Creating time for what really matters

Lately, y'all, I've been feeling so stretched thin and I've decided to make a change. I'm not going to sit here and write about our busy lifestyle because chances are, if you're breathing, you're busy. But, I am going to tell you what I'm doing about it.

Each morning when I get to work, I read two short devotions. They're both from publications our church gives and one particular morning a few weeks ago, both of my devotions were centered around time. I don't think it was a mistake either. I'd been feeling really stressed about how I was going to get all of this stuff done when I wanted to get it done and still have fun. And that morning, it stopped me in my tracks when I read about how what we spend most of our time doing shows us where are priorities are. Yes, I knew this, but for some reason, those words jumped out at me that morning.

If you know me in real life, you know that I like to do things. If there's a school party for the kids, sign me up. If it's a holiday, I'll bring the treats. If there's something we want to celebrate at work, I'll take care of it. It's my personality and it's just in my nature to do. I like to do. It gives me so much joy to do things for others, and most of the time, it's totally fun. But sometimes, I bite off more than I can chew (yes, honey, I'm admitting it!).

I also have a tendency to try to fit one million things in a small amount of time. For example, I think I can make it to a class at the gym, run a few miles, stick dinner in the crock pot and cook a homemade breakfast for my family all while making it to work on time a few mornings during the week. It doesn't work. I'm not super woman although sometimes I think I am. (I do have to chuckle when I think about this though - Kaden always wants grits and pancakes for breakfast. Every day. He loves them. One recent morning, I handed each he and K.C. a plate with pancakes on it and Kaden immediately asked for his grits which were still in the microwave. I laughed and said something like, "I'm getting them buddy. I'm not super girl, I only have two hands" to which he replied "but you are super." Things like this make my day!)

Most of my outside of work to-do list is comprised of self-imposed to-dos and many of those things don't really have to be done. I am your poster child for an over-achiever and I'm ok with that most of the time except when I feel like I'm doing too much stuff to really do those things that are important.

When I think about my life and those things that are most important to me, they are these things:
Those six things are what make me me. They're the things I live for, want to spend my time being with and doing and the things that matter most. When I'm stretched thin, I can't be the best for my people.

For myself, I've discovered that to be the best version of me I have to have time to run/sweat and I have to have time with the Lord because I just can't be the best me without Him. Unfortunately, the latter of those two things is often neglected and I have to do something about it.

I feel so convicted (not a word I usually use) about not spending time with my Savior as I should. I think about God, I whisper prayers throughout the day and we read a Bible story (usually Goliath because the boys are obsessed with this story) and say our prayers with the kids each night, but at the same time, I don't have that set aside time each day that is my God time and I know I need it.

I feel like this post keeps getting off topic as many of my posts do, but all of this is related I promise.

When I read the short devotions about time and how what we're devoting our time to show where our heart is, it made me think hard about some things:

While all these things are good, do you see what's missing? Set aside time with the Lord each day. When this immediately jumped out at me as I was reading, it stung. You see, it stung because I realize I go to great lengths to ensure that I can run at least five days a week. I go to great lengths to make sure my family gets (for the most part) real breakfast and not just cereal each morning. I go to great lengths to make sure I'm able to spend family time with my husband and kids each day and sacrifice sleep to pack lunches (with sandwiches often in the shape of dinosaurs or something from whatever holiday we're getting ready to celebrate) and get clothes ready for the next morning. I go to great lengths to do all these things (like M&M Halloween cookie jars) that don't really have to be done just so I can say "thank you." But I don't go to great lengths to spend time with my Lord every day. And I always blame it on the busyness of life or the fact that my eyelids shut the moment I get snuggled into bed at night.

And that had to change.

There are so many things in this world that I can't control no matter how hard my control-freak nature tries to control them. But there are two things I can do: pray and ask for guidance and read God's Word. As a wife and mother, one of the greatest things I can do is to pray for my husband and pray for my children for each and every aspect of their lives. If you haven't done this, I encourage you to. It'll take a load of worry off of your shoulders and give you a calm peace. 

I told my husband a few days ago that I'm officially slowing down. After having something nearly every night for about three weeks, we're entering into the busiest season of the year and I've decided to slow down. Sounds absurd, right? 

I'm going to be intentional about what I'm devoting my time to. It's already been an easier week for me and I'm enjoying it. I want to be able to run out at the last minute to shop for Christmas gifts, I want to be able to snuggle up at night and watch Frosty the Snowman, I want to be able to hop over to my parents or in-laws spontaneously and I want to be able to enjoy this season.

No, I'm not giving up running or making dinosaur sandwiches, but I am being more intentional about my time and what I sign up for. I want my kids to remember their childhood with playtime, free time and lots of giggles and love. I want my husband to have a wife who isn't stressed about making an absurd amount of treats. I'm not saying I don't want to go the extra mile because I do and I don't do anything halfway, but I'm not going to be the first to volunteer to pick up the cupcakes or take on an extra task. At this point in my life, the most important thing to me is my family and I want to be able to enjoy them fully all the time.

Here's what seems to be working for me, so far, a few days into this experiment:
So there you have it: my plan to slow down and soak in life. If you've been reading for a while, you may remember that my theme for this year is to soak it in. And that's just what I want to do for the last month and a half of this year.

What are your secrets to doing it all?

How do you manage your time?

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