Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Takin Care Of Business

I have been asked by friends, "How do you get so much done in so little time?"  I even had one friend who coined a term she called "Crystalizing" when referring to my fast pace cleaning, and project skills.  She and others, actually took to using this term as a verb, when describing how quickly they had accomplished some particular chore or project.   I know, it's funny, but embarrassingly true.

Those were the days when I had only two and three kids.  I could slack much more than I do now, and make up for it with my speed cleaning (which is what I used to call it.)  I liked things to be comfortable, and dare I say, easy.  I would enjoy my mornings with reading and coffee, my afternoons with walking and coffee, nap time with projects and coffee, and save my chores for the hour before my husband came home.  And of course, this also included coffee.  : )

But as we had more children, and my responsibilities multiplied, and the children started school, both my husband and I noticed some big chore jams in our home.  (Think traffic jam, but with chores.  Not Pretty!)

One day, my wise and kind husband, spoke with me about this habit I had, of putting off my duties until the end of the day.  I had recently started my company, Arrayed et Adorned, and I was in the baby years of this business.  I had 2 kids in school, one toddler, and one baby.  So yes, I was a busy mom.
It was my usual pattern to drop the kids off at school in the morning, put the little ones down for morning nap, and go straight to sewing.  As a result, my other duties would pile up.  By the time lunch was done and the kids where picked up from school, I would end up with a pile of duties to choke on after school.  A time when my kids really needed my attention.  And as you can imagine, this would get me frazzled.  And as the evidence showed, I could not balance it all, thus, the talk came.

My husband laid down a rule.  A rule, which now I know, was one of the greatest gift he has ever given me.  (Never see restraint as a hindrance.  It is usually a great love.)  This rule has guarded my days ever since.  It has changed so much in our home, and I am actually able to accomplish so much more than I ever did, which is simply amazing to me! 

The rule: Priorities first, project after.  That's it!  That is all it took.

Now your priorities may be different from mine, but my advice is, ask your husband what he thinks of your priorities, before you assume.  Word to the wise.  Nails may be important to you, but I am willing to bet, when your husband is in need of socks, laundry will top the list of need to dos.

So, my husband and I agreed that all of my must dos,  such as bible reading, husband needs, child needs, daily housework, bills and so forth, came first.  Then, if and when I got those things done, that is when I could get to the want to dos.   And yes, this does include my business.  Which you may think is not possible, but it is.  I found my vision focused.  Things that were really not as important to me, such as ironing my bedsheets (go ahead and laugh, I am too) fell off the list completely.  And may never return to the list of must dos, or may come and go, depending on our season of life.

As I began to obey my husband in this, God blessed me tremendously.  Over time, and with much practice, and many mistakes, I got good at being diligent with my responsibilities.  It is amazing what we can get done, and how quickly and efficiently we can do it, when we save what we are looking forward to until our duties are done.

God has not only blessed me with the ability to do more, over time, He has been kind enough to bring me a satisfying joy in my duties.  He changed my heart.  He made me glad.
This is not to say that it is always easy, it's not.  But most days, I am satisfied with my work, and this brings in a thankfulness, that gives me life and energy to do it.  I have a friend who's name is Antonia.  She had an accident years ago, and is now confined to a wheelchair.  She is not able to do her housework, and she has expressed frustration to me over this many times.  Whenever I become unthankful for my work, God brings her to my mind, and I am immediately ashamed for my grumbling, and I thank God I am able to do my own work with my own hands.

All of us are standing before God daily with our given duties.  Many of these duties are the same, and many different.  God wants each of us to do well, and be joyful in doing all He has given us to do.  Has He given you a home?  Then care for it well.  It doesn't need to have every window clean, but can your people be comfortable in it, eat at the cleared and set dinning room table, sit on the clean couches, and enjoy the aroma of dinner?  Or do piles of laundry have to be moved here an there to take a seat, because the laundry is never done.  Has God given you a husband?  Then love him good and take care of his needs.  Clean his clothes and have socks for him when he need them.  Keep his shampoo stocked and his bed clean and sweet with your affection.    

As we keep on practicing, we will get better at all of this.  And when we are not doing well, we need to ask for God's forgiveness, and for His help.  And when we are doing well, we need know it is Him, and thank Him.


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