Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Startling Discovery

"I can't do it all."

So what is so surprising about that? I know as well as anyone that I can't do everything.

But I don't live like I believe it.

I end every day in frustration on how many things are still undone. Never do I accomplish everything that I thought was possible in the morning.

I finally came to realize that I can only do one or two, maybe on a good day, three things in a day.

If I have a big project like applesauce, it is really hard to squeeze school in also.

If I have a great day of school, supper will probably be simple. (So thankful that Ed loves toasted cheese, bacon and tomato sandwiches!)

Maybe we get homeschooling and baking done - but the house will probably be a disaster.

Or if the house is clean, my children would have dealt with a mother completely lacking the "meek and quiet spirit" and more on the line of a drill sargent.

On the rare day that we seem to accomplish a lot, maybe the children were super helpful, before I can put on my super woman cape, I find laundry forgotten in the washing machine, or a phone call, that I had to make today, that completely slipped my mind.

And I am beating myself up again over how much I let undone.

I don't really truly believe that "I can't do it all". I keep thinking that after canning is over, and I finish some sewing projects, then, life will slow down and I'll have time for everything.

Or maybe I search for one more tip on time efficiency,  one more home organization gizmo, that will magically give me time to do everything.

It is a lie. I already have far too many interests, projects, and plain old work for several lifetimes.

I can't do it all. 

Last week found me battling back pain that put me on the couch. But, of course, I wouldn't stop. I hobbled through the day, and drove us all crazy.

Attempting super woman status isn't good for my health. I was far closer to total burn-out than I ever what to be ever again. Couldn't I take a hint from God that it is time to slow down and not try to do it all?

I'm not sure how to break a mindset where success is found in accomplishment. Not sure how to order my days to deliberately accomplish the most important, and blow off the chaff. Not at all sure where blogging fits in the equation.

I've been reading through some of the Christ's healings in the Gospels. I have faith to believe that an overwrought mom can be a recipient of the Master's healing touch. Not just from back pain (which is much improved) but in wrong thinking.

Maybe the first thing I need to do is dig out my neglected gratitude journal and start looking for blessings.

Because God IS good. I have just been too distracted to notice.

32 comments :

  1. Gina,

    I really understand how you feel. :)

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  2. It is hard to be a perfectionist. I am living proof! I too have been down for over a week now, with too low a blood count and blood pressure. Why? Looking after everyone but me. Can't do it all, but all will get done.....someday!

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  3. Bless your heart, I know EXACTLY how you feel! Every word you wrote in this post is what I go through every day.
    I've not had to work since I got pregnant with our youngest, who is now 12, and I've always been of the mindset that it's MY responsibility to make sure the house is clean, laundry done, meals cooked, etc. My husband used to get aggravated with me because I wouldn't ask for help. I did, it's just that a couple of the kids would roll their eyes and that was it for me. It was hard for me because I'm in pain all the time (fibromyalgia, I think), and some days I just can't do much.
    As moms we tell ourselves that we CAN do it all, no matter if we're in pain, not feeling good, stressed, and we push until we can't go any further and you're right, it's not good for our health.
    I'm trying very hard to put my house first and not spend so much time on the computer, or whatever else I'd rather be doing. Get what I need to do finished and THEN do what I want.
    It's a work in progress, and breaking bad habits is hard. I think maybe I need to look to God for guidance since obviously my way hasn't been working! :)
    Thanks for this post. I really needed to read this.
    Hope you're back is better and YOU are feeling better. Your posts are always such a blessing. :)

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  4. Gina, know that you are not alone. I constantly have the thought that if I could just get organized THEN I could get it all done. It is just so hard to prioritize, and just when I think I've got it something else looks more important. I'm praying that all moms everywhere will cut themselves some slack, enjoy their children while they have them, and concentrate on things that God would have us do and those things only :-)

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  5. I know what you mean. But, when you do get it all done, caught up, taken care of, guess what, there is some more to do somewhere else! LOL! So just work hard and don't fret over other things. I think Elizabeth Elliot said it best, "do the next thing".

    Hugs.

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  6. Oooooh. I need to give you back your book!! *L* I remember reading that God only requires us to accomplish what He wants us to accomplish in any given time period. He also gives us the strength and time to accomplish what He wants us to accomplish.

    So - the trick is learning to discern what God wants us to accomplish.

    When you have that part of the problem figured out, let me know!! That is where I get so stuck. What exactly am I supposed to get done today????

    And I, too, have trouble with how I "grade" my days. I say that the more I get accomplished, the better the day was. I'm sure God doesn't look at it that way.

    But, again, for me - I have to consciously put aside my agenda and seek His agenda. Which I often fail to do. And of course, it seems like I don't realize it until bedtime!

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  7. . . . and on top of it all you are now the pastor's wife???? Take it easy on yourself. ~Liz

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  8. Gina...I totally relate to your post. I believe the Lord wants us to DO WHAT WE CAN and not stress over what we CAN'T. This is something he has been teaching me since my husband and I separated nearly 3 hours ago. I can't do it all..it's impossible. and it's OK to do what I can and be pleased and not guilty. Condemnation doesn't come from Him...let us be reminded of that truth and live joyfully in our busy and productive lives for the days are long but the years short! {{{hugs}}}

    Julia, in New Zealand

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  9. Totally! Gina you've hit it on the head for so many of us. I keep the scripture running through my head, "seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and all these things will be added unto you." So for me, I stop worrying about the things that earn me a little pocket money (that make a huge difference to our grocery bills) or things that I want to do for my own sanity and interest.
    Priority number one. God, Yourself, Husband, Children and our basic spiritual and physical needs.
    Everything else will fall in line.

    Gina, why don't you ask someone for help?! Your sister to help with the applesauce day to make things quicker or ask another home schooler to combine kids for one day a week, then you swap. Giving that break you need without loosing an education day. :o) just some ideas.

    xxxxxx

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  10. Don't I know all about it!! I have finally learned that at the end of the day, if all I did was feed my family and wash their clothes, and wipe a runny nose, I DID accomplish something! I was being a home maker and blessing my family and right now, that is where God wants me and I did His will. I have tried to get over the mindset that if I don't have anything to show for my day, it was a wasted day. But oh, how great a feeling it was too get that half a bushel of pears canned today!! I accomplished a LOT :) I keep reminding myself that years down the road, when I have all day to do anything I want, I will probably be longing for a two year old in my house again! So when I see smeary hand prints over the windows-and baskets of wash to fold, I try to see them as roses!

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  11. Christi's comment reminded me of Karen Andreola saying (In a Charlotte Mason Companion) about calmly going about the next thing. I don't have the words exactly right - but that's the jist.

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  12. Hi Gina,

    I really loved your post today! I along with almost all Moms struggle with that exact issue. I think back to my Grandparents and beyond and know they had it 100% harder, yet they never stopped. How did they do it?

    You all have a wonderful day tomorrow and enjoy the "little things".

    Blessings

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  13. Gina! I am praying for you out in CA. I want you to know that you described me almost perfectly! But, I don't want to leave it with that thought. I know too many times when I have been struggling with things others, with good intentions, have told me things that just made me feel that I was "normal.". It is normal, BUT, such a struggle! The Lord sees your heart, your situation, your desire to serve your family and be sweet all the while! He can give you what you need to get done what needs to be done! Praise God for your husband being so sweet. I have a sweet one myself an have heard many tough stories that bring tears to my eyes for so many women. All of those books that are encouraging and full of tricks and help can be nice at times. Lately, I am finding that they all seem to raise my own expectations to a level beyond my duty. I have found that finding the help and inspiration in Gods Word meets my need each and every time!!!! Hang in there and I appreciate your honesty!!

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  14. I remember reading a book by Leslie Parrot where she talked about how women are fulfilled by relationships. The more we try to run on checklists for our lives the more unhappy and unfulfilled we are.

    I am sorry you've been having that never catch up feeling. But I am thankful for the reminder, that I am made for relationships and not for accomplishing things.

    God is good and I need to remember to breath.

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  15. Such a great post after I had been missing you for a few days. We have not been blessed with children (yet) but I do care for a child in my home. I know exactly what you're saying! My mom just went home from her yearly visit with us, and over the course of the few months she was here, she would make comments that made me question whether I am a good wife or not. Simple requests that I asked my husband to do to help out around the apartment (like sweep or vacuum) she didn't think he should have to do. "He works hard every day," she would say. But he agrees with me that he lives here too, and he can do some things sometimes. I am also blessed with a good husband! I, too, fall into the "life will slow down someday" mindset far too often. Unfortunately, it may not slow in the way we expect. Thanks for the reminder that we can't do everything all the time, and that it's ok. The important things will always get done, and He will never give us more than He will help us handle. Take it easy for a while - kids love to play grown up and be "in charge". Back problems are no fun, so rest and let Him restore you.

    So glad you were able to post today! :-)
    Alicia

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  16. I try to prioritize based on what I'm likely to remember in 10 or 20 years. I know I'll remember the sweetness of drawing with a little one. I'm hoping I'll have blocked out the hideous mess that is my house!
    It's so hard to balance cherishing your children with respecting your husband's need for an orderly home and a decent meal every now and then. And on top of that, feeling like a failure compared to all the other "got it all done, how about you?" blogs out there.
    I love your posts and always look forward to the next one, but your blogging audience comes last if you're feeling overwhelmed. Don't worry, we'll wait! You're too fun to give up.

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  17. I smile as I see how many of us relate to you. I know sometimes I have to remember through out the day just to stop and have some quite time with our Lord, that seems to quite my spirit.
    Remember God has you under His wings, so just snuggle down in there and He will give you strength.
    God bless, and thank you for your wonderful blog, I have gotten so many ideas from it.
    Jeanna

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  18. Thank you! We've never met, but I follow your blog ~ intermittently, lol. Glad I read this one! I needed this, and I have an online friend (I've never met in person either), who I sensed would be blessed by reading it as well. So thank you again...I'm busy but in a different way, as our children are grown and have children of their own, all blessings from the Lord.

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  19. Continue having that faith that God can heal you- because He can. He healed me and He can heal you. On my search of healing (from leukemia) the one thing that repeats itself in Scripture are the words ..your faith has healed you. Jesus Himself said it to the woman who just wanted to touch His cloak.

    Keep believing..
    and take care of you..
    Tammy

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  20. Sorry you've been having a rough time. I can relate in a lot of ways. So many days I just wonder exactly WHAT I'm supposed to do, and HOW I'm supposed to do it. I mean I know my children need me, and they are more important that my house work. But how do I fit home schooling in. AND make healthy home made food... keep the laundry done, the house out of disaster status, AND get enough rest so that I'm a happy wife and Mother. I ENJOY doing all the things I do... I just don't know what I can possibly not do, but also know I can't do everything...UGH! I just keep plugging along. Asking for lots of grace, relying on God for strength, and hope it'll all turn out okay in the end.

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  21. Gina,
    The most Important Love God 1st, 2nd Love your Husband, 3rd Love your kids and all the rest just pick like you said 2 or 3 things that day.
    I too feel that its in the number of accomplishments the things seen that I felt I had a good day. All the unseen things God see's, try writing down them, like tied a shoe hugged .......ect you might be surprised at all you accomplishments:)
    I got to a point were if I had to buy a loaf of bread for a week to take a break to catch up on something else it is ok. Also went threw a time were I stayed of the computer I call the computer a time stealer :) Your children are little only so long and then this precious stage will pass you buy enjoy it! As others have said " Do the Next thing when you feel overwhelmed, give God your to do list and ask Him what his is.
    I love your sight, your a great Mom, and wife. And as another wife to a pastor's wife, I'm still me, just be you.
    in Jesus
    Sharlene

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  22. Thank you for giving my own feelings a voice. I can empathize with you. My only hope is to prioritize and then I never seem to get to the bottom of that list, but maybe I wasn't meant to get there since at the bottom of the list are things we could do without anyway, but would be nice. I'm always telling myself that when I retire I'll have the time to do all the things I LIKE to do, but in reality... even in retirement it will still be busy (or may be too old to care anymore), there will still be all the chores to do. I don't hate work, I just wish I had a little time for doing the things I LIKE most of all.

    Hope you get near the bottom of the list today.

    God Bless.

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  23. I have a post in que ready to be posted saying much the same thing. I have found doing my 12 goals for the week helps me tremendously. I am at least getting a few more things done than before and I am keeping the most important things in perspective and I also have a newer homeschool plan that has worked effectively this week anyway. You do a lot but I know that we all need to slow down and listen to God's still small voice.

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  24. As so many have already said, "You've described me perfectly!"

    I know exactly where you are coming from - and I know how hard this struggle is! I often think, "In 20 years what will my children remember most? A crabby mom (because her 'to do' list wasn't getting done) or will they have fond memories of a mom who took the extra time to nurture them and raise them to be 'like Christ'.

    A dear friend, who knows my struggle in this area, gave me a card which reads: "If God expected us to get everything done today, he wouldn't have made tomorrow."

    I'm so glad to know God is more concerned with our heart attitude than what our house looks like and how many things we crossed off our list. But what a sobering thought that is!

    It's a very humbling job to be mother, wife, launderess, cook, etc. But "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

    I pray He will continue to mold both of us in this area. . . just the fact that you are blogging about it shows that He is changing your heart.

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  25. Yes!! Something I am still finding hard to accept.

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  26. I started reading Sharon Astyk's "Depletion and Abundance". I didn't finish it, but I remember one thing. Don't think about about what you didn't accomplish - think about all that you *did accomplish. There is always goign to be a bunch of things we didn't get to. And some of the most important things I think I am doing at home is providing a loving home for my kids, teaching them to love God, providing loving examples for them. That has nothing to do with whether or not their clothes are perfectly clean, or their bread is homemade. Nice if we get to that, but not a failure if we don't find the time.

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  27. Jesus response to Martha when she was complaining that her sister left her to serve alone, has been a conscience pricker many times for me when I can't get everything done I would like to even though it all seems very valuable & important. His response was this, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10: 41-42 O for grace to daily sit at the feet of Jesus as Mary did!

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  28. Yep I sure can relate, more than I can type in here! I think a lot of us struggle with the super woman syndrome. Or that's what I like to call it anyway. I know for me friends have made me feel guilty at times because I didn't do "as much" as they did that day. Several years ago I was down in my back in bed for 3 months or so. I couldn't walk at all because of it. Ruptured disk was the problem and still is but have learned I had to slow down and had to change my lifestyle. But I still fight the battle of doing because I don't like to be idle and love to accomplish things.
    I have been told more than once I am my own worst critic.
    I have to tell myself, even Jesus rested so if He did I surely need to. :)

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  29. Thanks for being so transparent and "real". :) Recently been thinking the same thoughts. It's so fun to homestead, but definately difficult with little ones. The Lord gives us just enough time in a day that HE wants us to have to get things done and then, oh then, we must rest!

    I'm a new reader to your blog and have enjoyed hopping over to see what you and your family are up to.

    Blessings!
    Kelli
    www.we4bates.blogspot.com

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  30. Gina,
    This is exactly the way I've felt. I have learned, lately tho, to pray that God will help me be 'blind' to the things that don't really matter and coherent to the things that do matter. It works! Yesterday, the house was a first rate MESS, I had piano lessons, I had a park 'date' with a couple other homeschool moms, picnic lunch to get ready, I crashed into bed after 9, but guess what? I didn't stress over it (obviously, b/c of the early bedtime..lol) and I got everything clean today! :) If I had stressed yesterday, it wouldn't have done any good, b/c I would've eventually gotten it cleaned anyway. :) My kids pick up on my 'edginess' very easily (amazingly so), so it serves a dual purpose for me and the kids to not stress about things that will eventually take care of themselves. Makes me a really grumpy wife too. :)
    Make you a list of the housework that is really impt for you to do everyday and do those things only during homeschool days. Mine is to: 1. Make beds, 2. Keep laundry done 3. Keep dishes done (even tho my kitchen is usually NOT spotless). My kids pick up with me once or twice a day (in the LR/DR area). I do not worry about the sweeping/dusting/even the trash piles up unreasonable high.
    On Saturday, I make me a list of things like (making applesauce), Pick pears, clean out van, clean out 1 kitchen cabinet, sort kid's clothes, etc...and check a few things off per Saturday.
    I have tendencies like you, honestly, but ask God to help you, he will! :) So many times, we Moms forget to rely on God b/c we aren't used to relying on anyone, right?? :) (We are the rely-ee)
    Thanks for being real with us! :) I surely enjoy your blog and I'm glad to see you got your applesauce made!! Ever made any pearsauce? We have tons of pears that I have got to do something with!!
    God Bless! :)

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  31. Thank you so much, sometimes your blogs are what I need!!
    Valerie

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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