.  Today is good.”  God uses her to speak truth and rebuke to me.  It stings.  Yet, at the same time, it warms my heart.  This young lady I have raised.  She relates to her heavenly Father with complete openness and abandon.  Life is full of hope and tomorrows.  She sees beauty all around her.  She knows the darkness that exists, but she chooses the light and joy.

Most of what I worry about I can not change.  Much of what I worry about has already happened-it is Satan’s tool-regret.  Again, I can not change what has already happened.  The life I live is blessed.  Not easy.  Not void of hardships or heartache.  It is not full of material possessions and financial freedom.  None the less it is blessed.  She, my mercy girl, reminds me.  She reminds me as we drive down the road.  I see traffic, I see the clock ticking.  She sees the single wild flower blooming in the median.  She sees the young child laughing in the car next to us.  She sees hope and anticipation of joy as we approach our next activity.  And I pray.  I pray that I can regain my child like faith.  I pray I can believe the God who redeemed me can redeem my lost moments, my squandered time and the not meant to be veers off the path to His purpose for me.  I pray He gives me the desire and the strength to keep going, no matter what.  I pray to believe, as Holly Gerth so eloquently put it in You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream, “But whatever purpose God has for your dream, he will bring it to pass.  Your job is to not quit no matter what happens.  god will take care of the rest.”  I pray she will hold firm to her God given gift and always choose the light and joy.  I pray she will continue to speak truth, in her gentle and quiet way.

The worry sin.  It is the thorn in my flesh.  It is the sin I do not let go of.  I know I am not alone.  But that does not make it ok.  I can not squander the night with worry.  I can not squander the day with worry.  There is too much to be done.  The worry sin.  It turns my attention to the dark, to the mistakes, to the irritants.  Trust.  Faith.  Those illuminate the dark.  They force my attention on the future and a hope.  It is my choice.

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