Join me for a helpful series called The Organized Me! During the month of January, I’m going to write various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed our last post, you can find it here!
When I was young, I had my life all planned out. After I got married, I would have children until I was 30, so that by the time I was 40, my youngest would be 10 years old and I would be able to do some other things with myself, rather than wiping runny noses and chasing small children.
But God had other plans.
The Lord worked in my life and I willingly surrendered myself to His guidance. When I was 30, I gave birth to Sharon, and at age 34, Lydia came into my life. Then, when I was 36, Johanna was born, followed by Jason when I was a whopping 39 years old! All the doctors had to do is ask “how many pregnancies?” and “how old are you?” and I was unceremoniously dumped into the High Risk category!
So I spent all of my 40’s (in addition to my 20’s and 30’s!!) changing diapers, potty-training, teaching preschool (along with high school!) and kindergarten. I did at least 3 to 4 loads of laundry a day during that 10 year period, which adds up to about 10,950-14,600 loads of laundry! (I read this to My Beloved, and he told me that it’s not completely accurate, since he did at least 3 loads of laundry during that time! lol!) And that’s just in that 10 year period! Tired? Been there. Done that.
I say this, not to get pity, but to help you realize that there are seasons of life. Perhaps I am a little slow, but it took me awhile to realize that whatever season I am in is soon likely to pass.
As my life has changed, so the organization of my life has changed. Schedules have changed, workloads have changed, locations have changed (a million times!) and even I have changed. And it will continue to change, because I have not “arrived” yet. But over the years, here are a few things I’ve learned about goals and how seasons of life affect them:
1. Focus on relationships, not productivity. I LOVE to get things done. Maybe I’m just addicted to that little adrenaline rush that comes from knowing something was truly accomplished, and it was ME that did it. But I need to recognise that I have a personal tendency to focus on getting things done, rather than building relationships with my family and friends, adn this tends to backfire on me later on. My neatly folded laundry won’t hold my hand when I’m crying, but My Beloved will.
2. It’s OK to put dreams aside for awhile, even a LONG while. As long as they are put in your heart by God, you never need to let them go, just let them sleep for awhile. They will still be there when the children are grown, and hopefully at that point you can have the best of both worlds, your loving family AND your God-given dreams.
3. Do your very best to get things done, but don’t stress if it doesn’t all get done. Someday, it’ll take about 30 minutes to do all the housework for the day, and you’ll be left with an entire day ahead of you with nothing to do. I know that sounds far-fetched, but if The Lord tarries, it really will happen. Do what you can, and love on your littles.
4. Develop good habits, even when it seems like that’s the only thing you do. My husband told me the other day, “I’m amazed at how much you get done, especially in the morning.” I told him, “Well, a long time ago, I developed a morning routine that gets done fairly quickly, and mostly while I’m still out of it. So when I finally wake up, I’ve already gotten a lot done.” That’s how it works, one habit at a time.
5. Limit your use of electronics. If you’re anything like me, you get sucked up into the cyberworld so easily. Right now, I don’t have a smart phone, partly for financial reasons, and partly because I know if I had one, I’d be so tempted to be on it all the time. I’m bad enough with my IPad! When I sit down to do email, post on FB, check Twitter, or read blogs, I look at the time and give myself about 15 minutes to do the current thing. Then I get up and switch laundry, do a little cleanup, or do something to get me moving around and spending time with my family.
Don’t be frustrated if you don’t seem to be as organized, or get as much done as the next person. Being a More Organized Me is a process, not a destination. And it’s a process that changes with the season.
What have you learned through the seasons of life?
- Check out my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!