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.

 

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.

A Quiet Life

…let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (I Peter 3:4)

Paul also urged prayer “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…” (I Timothy 2:2-3).

What is a quiet life? If it pleases God, let’s seek that out and work toward having one!

The idea behind the words here is tranquil, defined by Webster’s as “free from agitation of mind or spirit…disturbance or turmoil.” Murray Harris noted on the word quiet in 1 Peter 3:4 — “a spirit which calmly bears the disturbances created by others and which itself does not create disturbances” (The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3:112).

When you look at your life, do you see quiet or turmoil? Are you handling the chaos around you calmly or creating even more? Many things make a difference on that, but let’s look at just a few.

  • First taking the time and making the effort to quiet your heart as you rest in the God Who is Enough and lean on His understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) will set the right tone in every other area.
  • Doing a quick check of your schedule and workload to see what may be hurting your health will help also. The recent book Refresh does a great job of walking you through that process.
  • I Thessalonians 4:11 brings in the concept of minding our own work to the need to live quietly. Would a focus on our own responsibilities, while letting go of what isn’t our concern, help with getting rid of some agitation? It is so easy to be distracted, but the cost is high.
    Proverbs 31:27 also contrasts idleness with looking well to the ways of the household. Working when we should, at the right time, helps with keeping things on track and calm.
  • A calendar that you manage well will help a lot with a quiet day. Staying on task and doing what needs to be done will give you quiet progress. Not knowing what all should be done and always reacting to anything that happens by will create turmoil and overload your mind as you keep trying to keep up in the dark.

What have you found helpful as you quiet your heart and home?

Where Are You Going?

Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure. Proverbs 4:26

Where are you going today? Are you walking aimlessly, or have you planned out the direction for your day?

Have you taken a few minutes to set your mind on your purpose?

Do your plans, first of all, express love for God and then also reflect love for your neighbor as you walk through the day?

Did you look at your calendar and to-do list before starting the day, to make sure your priorities were mapped out?

Are you proactively walking in obedience to God and guarding your heart and home from evil, or are you constantly zig-zagging as you react to all the demands and distractions that come at you?

Have you looked to God’s Word for direction or are you leaning on your own understanding?

Where are you walking today?