Welcome to Day 5 in our Clutter-Free Challenge.
I’m so proud of all of you for signing up and making it through the first week.
Today, we are going to start looking at removing some of the clutter in our schedules. So let’s get started.
There’s nothing like a new year to bring hope and optimism into our hearts. This year, we promise ourselves, is the year we get our act together. This year we will get and stay organized, start exercising and lose weight! This year we will read the Bible completely through, make more time for family get-togethers, pray nightly with our children and have a date-night with our husbands. Certainly we are intelligent, competent women … we can do this … right?
But then January 15th rolls around, or February 15th, or if you are truly motivated you’ll make it to March, and then life overwhelms yet again. Sigh … it gets so tiresome to feel defeated.
I thought the problem was always me. I wasn’t self-disciplined enough, or I didn’t work smart enough. I’d tell myself I lacked perseverance, and didn’t have what it takes to stick with something. Basically, I’d beat myself up mentally and just give up feeling like a failure once again.
But then I learned this simple principle that changed the way I think: For every “yes” there has to be a “no.” Let me explain.
I can’t add something new to my schedule (like reading the Bible through in a year) without saying no to something else (like the morning news). You see, if I’m already feeling maxed out, how can I possibly add something to an overcrowded schedule? I only have so much time and energy. I can’t pretend that I can do everything, and just keep piling more on. That simply sets me up to fail. Some things have to go to make room for the new.
I imagine you’ve done the same thing. Most of us underestimate the amount of time things take. And we overestimate our uninterrupted time to accomplish them. I’m the queen of this. Here’s just one small example. I can never just run in and out of a store quickly, unlike my husband. If my husband says he’s going to the store for milk – he’s home in 15 minutes. That same trip will take me at least 30 minutes, and honestly, usually an hour. I have no explanation for this. My husband just rolls his eyes when I say I’m making a “quick” trip to the store. Everything just takes me longer.
That’s my reality. So, armed with the truths that for every yes we have to say no, and everything takes longer than we think, we are going to take a look at that master list of responsibilities you started a few days ago. I still don’t want you to worry about organizing it. Instead, can you identify which of those items are God’s priorities for you right now?
If that’s a hard question to answer, I understand. Sometimes we get so busy with “good” things, that we get confused with what God might really be asking us to do. You see, we can have schedules full of good things, but still be missing out on the best things. And by “best things” I mean God’s best for you at this time in your life.
When I get confused on my priorities, I ask myself some questions. Maybe these will help you too:
- What can only I do? (only I can take care of my health, be my children’s mother and my husband’s wife – among other things)
- What responsibilities has God already given me? (stewarding my faith, home, finances, talents, etc.)
- How well am I doing in those areas? (ouch … this one usually hurts)
- What has God asked me to do that I haven’t done yet? (ouch again …)
- What passion has God put in my heart? (for me that’s writing and ministering to women)
Once you are clear on your priorities … God’s priorities for you … then start to edit that list. I’m pretty sure there’s lots on that list you shouldn’t be doing. What can you remove? Is there anything …
- You don’t want to do any more,
- You don’t need to do anymore but it’s habit,
- God has clearly called you away from it but you haven’t made the break.
I’m not saying you should start indiscriminately slashing responsibilities from that list. Do NOT call your boss and say “Glynnis told me to quit!” Or email your women’s ministry director to resign from overseeing this year’s retreat. No, please don’t do that.
Instead, prayerfully consider if there might be responsibilities you need to resign from after fulfilling your commitment. Are there expectations you’ve put on yourself you can release? Are there tasks you can delegate to someone else?
Today is an editing day. Before we can find any freedom in our schedules, we have to de-clutter them. This is definitely a process – it can’t happen overnight. We have to trim our responsibilities down to a manageable level wisely. Then make sure we are only doing what God wants us to do.
I know this is a big task, which is why I’ve planned it for Friday. Take the weekend to pray about this, and really seek God’s will. Remember the lesson from Day 2? Ask God for wisdom and then trust that He will answer. Don’t doubt. On Monday we are going to deal with the rest of that master list. I’m going to share a new way to organize your to-do list that will increase your efficiency ten-fold.
Grace & Peace,
Heavenly Father, I pray for my friends today who are looking at an overwhelming list of tasks and responsibilities. Please show them Your will for them at this time in their lives. Give them Your discernment about what to edit from that list and when to do so. And I ask that You protect them from guilt over saying no, and fill them with Your confidence. Flood my friends hearts with Your supernatural peace throughout this process. In Jesus name, Amen
If you want more encouragement and tips on how to bring order to your mind, schedule and home, I hope you’ll consider purchasing my book, “I Used to Be So Organized.” It’s available through Proverbs 31 Ministries, Amazon, or wherever books are sold. Thank you.