By Marci Seither, Contributing Writer
I am a list maker. It is part of my hard wired genetic code. Anyone who has ever looked in my purse, book bag, on my nightstand, next to my desk, or in the pocket of the last coat I wore, can see that I am always jotting down what needs to be done. I usually underline, number, and put stars in front of multiple items with the optimistic hope that most will be checked off by the end of the day. That rarely happens.
When the New Year kicks off, I have great ambition and renewed expectation for all that I will get accomplished in the next 365 days. My lists are compiled, some on index cards, some on wipe-off boards the size of a commercial refrigerator.
For the last several years, I feel like I been living in “Reactive” mode, verses “Proactive” mode.
Besides the usual mountain of laundry, endless activities, and busyness of having a large family, we have had several graduations, a couple of weddings, a grand baby, book launches, and Kickstarter campaigns. It has been a wild ride of excitement and lots of, you guessed it, endless LISTS.
This year I decided I was done. Really done. I needed to make a drastic and conscientious decision to take control of my schedule, my life, and my lists.
I usually pick a word for the year. This year, I chose FOCUS.
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought into focus.” Alexander Graham Bell
Instead of a list that is long enough to tee-pee a suburban neighborhood, I am going to focus on the task at hand. One task at a time.
While saying “No” to toddlers and is part of daily vocabulary, saying “No” to ourselves can be difficult. Moms are capable of doing a lot of different things at once and often fill a variety of roles. It seemed that every time I took something off my list, two more things filled the spot. It was hard to not say “Yes” to good things, especially if someone needed my help, but even good things can squeeze out the great things. I needed to evaluate what I was really having to give up to “make it work” such as time with my family, devotion time, or even being able to go to sleep without my mind racing about what I needed to do the following day. I needed to regain my footing, find a healthier balance, and focus on the things that were important rather than react to the ones that were urgent.
You can do anything, you just can’t do everything.
I decided to not take on any new project until I finished the ones on my list. I stepped out of choir for a few weeks, cancelled going to Toastmasters, avoided scheduling a craft day with other moms, and postponed a few writing projects.
So far it has been refreshing. I have been focusing on the tasks I have on my list and get them checked off, one by one. If feel like I am in control of my list and not the other way around.
As moms, I think it is important to remember we need time to breathe and focus. We feel the weight of raising children, caring for a home, and being the woman that God created us to be, yet how often do we find ourselves exhausted to the point of tears?
I can’t do it all. We can’t do it all. The Lord knows that and wants you to focus on what is important and trust Him with whatever you have going on, everything on your list.
“You will keep in perfect peace Him whose mind is steadfast, because He trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3