Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Mailbox Question: How do you do it all??

One of the most frequent questions I receive is...,

"Cindy, how do you do it? You're married, have 4 kids, a speaking ministry, write a blog, lead a Bible study, etc... How do you do it all??".

My answer is simple ~ I don't.

Whereas it is true I am married, have 4 awesome kids, love speaking and sharing what God has done in my life, and enjoy all of the great friends I've made on my blog *She Sparkles* ~ the truth is that are a lot of things I don't do.

In fact, here are some of the things I've learned about trying to do it all....

1. "Trying to do it all" doesn't work.

For many, many years I tried to do it all. In my life before Christ, I tried to be...

Super Employee (i.e. workaholic).
Super Thin (i.e. eating disorder).
Super Mom (I was a single mom, it was a ton of work and I never slept!).
Super Perfectly Clean and Organized Home Owner.

It was empty and defeated living.

My search for perfection led me down a path of horribly unhealthy, self-defeating behaviors, and eventually almost cost me my life (literally ~ you can read more here). I am committed to never going back to being Super Woman!!

2. Know your Purpose

I now try to live very intentionally each and every day (while still having a lot of fun along the way)!! :) I spent time each season reflecting on my purpose, and try to make daily choices reflecting those decisions.

3. Prioritize your Time

On my quest for intentional, purposeful living, I have learned it is crucial to prioritize my days. Am I the only one that can turn on the computer to send a quick note, and realize 2 hours later that I forgot what I went to the computer to do?? Ahhh!!

I spent time each morning reflecting on my priorities ~ and then plan my day accordingly. Unfortunately, it also means I must say NO to a lot of things. For this season, I am choosing to not watch TV. I will never be known for my gardening skills. When friends come over, I usually feed them ice cream, tacos or pizza (I'm not kidding). I haven't been to the mall in months.

I'm learning I must say NO to good things in order to say YES to God's best.

Of course, this isn't always easy. Just this past weekend, a wonderfully talented woman I met at the Speaker's Conference asked me to go to dinner Friday night. I would have loved to spend more time with her! But in my heart, I knew my purpose and priority of wife and mom must come first.

Instead, I spent the night playing kickball with my family and enjoying ice cream on our deck. I trust God will allow me to spend time with this dear woman another time (even though she lives in VA!). Saying NO to good things isn't easy, but I truly believe God will bless our desire to keep our priorities in line.

4. Ask for Help

Asking for help has been the hardest, yet most healthy thing I've learned on my quest for sane, whole living. Here are some "helps" I currently have in place ~

* I've been blessed with a prayer team that lifts my family and all my speaking engagements in prayer.

* I have a college girl that comes over once a week (for the whole day - yippee!) so I can pray, study and write.

* My mom and mother-in-law frequently feed us on Bible study nights.

* I have a cleaning service (and they drive a car that lets the whole neighborhood know when they are over!!!). No secrets here!

* My husband John does all of our laundry. (bless you, honey!)

There is no way I could keep the full schedule I maintain without help from my family and friends!

Isn't it freeing to not have to pretend that we are capable of doing it all?? I love just being ME (the non-gardener, pizza buying ME), and I sure sleep much better these days!

Please know I do not have it all figured out! I'm on a journey, just like you. But the more we can be honest and realistic about what we are capable of doing (and what our floors really look like most days), the more we can free each other from trying to be perfect!! Life's too challenging on its own, much less pretending that we have it altogether, don't you think??

I love how Beth Moore puts it ~ We can't do all things for the Glory of God. How true!!

So, what has God called you to do?? Speak? Write? Be a Mom? Work outside the home? Be a Grandma?? What healthy habits have you put into place to live a healthy, full life?? Are there things God is asking you to let go of while you pursue His purpose for you?? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Share with us please!!

May God guide you as you prioritize your days, may He help you say NO to good things and YES to the best, and fill you with an abundance of His peace and joy as you pursue His purpose for your life!!

God's richest blessings to you~


Melanie said...

Thank you for this post. It really touched my heart because I struggle SO much with this... I want to have the perfectly clean and tidy house, spend tons of quality time with my kids, be super-employee at work, and I just can't do it all.... I pray for His strength and grace. I would appreciate your prayers. When you asked what God has called each of us to be.... I honestly don't know. I am longing for His direction and to hear His voice. Sometimes, I think I get so busy in the chaos of my daily life that I can't hear it.

~ ~

Christina Ketchum said...

I needed to read this!!! Thank you!!!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

All great advice, Cindy! Especially the part about saying no to good things so we can say yes to God things! Love your heart!

Beth in NC said...

Wonderful advice Cindy. I think I need to go back and read again.

Thanks for visiting me.


Art From My Table said...

I love this post cindy! I recently learned from my older sister how much help my mom had. She is 9 years older than me, so she remembers alot more about those earlier years. I remember having a cleaning lady. But my sister also said, my mom had someone that did the laundry, and someone that came over after school to help with the kids, and a couple other things that are escaping me at the moment. I found it quite comforting. She was a stay at home mom like me. And for some reason there is this expectation when you are a stay at home mom to have a perfect house, perfect kids, laundry done, meals on the table every night, driving kids to different sports, and don't forget to teach them about God along the way! Yes, I know that should be first, and I strive for that. I just find some of the other things feel urgent in the moment. I'm not sure who puts the pressure/expectation on us, society or ourselves. But you and I both know these are not realistic expectations for the stay at home mom, or otherwise! I love how you simplified this, gave a nice checklist, and I agree the hardest is saying no to good things.

Maurie@GraciousInteriors.blogspot said...

Sparkling Cindy, This post was for me. After the Speak Up conference my take action list was so long, I wondered how I would get to everything. But, your nudge to get up and prioritize each day and let the rest go was what I needed to hear. Thanks for joining my blog followers list. I have so much to learn about the blogosphere. After reading your post, I also plan to set a timer to set boundaries on my efforts. Blessings and thanks for your blog today.

Sarah said...

I love this post ... Not trying to do it all anymore.

And thanks for doing the happy dance with me.

Happy day,

Anonymous said...

Cindy, I so love your open, honest ways! The Lord speaks and encourages me through you so often. This is definitely a struggle in my life. Thank you for this!!! Love you, Jenny C.

Rachel @ Finding Joy said...

Excellent post!

As a homeschooling mother of seven I get asked that question all the time. It's not me. If I try to do life on my own strength then I become overwhelmed and exasperated. It's when I prioritize and submit to His greater plan -- that's when I do what I do.

LOVE YOUR BLOG. I will be back.

Have a wonderful Tuesday.


barefootoffering said...

You capsulized one of the biggest lessons I learned while at Speak Up. The April Amplified version reads, "O Daughter of Viginia, get it together! Your season is here. My biggest and best blessings are ready to is Spring!"

And P.S. God does not see state lines. Amen?

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