Share the Joy

Remember when we talked about pruning your to-do list? Well, there is another way to keep your task load in good shape.

Keep in mind that responsibility doesn’t always mean doing it with your own hands.

  • If your time can be better spent elsewhere and your budget allows, use a grocery pick service or even delivery service.
  • You may like how your dishwasher loading system works, but would your call to love your children include training them in that particular chore and responsibility?

An excellent help in looking for delegation opportunities can be found in your husband and/or your boss. Taking a step back and getting a wider view can make a big change in your perspective. They see what you can’t, right in the middle of each day.

  • If your husband values your time more than a cooked-from-scratch meal (and, again, your budget allows), perhaps sandwiches or (relatively) healthy takeout should be in the weekly meal plan more often. A walk together before dinner might be a better use of your time.
  • Are you spending a large percentage of your day doing something that is really someone else’s responsibility or could be easily transferred? Check. Your boss may rather you do what only you can do. You may add more value and more excellent work by eliminating that task from your list.

Delegation can be good, not an automatic failure. Yes, this can take an investment in money or training, but the goal would be one less task for your every day and time freed up for what is most valuable and can serve God best with your time.

Cut It Loose

A to-do list can be a great tool. But like every great tool, it’s not magic. It does take skill to use and maintain excellent tools. How can we hone our skill set with this tool?

One way is pruning. When you look at your to-do list, if it doesn’t fit with your priorities, both daily and ultimate, and is not reasonable for the day or current situation, cut it loose. Chop it off. Let it go.

This will help keep you on point, staying on the path to which you have been called. Paying attention to your priorities in the little, daily tasks will help you as you make the best use of your time each day. There are many good things, but you cannot do EVERY good thing. Examine your list and make sure you are doing what is best.

If you have 12 things on your list, review them to see if some really don’t reflect love for God or for your neighbor or help you do either of those things.

  • Did you write it down initially because it sounded cool, but now you’re really not sure why it would be good to do? Cross it off and move on.
  • Are you adding items to make you feel productive or important? “Look how long my list is. I’m irreplaceable.” Let’s go back to your identity as a child of God only by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-10). Test your list in light of that truth.
  • Does your day look like everyone else’s because you feel you need to go with the flow? Just because a friend or even a reality TV star arranges fresh flowers for her home everyday, doesn’t mean that you must. (Your allergy-prone friend might even thank you for not!) Just because your neighbor does it, doesn’t mean you have to. You answer to God for your time and she for hers, and you can both hear “Well done” with task lists that don’t match. If there is no value other than peer pressure, get rid of it.

Pruning will also help you stop sabotaging yourself. Often we hang on to things that we will never actually do (and shouldn’t necessarily do) and repeat the failure loop. Set yourself up for success, true success. Bring glory to God in all that you do.

 

Consider: Spiritual Mothering

The idea of mentoring can be scary and intimidating, but those of us who have experienced it walk away knowing the great benefit! Below is an encouragement from Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt:

The eighteenth century poet and historian, Matthew Arnold, said: “If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely and simply for the benefit and good of mankind, it will be a power such as the world has never seen.” I agree. But the problem is that women will never come together purely and simply for the benefit and good of others because of the self-centeredness of our sin nature. The what’s-in-it-for-me mentality forbids such selflessness. However, Christian women, because of the power of grace, can overcome their self-centeredness. Christian women can manifest the other-centered virtues that characterize spiritual mothering. In fact, I would restate Matthew Arnold in this way: If ever the world sees a time when Christian women shall come together purely and simply to encourage and equip other women to live for God’s glory, it will be a power such as the world has never seen.

These books are only set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.

Unpleasant Duties

“Disorganization, procrastination, addiction to technology, or refusal to do unpleasant duties tends to stress us more than diligence, organization, decisiveness, or self-denial.”

Reset by David Murray has a good point here. Are we shooting ourselves in the foot sometimes? Putting off things we need to do, leaving the mess because it’s overwhelming, not mopping the floor for a month because we really hate it?

Most of us would agree that we don’t like stress and its effects on us. We’ve even heard, and tried to ignore, the health horror stories of how stress makes you sick over time.

BUT

Has that made a difference in how we tackle life?

  • Making an hour to plan out two weeks of meals will cut out the daily stress of answering “What’s for dinner?” with “I have no idea!” for a beautiful 14 days.
  • Creating a cleaning routine and racing yourself to finish the daily section will take the stress out of housework piling up and add a little bit of fun to your day.
  • Going to the grocery stores for the main shopping with a list and a plan saves time and constant decisions in the store.
  • Biting the bullet and cleaning out that closet you try not to see will give you access to storage and a more peaceful environment. Then you can exercise tiny bits of effort to maintain the order and hold off the chaos from coming back.
  • Having a current to-do list and calendar keeps the day on track and gives you the comfort of knowing where you are going and what you truly need to do.

Just one of these steps will help you and your stress level and the peace of your household. It will take some effort up front, but that work will pay off over and over after that.

Keepin’ It Happy

We talk often about loving God and loving our neighbor. Today let’s talk about a specific neighbor — your husband. If you have one, loving him is a priority given to you. If you do not have one, you love your neighbors by encouraging those who are married to love their husbands well.

This love is shown in so many ways, every day, but today I’ll address one aspect only: love him by expressing how special he is to you.

Make a special time together. Remember how exciting it was to go on a date back when your lives weren’t completely entwined? You can’t go back, but you can still keep the spirit of that excitement alive in other ways. Even if family schedules are busy, you can make time for a shared interest weekly or monthly, or you can take 5-10 minutes to share undivided attention each day. Maybe a date night is part of your routine. Don’t let those just become a frantic trips to Sam’s Club with drive-thru on the way home. A little bit of lipstick and clean clothes goes a long way. Showing by your demeanor that the time is special, dedicated to your marriage, is important. We often need the concrete signals for both ourselves and the ones we are honoring.

Play with each other. In a good marriage, there’s no one else in the world with whom you can be quite as relaxed. Keep that fresh. Some times that may take effort, but it will be worth it. Take a deep breath, shake off the tension of the day, smile and then laugh! Laughter is good medicine, for your heart and your marriage. When the giggling and goofing off comes easily, treasure it.

I’ll admit, I was surprised at the bond that was created after our wedding by the times of joking or laughing with my husband. It is a benefit that can easily fall to the wayside in times of stress or too much routine, but don’t let it get left behind. The strength of your bond will help you through hard times, but it needs refreshing as you go.