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.