A multi-tasking mess
"What I'm learning is that you have to stop doing a whole lot of things to learn what it is you really love, who it is you really are. Many of us go years and years without even asking these questions, because the lives we've fallen into have told us exactly who to be and what to love and what to give ourselves to." — Shauna Neiquest (Present over Perfect)
It is no secret that I love tasks. In fact, I recently did a spiritual gifts test and prided myself in confirming what I already knew, that administration was one of my top two "gifts".
You see, we are told in our culture that multi-tasking is a treasure, a way of life, a goal to be achieved (naturally by women, and not so naturally by men ;). We pretend to be the octopus with 3 hearts and 8 arms while we aim to take care of everyone and everything at the same time and that is not at all how we as humans, mothers and wives are created. As some of us may need to be reminded, we have 1 heart and 2 arms. When we try to do things out of our design, we discover an imbalance, at a cost.
The cost of family, faith and connection.
When I bog my calendar and day down with so many "tasks" my mind is constantly screaming orders and it blocks out my need to first and foremost focus my day on my Heavenly father, so He can ultimately lay out my calendar with His will and direction. I start to listen to the voices telling me to make breakfast, get the list of school books out, to harp orders at my kids to make sure they are getting their "tasks" complete, and then the errands, chores, and planning for holidays, events and occasions.
When your mind is so crammed with the weight of the stuff, you do not have the capacity in your mind, or your heart, to fully engage in the things in life that you are created to experience in a manner worth experiencing.
You were created to capture the heart of Jesus and to let it overflow in EVERYTHING you do.
We have been manufactured to want everything and more of it. We want the clean house, the well behaved kids, the home-cooked meals, the fun activities, all the friends, all the success and yet, what we are left with is exhaustion from trying to do it all.
I will give you a common scenario in my home. I will often try to cook breakfast, unload the dishwasher, do a pile of laundry, get the kids dressed, get myself dressed and catch up on email all in the 8 o'clock hour. BUT here is what happens. The kids don't eat breakfast because it is burnt. The dishwasher only gets half-way unloaded. Laundry gets thrown on a floor or a couch and the kids are forced to pick out their own outfits that make them appear as if they do not have a mother who teaches them how to match and dress themselves all because there is simply not enough time and I have tried to squeeze a list of 15 things into a short time span..
If I am constantly giving everything only 10% of my best efforts all the time, what value does that have in the end? On the opposite spectrum, if I can give my 5 top priorities my full attention at one point during the day I will have more accomplished and the most important people in my life will suffer less.
What does this look like?
It looks like sacrifice.
I may not have 15 things halfway done, BUT I will feel a sense of peace knowing that I have done the 5 most important things in my day well.
I could go on and on about the way I want things to go during the day. But this life is not just about me.
When I wake up I focus solely on my time with the Lord. I read my bible and do not think about my list and my worries. I set my heart on the Lord and then I am more surrendered to what He has for me and not what I can accomplish on my own.
When it is time for us to start our school day, I have learned that we get more accomplish when I sit with the kids and guide them and do school with them instead of telling them what to do and harping on them to focus. (Honestly, this is one I struggle with when I see the dishes need to be emptied and the glaring pile of laundry on the couch.) However, when I stay disciplined and focus on their learning, my children see it as a priority of learning and not just a burden or part of our to-do list for the day.
My kids are important, and homeschooling is a privilege I want my kids to appreciate. Therefore, I am getting more and more comfortable with the laundry piles that accumulate.
I have learned that one of the best things I can do when my husband gets home is smile. When he gets home, he doesn't want to come home to a stressed out, over exhausted wife who has been chasing her tail in circles all day over the never ending list of tasks. Some days are harder than others, but in general, I have control over what and who I exert my energy toward and my husband absolutely deserves my best in those few precious hours we get to see each other in a day.
A lot of this goes a long with the concept of having a schedule that I posted a while back. I love schedule's and think they are great, but with certain personalities it can make us more task minded instead of people minded. This is something I will tackle in my next post.
I love diving deeper into the description of the Proverbs 31 woman.
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." v. 26-17
She has dignity. Strength. She teaches in kindness (not harsh words or impatience). She looks WELL to the ways of her household (not carelessly or half-way). She is not idle, she tends to the hearts of the people in her home. How do I know that? Verse 28 says, "Her children rise up and call her blessed".
What will your kids to say about you when they are grown? This is a question I ask myself frequently.
For me, I need to focus more on Christ and how he loves me to keep my priorities straight so I can love others better and worry less about the tasks at hand. It goes against my grain. I struggle to my core with having a messy house 95% of the time, but in the grand scheme of things, the mess is not important.
We are showing Christ in a way that stretches beyond books, devotion time and church. You, as a parent and a wife are showing Christ to your family. That will stick with the most important people in your life more than reading a story or helping them memorize scripture.
What ways are you finding fulfillment as you discover ways to simplify and relish the richness of the day God has given you instead of packing it so full you go through the motions and the days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months and then you find yourself asking where the time went. Feel free to email me— firstname.lastname@example.org , or DM me at my Facebook account, or over on Instagram—@happylittlemessblog.
Let's constantly build each other up and encourage each other through scripture, resources and love. Our time here is short. Iron sharpens iron and I would LOVE, love, love to hear from you! Am I the only multi-tasking mess out there?
Have a wonderful week!