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There are a ton of super motivating blog posts and magazine articles about how women can organize their time and resources in order to be supermom, superwife, and climb the corporate ladder at the speed of light.
This is not one of those articles.
I’m not saying you can’t do it all, and do it all well. But spoiler alert: I can’t!
I’m proposing an alternative: intentionally deciding to not do it all.
That’s right! I’ve decided my conscious, intentional goal as I balance motherhood, being a good wife, and a career is to edit my priorities and calendar ruthlessly!
I’ve decided that instead of trying to do it all, I will instead give my all to my top priorities, and everything else will be icing on the cake.
You see, I have identified a very few, select things in my life that are worth giving my all. Things that truly matter and warrant a focused piece of my attention.
Have you ever been distracted by what is good, when you should be focusing on what is better?
The truth is, women in the 21st century are called upon to do a lot. A LOT. Whether it’s our bosses, husbands, children, volunteer opportunities or quite possibly ourselves, we listen to many voices asking us to do many things all the time.
So how do you weed out the good, to leave room for the better?
Take notice of what you spend time on throughout the day, and ask yourself why? Is it because you have you or because you want to? Does the outcome of each task produce enough of a benefit to offset your effort? Does the task bring joy to your life? Is it, instead, sucking your energy and joy?
I’m a work in progress, and I do not by any means have it all figured out! As I worked through this exercise, here’s how I spend my days and why:
I am a practicing Christian. I love the Lord and I trust Him with my life because He saw it fit to save me. I start my day by reading the Bible, praying, and reading a devotional thought. Some days aren’t so smooth, so I find myself returning to the Word time and time again to be infused by the wonderful truth found inside. I play Christian music on the radio in the car. I consciously want to have the narrative of positive words flowing through my mind all day. It is my delight and adds meaning to my “everyday.” My daughter and I have post-it notes up all around the kitchen of Bible verses and positive messages to remind us to look to the Lord at all times. This is our chosen lifestyle. My husband, daughter and I have purposed to set aside time to read and discuss Scripture. When we think we’ve come up with a great idea of how to serve or help others, for example, we know we need to measure our own ideas against what the Word is teaching us.
Being a Caring Wife:
I’ve been married to my loving and dedicated husband for almost 17 years. We met on a mission trip in his home country of Venezuela. We are a blending of two cultures, but of one mind. I love this man and have made it my goal to not consider his needs as an afterthought. I hopefully have gotten better and better with this over the years! We regularly set aside time to spend together, whether it’s relaxing at home, going on a coffee date, or even for an occasional getaway weekend. I find joy in cooking for his tastes. If I hear the lawn mower start, I make sure I take him a bottle of ice water or juice. Why? Not because he demands any of this; it’s because I’m trying to pay attention to his love languages and to fill his love tank, because I love him!
Being an Engaged Mother:
We have a teenage daughter and let me tell you, we are so fortunate with this child! Yes, she is a normal teen, but she has the sweetest, most generous spirit and is energizing to be around. My husband and I have both been very hands-on parents thus far, making sure our work schedules allowed for focused and quality time with her. Ever since she was quite little, I’ve taken her out to do something fun (playground, Barnes and Noble, mall, visiting friends, etc.) on Friday evenings while my husband has men’s Bible study. Now that she’s a teen, she continues to look forward to Fridays as a time to be with her mother! I know! I told you we were fortunate!
I’ve worked “outside the home” for most of my married and mothering life, in positions of varying degrees of responsibility, and involving varying work schedules: full time, part time, somewhere between full and part time, working in an office, and working from home.
Suffice it to say that I’ve approached my career a few different ways!
Without going into great detail about my studies and career path, I will mention that I’ve been blessed to generally do what I enjoy doing over the years, and contribute to the household income all the while viewing myself as a homemaker and mother who works. Does that sound backward? It’s ok, it’s the truth. Our truth.
Homemaking is my personal ministry. In Titus 2, verses 4 and 5, we read,
“So that they (older women) may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”
Making a home is such a privilege and a blessing to those living with you, but it is not taken as seriously as it should by many women today. And before I go on, you can totally take homemaking seriously while working outside the home! You can also focus on it a whole lot more when you are physically present in the home on an intention basis. Finding joy in planning grocery lists, shopping on a budget, decorating our homes, clothing our families, cleaning bathrooms, nurturing our kids, planting flowers, cooking meals, and generally managing a household are not simply tasks to be learned in high school Home Economics class! These are life skills that can bring rich meaning to our lives, and that need to be passed along to our sons and daughters! There are times when homemaking can be challenging. Please click here to get my free series of 3 e-products to learn more!
I also should mention that my husband is in full time ministry, and he was before we got married. When we tied the knot, I heartily accepted and welcomed the “preacher’s wife” role. Being a ministry and mission-minded family is paramount to our identity. We are very involved with our church family and love to open our home to friends and family who live near and far. Our daughter has grown up with an understanding that “church” is not a optional social activity, rather it is a living, breathing family of believers that we are called to nurture. I wouldn’t trade this life for the world!
I have had type 1 diabetes since I was a teen. I’m a generally healthy person, but it takes a little extra work, and extra work takes time! In order for me to stay as healthy as possible, I set aside time and energy to make sure I’m prepared every time I leave the house, check my blood sugar before I drive, reorder prescriptions on schedule, analyze and address the data my continuous glucose monitor provides, change pump sites every 3 days, exercise regularly, and try to accurately estimate the number of carbs I’m eating all. the. time. Living well with type 1 diabetes is very possible with a bit of attention and effort. I’m so grateful for accessible, excellent health care and diabetes technology!
Friends, hear me on this. Whether you live near to or far from to your extended family, your relationships with them are important! We recently moved near my sister and her family, and strive to set aside time to nurture our relationship and friendship now that we’re in closer proximity. Conversely, we live pretty far from our parents and grandparents, so we see them less often, but stay in touch with phone calls, texts, cards, and trips to visit them!
Here’s where it gets tricky. We all make priorities. We all strive to respect our priorities by spending our time, energy and money on the things we’ve determined are most important to our families.
Here entails the decision of not trying to do it all. Like, on purpose. As in, my actual goal is not trying to do it all, and then reaching my goal and counting it as success.
We all have a limited amount of mental bandwidth. When our brains are full, something will have to fall to the wayside. My goal is to make those things non-essentials. I want to leave space for what matters.
In Psalm 34, there are some gems about how God takes care of us. Verse 1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all time; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Guess what happens when I let my mind and my schedule become overflowed with non-essentials? That’s right–It’s harder to continually praise and bless the Lord because I’m too busy trying to figure out logistics! Since one of my essentials is keeping my spiritual life in order, that tells me something else has got to go. Weed it out and don’t look back.
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them. O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.” Psalm 34:4, 7-9
What we read here is that God wants to bless us, not overwhelm us! He wants to take care of us and He wants us to want Him to rescue us!
These verses have been helpful to me in my quest to solely focus on what truly matters, and to live a more simple and intentional lifestyle. I find it easier to stick to a plan when it’s written down. I’ve already mentioned what my main focus priorities are. Here are some of my non-essentials, meaning I can take them or leave them, but never at the expense of my true priorities:
- Social media
- Social outings with friends
- Shoving my career into overdrive
- Watching TV
I would encourage you to make a list of your priorities, your non-negotiables! Then make a list of your non-essentials. Writing them down, naming them, makes them real. From that point on, as new opportunities come your way, measure their worth against your lists before committing to them.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5, 6
Gracia y paz,
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