Friday, January 24, 2014

To do list...

Allow me to preface this post by saying that I think it's wonderful to have programs, methods, and equations to solving and fulfilling exacting needs in a workforce, school, and business.  Sometimes there's a reason why things are done the way they are.  I get that.  But, I used to categorize myself as "type A".  I don't know that I'd do that today. In fact, it's been a long time since I've kept a detailed hourly schedule for my day.  You know what I mean... those 6:00 - 6:15 breakfast, 6:15 - 6:45 workout, 6:45 - 7:30 shower, etc.  Don't act like you type As don't know what I'm talking about.  Oh, I get it.  I need structure in my life. Trust me.

I used to have a laundry day.  The kids would know that if they didn't have it clean on Thursday, they wouldn't have it folded and in their rooms until Tuesday.  Not that I always met the deadline or never had that extra basket of laundry that never seems to be emptied, but overall if it was on a schedule, a calendar, a white board, or a list; it'd be done in a fairly timely manner.

I used to get such a rush ticking a little box or scratching through a whole line of things that were done. Check!

But not now.

Don't get me wrong.  I meet deadlines at work.  My floors are clean, well... for the most part.  My family is fed home-cooked meals, and my kids do their own laundry half the time because they like to. But my to-do lists aren't feeling heavy lately.

I took a little hiatus of sorts from it all.  Why?  Well, I don't know.  Many reasons, I guess.  But mainly because I started to have an I-think-I-might-hyperventilate-if-I-add-another-thing reaction when I'd read a well-written blogger explain the 10 things that worked best for her.  Or a board on Pinterest with a gazillion cool ideas I wasn't doing. Because I just couldn't meet the running lists I had already, and I couldn't even think of adding to them another thing I wasn't going to be able to accomplish perfectly.

If you have ever had that little nagging complex of Why-in-the-world-should-I-pretend-to-be-perfect-when-clearly-I'm-not in your life, then maybe you'll understand just a little. Maybe a lot.

So here are ten steps to getting over that complex.

Just kidding. :)

You see, I can't tell you how to get there in a number of steps.  Or that you even should do it.  I am okay with type As! I hope it works well for you, and I totally understand you!  But I'm not okay with the whole perfection thing any more.

I want things done well.  I want them done my way.  The reason for the disclaimer at the top of the post is because my kids read my blog and they need no ammo to come at me for the "reason the putting away of the dishes should be left to interpretation is mom's blog post on individuality".  Nope.  My house, my way.  If it annoys me when the white cups are stacked on the green ones, that's my business. But that's not the right way to do it, that's my way to do it.

There's a difference.

I used to think that so many lists of things were the right way when really they were only a way of doing things.  And that whole idea of perfection?  Nonexistent.  Because no one's perfect!

So, you know what I did?

I threw out the lists.


Some people might have thought I was crazy.

Or that I wasn't going about this the right way.

Maybe it was too drastic for some and surely it was painful at times, but it's true.  I threw out every list I'd ever made.  Lists on what I believe. What my goals in life were.  Prayer lists. My home.  My job. My kids.

I decided that I'd come with nothing.

Because I wondered if my lists for all of that - for them - for me - were nothing more than what I expected and wanted rather than what purpose they were created for.

I haven't filled any pages.  But the amazing thing is that when I came to God with nothing but a blank page, He began to fill it.

Not so much with things.

With love.
With understanding.
With... dare I say it? Patience.
With satisfaction.
With peace.

And I'm not saying that you should chuck the lists you have, just that I did.

Because I've. Got. Nothing.

And He. IS. Everything.

What's on my pressing spiritual to-do list today?


And I can't wait to see what He fills it with!  Because really it's only then when all of those other actual responsibilities that I have to do - you know, like drive the kids to school and pick them up on time? Deadline for the brochure at work?  Those things. They are getting done with joy.  And if something else pops up, like wanting to take a little time and blog about my feelings?

Looks like there's an empty spot for that!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Get over it!

I haven't blogged in a long time.  A very long time, in fact. One year, four months, and one day. I checked.

The truth is, I've been uninspired.  Unmotivated.  Kind of blasé about many things over the last year and a half.  Some would tell me to "snap out of it" (and they have).  Some would say to simply "get over it".  Again, they have - don't you fret!

But I've been pondering a lot lately.  Get over what, exactly?  What is it that motivates us?  Or causes us to pause in our lack of motivation?  If we do indeed just get over stuff, do we learn anything?  Is anything we've gone through even worth "getting over", or do we need to treasure even the dark moments and stay there for a while?

I've battled depression.  There's no denying that.  Just take a look at why I started my blog!  I'm not saying to wallow in self-pity or that it's healthy to crawl into a dark pit and not get through your problems... but isn't that the key?  You know me - I don't give a lot of answers; I just ask a lot of questions.  And I haven't changed in that regard.  But maybe that is an answer.... getting through, not over.

Life is a process of mourning and rejoicing.  Laughing and grieving, jubilation and despair, ups and downs. And when we are up, there's no thought of down. And when we're down, there's no thought of that mountain-top victory.  But what if?

What if we did think of the ups when we're down?  Or even the downs when we're up?

I used to think I was a little bit crazy.

I lost my dad two and a half years ago.  But I began grieving him long before that.  Not entirely.  Don't get me wrong.  I would ever-so-seldom think of a day that I'd be an ocean away and get a phone call that he was gone.  That day came.  I grieved.  Deeply.  I had half-way convinced myself that I was morbid and crazy to think that I was doomed to get such horrible news, and that I needed to get over my fears.

But I didn't. It was like I was prepared.  Just a little.

I grieve him still.  And no one has ever told me to "get over it".

When someone dies, we all know that there's a place - a gaping hole that person left behind that can never, ever be filled by anyone else.  And we don't get over it.  We're not expected to.  They meant something to us and we carry the memory in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

And that's what I've been pondering lately.  That every loss we suffer; we mourn.  The loss of a job, a friendship, a home, a routine, a marriage, an idea, a dream, an item, a person.  Maybe some are more drastic than others.  Maybe more losses come at once.  But isn't everyone mourning something?  And why should we get over it?

Maybe we should just be more gracious.  Not expecting anyone to just "get over" anything. From the "small" to the rocking-of-their-world kind of loss.  And maybe as we get through our mourning we can walk with others through theirs. Together.

That'd be cool.