Friday, January 11, 2013

De-Cluttering My Heart

Last night I looked back at my calendar for November and December - and I was a little dumbfounded. The mass of appointments and events made my head swim. I threw parties, traveled twice, babysat, wrote tons of blog posts, had meetings, phone dates, a big blog giveaway and event, hosted blog sponsors, bought presents, when to holiday parties, celebrated my son's first birthday, and more. The events in themselves weren't bad - it was just a lot.

I know that some seasons of life are busier than others, but the way I was living wasn't healthy. I was EXHAUSTED. I cried a lot, was short with my husband, and stayed up past midnight literally every single night. It was too much crammed into not enough time to do it all. (Or to do most of it well.)

You know what wasn't written on my calendar? Date nights. Quiet times with the Lord. A night out with my girlfriends. Family nights. Lazy movie nights. Time to just rest and re-charge.

A few weeks ago I knew that I needed to de-clutter my brain, and my heart. I needed to just pour all the busy out, and let God show me what was important. I wasn't sure how to do this. But out of nowhere (read: probably from the Lord), I had an idea. So I started writing, and this came out:

I blurred this out because some things are just for the Lord and my family :)

I basically mapped out my life. I wrote out all of my "roles and callings", like mom, wife, ministry worker, friend, church participant, online writer, etc. I wrote out some non-negotiables, like having quality time with my husband and son, keeping an ordered house (not spotless, just ordered), living out of my passions instead of obligation, etc. I listed what I know to be my spiritual and practical gifts, areas that bring me life, and even some of my future dreams. After about an hour of writing, I kind of saw "myself" on the page. Who I am. What I care about. People and causes that I am passionate about. I also asked the Lord for a few specific phrases and words, and I wrote those down as well.

After getting all of this out of my heart and mind and onto paper, I saw a few things. First, that I really do have specific callings from the Lord, and dreams He's put on my heart. Second, that I had shoved many of my non-negotiables below a whole lot of obligations - and myself and my family were reaping the negative fruit of that. I saw a few other things as well, which I'll keep just for me and the Lord :)

The main thing I learned from all of this: I need to constantly and continually go back to - what is the Lord asking me to do? Is this opportunity to do x, y, or z something that lines up with my passions and talents? Does this fit into my non-negotiables? Will this bless or take away from my family life? Will I feel empowered or refreshed as I do this, or obligated and exhausted? It's not that every single thing I do in life is happy and joyful (i.e. changing poopy diapers. I don't dream of Desitin). But even changing Nicholas' diapers is part of my calling to be a servant-hearted, loving mother. So I can do the hard stuff with joy.

So now when a new opportunity comes up, I read over this little sheet of paper. It's a sort of reference guide for me to remember what God has called me to, what is important to me in this season of life, and helps me to say yes or no. It helps me to more intentionally plan life for my family.

This isn't about boxing myself into a few categories onto a piece of paper; it's about the fact that embracing who God has made you to be, and then living out of that, brings freedom and life. I'm hoping that by saying yes to the right things, and saying no to the wrong things, I can be the most present daughter, wife, mom, friend, and servant I can be. I hope it means I will go to bed before midnight, and go on dates with my husband, and have ridiculous amounts of fun with Nicholas. I pray it means that I can serve the poor, encourage the new mom, and savor quiet moments with my Savior.

What brings you life? What are some of your non-negotiables? Do you need to re-arrange a few things so that you are living out of your God-given passions, instead of obligation?
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3 comments:

  1. a just adore all your posts, and you. i am so thankful that we met at influence! you are such an amazing women of the Lord and i pray that we are able to continue to get to know each other better! and i promise - i'm not a creeper, i just have a heart for women who have a strong heart for jesus and want to make his name known!

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  2. It can be so hard to determine when you're saying yes to the right things and no to the wrong things, especially when it comes to ministry (in my experience) but I love how you bathed your life/decisions in prayer and God is helping guide you to a place of passion and peace together :)

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  3. Thanks for sharing.. no Im not a mom yet, but this can but such a problem with me or anyone. Overloading and not knowing how to find balance. Thanks for sharing :)

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