Friday, February 10, 2012

LESS in 2012 ~ Less Commitments

A game of Dominion.

One year ago I was overwhelmed with commitments. I was a Cub Scout leader, Women's Bible study co-leader, I was also involved in two different bible studies, and I was trying to fill my calendar with home parties to promote my Wildtree business. At night I'd rush out the door as soon as the last daycare kiddo were picked up. Later I'd rush home after my activities, exhausted, only to find the that the kitchen wasn't cleaned up during my absence so I'd angrily do the dishes, pick up the house and often times go to bed mad. The verbal conversation in my head was, "Can't my family see that I am busy. ALL.THE.TIME? Why can't they help?" until one day, at my breaking point, I prayed. And I prayed. I prayed until the verbal conversation in my head changed. Suddenly I wasn't trying to "fix" my family but I knew I needed to fix me. I learned that I can't expect my husband to have the same priorities (regarding household cleanliness) as me. I learned that even though my husband encouraged my extra-curricular activities, I was making the choice to be so busy. I learned that if I was so busy and so stressed out something needed to change because I wasn't ministering to my family, which should be my first priority.

So after learning to switch my thought process I prayed some more. I prayed that God would help me discern which activities needed to be removed from my calendar. I prayed a lot about this and I asked others to also pray. I LOVED scouts, I LOVED all my bible studies, and I LOVED Wildtree and the thought of making more money but to what expense? No longer was I looking at the empty days in my calendar and trying to fill them up but now I was looking at the calendar and deciding what could go.

I gave up Scouts. Although this was something I didn't want to give up, it was the one thing that I knew I needed to give up. The Boy was moving from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and I was convicted that Boy Scouts need male role models, not mommies. I wanted my son to learn the attributes of being a Godly, courageous, resourceful man and I knew he'd learn this better from like-minded men and boys that were also on the journey of becoming Godly leaders. So God led us to a FABULOUS homeschooling Boy Scout troop. I miss "my" scouts but I know, without a doubt, that I made the best decision for my son.

I started to pray about the bible studies that I was involved in. One bible study is a made up of a group of couples and we rotate hosting each week, meaning once a month we didn't have to travel. Not leaving the house saves time that would be spent traveling. Also this was an activity that we did as a family. While the adults studied, the kids would play and The Boy loves these fellow homeschooling friends. So Monday night family bible study stayed.

Sunday night bible study is made up a group of local women, all who were strangers to me when I began three years ago. The benefit of this study is that it meets every other week just a few blocks from my house so again, little traveling time. It also meets on Sunday nights which is a quiet night at our house. I could easily feed the family, clean the kitchen and head to bible study and still be home to have a little family time before bed. I decided to keep this study because it involved little time commitment, yet it helps me to grow in my faith and gives me time with other women.

Wednesday night Women's Bible Study, was held at my church thirty minutes from my home, meaning that with bible study and traveling time I was gone from home for three hours (usually 4 hours because since I was in "the city" I would usually stop to do some grocery shopping before heading home). I had learned so much from the five years that I was involved in this study and developed friendships with wonderful women. That was the toughest choice. As I prayed about this decision I realized that my stress level due to all my activities was preventing me to experience spiritual growth. I was no longer being feed by Women's Bible Study....and not because they weren't "feeding" me. I was too burdened to fully experience it. I miss the study and the women, but like scouts, I've come to realize that I made a good decision which has not only benefited me but also my family.

My Wildtree business hasn't grown and I don't pursue scheduling parties...and I'm ok with that. I still love Wildtree and am open to an occasional tasting party but for my own sanity and for the sake of my family, that is about the most I can commit to.

So I started last fall with a few less things on my plate and I am now noticing the blessings. My goal for LESS in 2012 is helping to remind me, when I'm trying to fill up my calender (a bad habit of mine), to have less commitments. Less commitments means less stress, less bitterness, less exhaustion and this less has given me more. More TIME, more family time, more fulfillment, more happiness. Most nights we are able to sit down together, have dinner and read the Bible (we are reading through the Bible this year). I LOVE this time. The other night, after the dishes were done, we played a game of Dominion. My son was THRILLED that we played his favorite game with him. I'm so glad for God's guidance and that he taught me that ministering to my family is just as important, if not more important, than ministering to others.

1 comment:

  1. That is very cool, Laurie! Thanks for sharing!