Friday, September 20, 2013

How to Do It ALL

It is a funny thing looking back over past posts. Some days I feel like I'm facing something new, something not encountered before. But recorded history tells a different story.
If I can believe past blog posts, then I know that every September I hit a wall called "To Much To Do." Between a busy life that has us running too much, a garden that won't quit (or tomatoes that started late), and the start of school, the tasks won't fit into 24 hours. And about every September I've written some version of "I'm so behind, I'll never catch up."

But  I'm learning something from it all - I think. So I pulled out an old post, revamped it greatly, and am sharing it with you. 

Just in case your September feels like mine.
 
How to Do It All

I can't do it all. As hard as I try, I can't be the perfect wife and mother. I can't grow all my own food, cook from scratch, bake my own bread, and preserve all the food we need for winter. I can't have beautiful flower beds and an immaculate home with meticulously organized closets, ready to host guests at any moment. I can't be the first to volunteer for any church ministry, sew lovely clothing for my family, do fun art projects with my children, and have time left for my husband. I can't scrapbook, knit, embroider, quilt, and all the other things I can try to squeeze into my days. Yes, I can do some of these things some of the time, but not all these things all the time. And never can I accomplish all that I thought was possible in the freshness of the morning. Each day when my husband comes home, he asks me about my day, and I reply, “I didn't get it all done.”

Of course, I know I can't do it all. In my head I know it. But I don't live like I believe it. Somehow I think that if I would be a little more efficient, work a little faster, or wake up earlier, I can “get it all done.” So I read another homemaking book, search for one more tip on time efficiency, and buy another organizational gizmo touted to give me more time. I keep dreaming that after canning season is over, or I finish some sewing, or the holidays pass, then life will slow down and I'll have time for everything.

It is a lie. I already have far too many interests, projects, and plain old work for several lifetimes. I'm not condoning laziness—just realizing I need to face reality. And today, my reality is a houseful of little ones that need fed, clothed, trained, and taught—by me.

Why do I end every day in frustration over how many things are still undone? Everything I did today—cooking, laundry, cleaning—will need done again tomorrow. And there was much more I wanted to do that I was forced to omit. 
 
So I finally admit it: I can't do it all. Why did it take so long? Am I attempting too much? Or trying to be someone I am not? Probing deeper in my heart I find that I have placed homemaking on a pedestal where it did not belong. I want to appear to be a perfect woman. But instead of appearing good in the sight of others, the purpose of everything I do should be glorifying God. God in His sovereignty has given me all the time, energy, and resources I need to do His will. His will—not my wishes. 
 
None of my circumstances come as a surprise to God but are allowed by Him for my good. God cares about my frustrations but He is more concerned about my spiritual growth in the midst of these trials, than that I “get it all done.” When I am discontent with my circumstances, I am complaining that the One who plans my life has made a mistake. If I can't get it all done, either I am attempting to do more than God wants me to, or God has other plans for my time. 

Today, did I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Did I love my neighbor as myself? If I can say “yes” to those questions, does it really matter if my kitchen floor didn't get mopped?

How do I break a mindset where success is found in accomplishment and where a good day is measured by the checks on the to-do list? I believe God is waiting for me to repent of putting my own glory above His. He wants me to ask for His out-pouring of grace to help me serve others instead of feeding my own desire to feel successful. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” (2 Peter 1:3)

Maybe the next time my husband asks “How was your day?” I shouldn't interpret it to mean “Did you get it all done?” Maybe instead I need to ask myself “How did today's challenges bring maturity in my life and glorify the Lord?” Maybe then my heart can be filled with praise to my Heavenly Father who considers my growth in holiness more important than clean floors.

Maybe then I can worship instead of stress. Even on the busiest of days.

And with worship, my day can be successful, even when I can't do it all. Because when I have my priorities right, when worship is first, I can do it all. Not all I want to do, but all that God has called me to do. 

And therein lies the difference.

25 comments :

  1. I was just struggling with this myself - thank you for sharing! I've never commented on your blog but I enjoy it, just the same. God bless your family! Jo H.

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  2. oh, gina! thank you for this very timely challenge! your honesty, vulnerability & sincerity are so encouraging to me; thank you!

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  3. "His will--not my wishes"
    That is exactly it. Thank you, thank you, from someone drowning in late tomatoes and too many cabbages and apples starting to disappear under the fruit flies...! :)

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  4. This is so good! Just what I needed to read this week, when I've done canning every single day except today - and when there's still more staring me in the face. And the house is a wreck..... A thought I came across the other day (and that I'm trying to remember in the nitty-gritty of life) is "Will it matter in a year from now?" It helps to put things in their right perspective!

    Mary Beth Martin

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    1. The 'will it matter a year from now' is such a grounding mantra to remember when we get overwhelmed or stressed. I had forgotten it so thanks for the reminder. Lily. xxx

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  5. I love it! THank you for reminding us we DON'T HAVE to do it all!!

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  6. I've learned that setting priorities for what is most important lets me get the main things done in life, then if time permits a few hobbies can be done, if not, oh well, some other day. I try to have bathroom decent at all times so at least if someone visits that is not bad. The living room is a problem as DH throws stuff down all over it, but I figure the people came to see us not the living room. Produce: do the best you can and don't sweat it if there is too much,offer it to others or just let it go. There is always a new season to come.

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  7. Sigh. How did you know?! Except, I'm a city girl, no canning for me!
    Praise the Lord that you are a TRUE witness and light in this dark world.
    Be transformed by the renewing of your mind...
    Thanks Gina. Praying for you during this time and your pregnancy.
    Annie

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  8. Thank you for this post. I am in the middle of canning late tomatoes along with normal household activities, making my first quilt (which should be a winter time activity) and a new bible study for the Woman in my area based on the the Book "Her Restless Heart" (how appropriate). I took time this weekend to go visit my grandchildren. This is very important as they are only little for so long. We women often are restless, trying to find approval and acceptance in our busyness and activities. I often have to remind myself to do the important things and God will bless the rest. God bless you and your ministry. Debbie

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  9. Yes, and you're making a baby too! Thanks for the perspective today. One day we'll be at home alone with the dishes and floors perfect and wish our little people were being creative and loud again. That's what they tell me anyhow.

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  10. Thank you Gina. I so needed this. Sometimes I feel like I am the only woman who can't keep up. It is so good to know that I am not alone in how I feel. As much as I'd like to be....I will never be June Cleaver. And that is ok. :)

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  11. Oh Gina, what a wonderful, encouraging post! My family and I just returned from a 2 wk, 6000+ mile vacation from SE Indiana to the Pacific coast to visit a military son & family, in-laws, and Yellowstone on the way home. It was incredible, all of it. We constantly talked of God's creative wonder and love for us in the beauty that was all around us. But... at night, as I lay in bed exhausted from having so much fun that day, what was I thinking about? You guessed it-the never ending list of work waiting for me when we returned home! A garden to put to bed, a homeschool moms meeting to lead, fall sewing, the canning that didn't get done while I was "vacationing". Your post is so timely for me, and I'm sure every other Mom who reads it, that I am going to print it out and share it with my homeschool group if that is ok with you? What an encouragement, and what a challenge for my spiritual walk!

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    1. Yes, you are welcome to share it!
      Gina

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  12. Gina, this is absolutely excellent. I am a grandma, as you know -- no houseful of little ones, no homeschooling, etc. -- so my challenges are far different than yours. Yet my answer to my husband's "How did your day go?" is exactly the same as yours -- always, "I didn't get it all done." Thanks so much for this scriptural perspective!

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  13. Your post brought tears to my eyes. This is something I struggle with all the time. Thank you for putting it into perspective!

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  14. As a women who works outside (and inside) the home, grandmother, mother, and wife to a wonderful man, I thank you for this reminder. Even when your children are grown, you still find there's more you would like to do in your day. Do it all to the glory of God.

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  15. Dear Gina, May I request that you post this every September! Because we all need to see and read this post. I feel so tired and worn out lately.
    I love your heart and I can always be blessed through your words. Do we have to always push ourselves to stress and to be a Martha Stewart.
    Blessings, Always Roxy

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  16. Thanks so much to each of you. I wrote this wondering if it was "just me." You all have proved that I'm not alone. May we encourage each other!
    Gina

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  17. I was blessed today by a mom in my homeschool group who shared the link to this blog. I needed this so much today (Thank you Lord for your perfect timing). What a great post. I definitely needed the new mindset and heart adjustment on this topic. Blessings.

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  18. Hello Gina,
    I feel so relieved that we don't need to do it all! I have felt very overwhelmed and out of sorts for quite some time and I sometimes think I have failed in my daily duties. I'm so glad to hear that I'm not alone either. Yes, if you would repost this post every other month that would be great! :)
    Such a good reminder to all of us out there trying to do it all!
    Happy Fall!
    Blessings,
    Amy

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  19. Oh this is good. It's great to remind me that I'm not a failure if I don't do the things I wish I could during a day.

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  20. I still struggle with that feeling of being inadequate. My husband and I waited for five years before we had children, so I got used to having that perfectly immaculate, well organized home. And then came the children and I found that the reason I had a perfectly clean home was because I had nothing else to focus on BUT cleaning and organizing. Now when my house gets messy, as it frequently does with three small children, I just remind myself that it will be a sad day when it is cleaned and stays that way, because it means that I have no more children at home. A perfectly clean home is an empty home. I'd rather take the time to DO things with my kids than focus all my energies on keeping that picture perfect house.

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  21. I came to your blog to read about your garden, and I found inspiration and rejuvenation for my soul! Thank you!

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  22. I just happened upon your blog today while looking for a sugar-free apple pie filling recipe. I will be reading everyday now! I think we as women always struggle with feeling like we never do enough! I am a checklist person myself! May God bless you and your family. <3 Thank you for the encouraging words.

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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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