These past few weeks I have gone into a kind of hibernation to take care of my life which felt completely overwhelming. I thought to myself scattered days add up to scattered years. What a waste. I refuse to waste my story, solely because it is part of His story. God’s story of what He’s doing in this world. He made me and you for a purpose in it, and if we live scattered we miss that purpose. Am I being faithful to be who He made me to be, for Him? An older friend of mine said “Oh I’m so glad to be done with my 30’s. That is the decade of crazy.” So I’m a couple of months away from my 40’s and I’m determined not to live scattered anymore.
We are missing the mark for our lives living scattered. I’m convinced it is a sly disease of our culture that we have to recognize and slay in our lives. There is too much to be wasted. Life is for living, not surviving. Our kids need us, our friends need us, and God needs us to savor the moments and live them to the fullest we were designed to.
I’ve taken these past few weeks to think and narrow down what signifies a successful day for me and then I wrote those things in my calendar I still use a paper calendar for this stuff) See Ann Voskamp’s HERE.
For me, I feel successful if I carry out my work for my job, my work in my home, make a healthy dinner every night, have time to connect with my family, and go for a 20 minute run and get some time alone reading my Bible/journal/praying. So I wrote these in my calendar every day. Whatever time was leftover, was my time for other stuff.
I found I was spending time on things that drained me and didn’t fill me up. I allowed my days to be steered by things that popped up instead of me taking control and making sure the things I valued happened.
It’s been about a month since I intentionally made this change….and I LOVE IT. I sleep at night without stirring and worrying and getting up to write something down that I’ll forget. My patience for my kids and others has returned because I’m no longer mad at their requests for my time-snapping at them when my life felt like it had no room for their needs.
I’m convinced we are not supposed to live scattered. Our time becomes wasted, and He made us for more than that.
I know I’m a better mom, wife, and friend when I pull myself out of scattered running around. Maybe you can relate?
signs your life is too scattered
and you need change:
- Your kids know Kraft mac and cheese, frozen pizza, and In-and-Out Burger better than your recipes because meal times are always on the go or you don’t have time to put something decent together way too regularly.
- You lay in bed at night exhausted, but your brain won’t start thinking and your heart won’t slow down thinking of 1000 things.
- You rarely go outside for walks or exercise to breath in fresh air and enjoy the beauty.
- You snap at your husband, kids, and everyone else you love because your just irritated half the time at creation and all things in it
- You speak to your children in directives and correction most of the time, instead of conversation and dialogue. You say hurry up a lot.
- You are not really fun to live with.
- You don’t have time to do the things you enjoy. You take care of everything and everyone else, except yourself.
There has to be a way to wear the hats, yet enjoy my life without feeling drained. I’ve come up with some rules for myself so I can savor the moments, not blow through them in a flurry of hurry.
How to Create an UnScattered Life
1. Make a plan. Write down your main areas of responsibility. Mine are home, work, and meals, exercise, family time, quiet time. For you it might be home, homeschooling, meals, coaching, friends. Whatever are your main things that define quality of life for you. As you look at your week, write everything on one sheet of paper where you can see the whole week at a glance. I love ANN VOSKAMP’S weekly planner (check it out here).
2. If you need more help getting started, I recommend The Fringe Hours Book!!
3. Write down areas of chaos in your life. Is it the guest bedroom with a closet full of stuff you need to post on Craigslist? Is it a master bedroom that needs to be cleaned out so you can have a place of peace? Do you waste your time doing things that are not on your “this makes me feel fulfilled” list? Are you checking your phone multiple times an hour, scrolling updates about what people ate or can you set a boundary to only do this once kids are asleep or on your lunch break?
4. For some of you, you have children. Perhaps some of you are frustrated at the way your kids spend their time. Too much video games. Too much technology. Too much sitting around doing nothing. I know this brings me chaos. Here is the solution. Be the adult and take it away. Be the adult and provide alternative activities. Each afternoon I tell my kids to go outside and I leave them there. They do all kinds of things like hitting golf balls into the trampoline, digging holes, getting the magnifying glass and looking at rollie pollies. They tow each other on the skateboards and shoot basketballs into pails and keep score.
An older woman I know had 4 boys. They all ended up being doctors. She was asked how that happened. Her answer? I made sure they had lots of opportunity to be creative and be outside. If nothing else, I would tell them to go outside and just throw the ball around. They learned the world was as big as their imaginations, and that they could build a lot. It started with legos and tepees, and ended up with solving more complex problems that they weren’t afraid of because they were creative.
Train them to like other things by continually exposing them to healthy activities. They will learn to like them. Set some boundaries to protect what is meaningful in your life, AND THEIRS. God needs you to be present in your moments and to make sure your children’s moments are protected as well. Until they are able to do so for themselves, you need to be the adult and do it for them. They learn from you. So don’t complain, do something to protect them.
“Be careful then how you live-not as unwise, but as wise…” Ephesians 5:15
It’s up to you to get control of your life, and your kids life. Cut out the things that are meaningless and zap the savoring of life’s moments. On to living them. Cheers my friend.