No Time to Waste On Stress

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“But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:40-42

As I approach 60 years old in another month, I am more aware than ever that life flies by. The most important investment I have made in my life is to seek to love deeply. Loving my children and husband has required sacrificing my schedule and expectations in order to have time to listen, to be a friend, to share mutual joys and to cry together. Taking time to love well usually requires a simpler life that has the flexibility to cultivate “best friendships” with those are most dear.

Much of my life was lived at such a pace, however, that I felt like I was always in a hurry to get some place or to complete a task. These overcommitted times turned me into more a drill sergeant ¬†than a loving companion. How easy it is to focus on all of our “to do’s” and to miss the magical moments of childhood and celebrating it together rather than gutting it out in frustration.

Statistics show that 88% of mothers feel severely stressed and overcome with anxiety due to poor time management and difficulty prioritizing. In a hectic world that is over-stimulated on our phones, computers, social media, and Starbucks addictions, are we losing sight of what is truly important in the midst of the balancing act? My mind ponders the fact that we were simply not designed to multitask to this extent. We often try so hard to juggle one million ideals, and once we drop one of them, we feel defeated.

As mothers and wives, it is absolutely crucial that we learn to breath, relax, and focus in on what should be prioritized. Life is short and ideals are constantly interrupted, so be sure to focus on the most important. The people in our lives should be the priority. Do the priority people in your life (your children, your husband, your friends) feel that you are often distracted by all the things you do? Do they comment on how much they appreciate your ability to give full attention to them or do they complain that you are not listening?

Are you so stressed about making your home squeaky clean that you don’t make time for game night or a stroll at sunset? Is your mind so preoccupied with getting back to the kitchen to clean all the dishes that you forget to actually enjoy dinner with your family? Did you fill your day with so many errands and “have-to’s” that you ran out of energy to extend a kind word, an affectionate kiss and warm greeting to your husband?

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Psalm 90:10,12 tells us:
“As for our days, they contain 70 years or if due to strength, 80, but soon it is gone and will fly away. So teach us to number our days that we might present to you a heart of wisdom.”

Worst of all, is the neglect of our Father. He is so ready to give peace, to guide us in wisdom through His gentle voice, but if we do not still our souls, we are likely to get into a snit as Martha did. We create our own snits by refusing to take time to be comforted in the presence of our living, loving Father.

We must make time to sit at His feet so we don’t get into a huff. If you are too busy, the consequences will be grumpiness, frustration, and missed opportunities. (What is causing you the most stress and depleting your life? What can you do about it?)

Being women of wisdom means setting realistic goals so that we don’t become drained. When we are constantly operating on a tank of gas that is almost empty, we have little in our hearts from which others may draw. It is so easy to listen to the voices of others and feel the guilt of performing up to other’s expectations, instead of committing to the limitations and strengths of our own puzzle of life.

Make a list today of what you can reasonably accomplish and cut out those drainers that are unnecessary. What do you need to cut out? What do you need to add to your life to give your children more of a sense of love, peace and affection? Getting our priorities in order enables us to be better mothers, wives, friends, and women of God.

Today, each of has a choice–will we take time to celebrate the joys that God has provided? the beauty that He wants us to explore? The sweetness of intimacy that comes from investing heart time with those we love.

Take time to experience His pleasure. Remember: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

The chores and responsibilities will always be there, but the time to invest in the ones we love, will soon be gone.

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Comments

  1. Andrea says

    This is true guidance from the Lord! So easy it is to get focused on “good things” but not the GREATEST thing which is our Lord and loving others to the best of our own individual ability. I am breathing a huge sigh of relief reading this and knowing that sometimes all I can do is focus on loving my husband and my children and nurturing people the Lord has put in my life. And that is ok, and that is my puzzle. Thank you Sally for being willing to share your experience and wisdom.

  2. says

    Sally, I had just read this morning out of Psalm 31:19, “How great is Your goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You and accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in You. You hide them in the protection of Your presence…” The protection of His presence…all the time…that alone bestows sheer peace! We just brought home our fifth child on Saturday. This would normally seem to mean more stress, more to do, more to…but for me, it has gifted me with the perspective of only more of His presence and of me being more present. Your words are an encouragement and a firm “Amen!”

  3. Barbara says

    Beautiful pictures to accompany a well-phrased post. I needed this, as is so often the case when I read your writings! Thank you.

  4. says

    Love this post. I’ve been following you since you spoke at the first homeschool conference we went to in Winston-Salem NC in the early 90′s! That’s a long time. I now blog myself (lots about our adoption experience and DIY) and will share this on my fb page today.

  5. Elizabeth says

    THANK YOU. I find myself spending so much time trying to get everything “right” that I tend to end up getting nothing right and lose out on the peace that comes from simple conversation with my Father. Thank you for the gentle and loving reminder.

  6. Aubrey Carey says

    As always, you speak truth right to my heart;)
    I just finished reading Sarah Mae’s Unwired ebook, yesterday. I have been feeling so convicted lately of spending too much time on my phone or computer, and not being fully present in my life, with my children, my husband. I am trying an app called Stay Focused, on my phone, and limiting myself to two timeframes a day, to play on blogs, look on pinterest, etc..I used it the last two days, and have had a much more productive and relaxing day with my children today. as I begin trying to homeschool my two oldest, I NEED even more than ever to discipline myself, be present, make them a priority.

    My devotion this morning quoted the same verse you did, and was the same idea, making Jesus a priority, and being still to allow him to speak to you.
    I have been having a morning quiet time, and walk, the last few months, and this has revitalized my relationship with our Lord, and helped me to focus on my many blessings.
    I love how you always seem to speak to something I am struggling with, your ministry is a Godsend!!

  7. says

    Snits and huffs.

    Yes. I know them well. (Unfortunately, so does my family. Realizing that the little fits and funky attitudes I fall into – no matter how subtle or short lived – REALLY impact all of the people in my sphere. Especially the wee ones.

    This:
    “We often try so hard to juggle one million ideals, and once we drop one of them, we feel defeated.”

    Snits and huffs come when the above quote plays out. Being watchful and prayerful over this.

    Kind Blessings,
    Kate :)

  8. Ann says

    Loved this, Sally. How easy it is to fritter away the days, to rush and let frustration over our inadequacy build up…but your words remind me how deeply important it is to breathe, to inhale God’s fragrance through every moment, every trial, every blessing. This is our time, and it will be gone soon. Thank you, as always, for your encouraging words.

  9. Allyson tymeson says

    Oh Sally! I swear you can see right into my soul! Your writings speak what’s in my heart! Thank you for your ministry and support!

  10. says

    Oh how I needed this today….I wish I could wallpaper this post onto my kitchen walls lest not to forget the message! Posting this on my Mom’s page for others to read will have to do! SO important to identify those “drainers” as you said and to be women of wisdom….thank you for helping us put into perspective what our days truly need to look like as moms so we can better invest the best of what we have into our children’s lives, stop the “snits” and allow the presence of God to still our souls.

  11. says

    YES! Thank you, Sally~ for saying so. Time with Jesus is precious and LIFE-giving. His Word is better than all the other words we could possibly read in books or on the internet. In this culture prioritizing our husbands and children does not seem like “enough”, but it is the task God has entrusted to us and His ways are of course right and good. There is great joy and it is truly a gift to have the freedom to focus on them. I am thankful that’s what my mom modeled for me and I am grateful for women like you who continue to encourage us with that truth. Blessings to you, dear Sally!
    ~Stacy

  12. Bronwyn says

    Just last week I made the decision to slow way way down (as much as I could anyway) and to listen more deeply to my children/grandchildren, to play with my little grand daughter when she asked to play and to take joy in it instead of seeing it as an inconvenience, to walk more slowly, to drive more slowly and to breathe more slowly. This post really hit home with me regarding taking more time to relate to those I love instead of things that ultimately don’t matter that much. Thanks for reinforcing my decision.

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