If I’m being honest, just the mere thought of how this summer has gone causes my eyes to immediately well up with tears.
I posted this picture at the onset of summer break, my heart bursting at the possibilities of what this summer would mean for my relationship with my littles. I could not wait to dive into their hearts and spend the summer savoring them. The picture held this caption: “It’s crazy how the busyness of life can rob you of actually knowing the people you love the most.”
I was referring to the busyness of the school year and schedules and calendars and seemingly endless events that come to a beautiful screeching halt when summer begins. I was so excited for the busyness to end so that I could fill that space with those that I love most.
And yet, I just filled that space with more busyness.
It’s funny how simple boundaries and priorities are when they are merely hypothetical.
When real life happens and real decisions need to be made and you have to actually put those rules you gave yourself when you started all this into play, its no longer hypothetical and it is for sure no longer simple. And what you really need is someone reminding you that if you say yes to that thing, you are essentially saying no to something or someONE else.
Full disclosure here, with every single opportunity sent my way this summer, I never considered the boundaries I long ago put into place and if I did, I just blatantly ignored them.
My heart was for me. My heart was for the building of my kingdom. My filter through which to make business decisions (or any decisions really) had become so skewed and now consisted only of whether or not this thing/opportunity/project would benefit me. The filter was never “how does this decision affect my first priorities: my husband and my children?”
Know this, our priorities and our ability to manage all the roles we play will never be perfect. We will make mistakes, we will have busy seasons but having a consistent ideal of what we want our life to look like on a daily basis will serve us well. This summer was not my ideal. My daily rhythms did not represent my priorities and instead were a chaotic rush of my attempting to wear too many hats at one time.
And here is the grace. That God pursues our hearts and provides conviction when we miss it. And there will forever be a sweet opportunity to ask Him to turn our hearts to Him and to provide change.
Wisdom From A Mama
- Pray. When you begin sensing that your priorities are completely out of control, turn to God. Conviction is a gift. It reminds us that God is holy and we are not. It reminds us of our great need for Him alone. A great place to start would be to make time to read the Bible and begin asking Him to provide wisdom and discernment as you move forward.
- Talk About It. Talk to your spouse or a close friend. Let them in to the chaos. Most likely he/she is already aware because they have undoubtedly suffered at the hand of your poor decisions (speaking from experience), but verbalizing the problem is vital in moving forward towards a better way.
- Family Meeting. Take some time to define your priorities and then outline a few non-negotiable boundaries moving forward. Whether those are office hours, phone usage, even what your weekends will look like, this step is really important in putting a few boundaries in place to protect the crazy from happening again. This is the best time to address these issues, putting tangible steps into place to protect that which is most important to you because your heart is ripe, fully aware of the problem and desiring change.
- The List. Make a list of every single thing you currently have on your plate, every role you play. Then circle the items that only you can do. (i.e. YOU are the only one that can be a wife to your husband or mother to your kids.) Mark beside all items how much time each responsibility / role requires. Then be honest about how much time you actually have. And start crossing things off the list that do not line up with your priorities and personal/family mission.
- Filter the List. Every item that is left on the list must be filtered through the following questions:
- Will this responsibility/role/opportunity positively or negatively affect my top priorities?
- Does this responsibility/role/opportunity further my mission or hinder the work I feel called to?
- Be Courageous. When you filter a responsibility/role/opportunity through those filters and know in your heart it is not a good fit, have the courage to say no. Have the wisdom to trust that you, your business, your success, is not defined by those things and that ultimately God is the one who blesses the work and provides results.
- Grace. Know that the crazy will happen again. You are not perfect and neither is your life. No matter how perfect your boundaries and priorities and tangible steps you put into place, there will be a breakdown at some point. So give yourself grace, knowing that Jesus was perfect so you don’t have to be.
I would love to know what you think about all this too; especially if you have a bit of helpful advice for keeping those priorities in place.