Tuesday, October 4, 2016

For Those Times When You Just Need Grace (With a Playlist)

I was feeling overwhelmed and unproductive. I listened to this podcast. I decided to take one day and track my time.

A couple of things about this day: it was an early pick-up day, meaning the kids were done at 2:15 instead of 3:15. Also, they had no ballet on this particular day. Also, the little kids didn't have any activities, which means it was a "stay-at-home" day for Mom.

-7-8am breakfast, make lunches, do hair- oldest 3 go to school
-8-8:30 screen time
-8-8:45 clean up
-9-9:30 walk (get ready, get everything together, change diapers)
-9:30-10:30 go to the store, put it all away
-10:30-11 clean up, let the kids play, feed Annabel, put her down
-11-11:30 clean up, play with Anders, check email/phone
-11:30 eat lunch
-12pm read, play, put Anders down
-12-12:45 clean, write emails, make lists, etc.
-12:45-1:30 read
-1:30-2 clean and pick up girls

After School/Evening
Don't judge me, but I allow a little extra screen time in the afternoon. It helps them wind down, and they take turns on the iPad for games. They're usually so burnt out from being at school all day that this down time is all they're in the mood for- not everyday, some days we play outside during this time, sometimes they have Ballet, etc)
-2:30-3:30 screen time for kids (some watch a little kid show, bigger kids play iPad), put clothes away for Mom
-3:30 Art lesson
-4-5 screen time, (usually trade iPad and TV)  pick up, set the table
-5:30 dinner
-6-7 Homework and playtime
-6:45 Go for a walk (just Mom), Kids play or hang out with Daddy
-7-8 Bathtime & Bedtime for kids
-8-9 Show for Mom
-9 Shower
-9:30 Listen to podcasts, scroll instagram, clean up, wind down
-10:15 bedtime

The reason I decided to track my time on this particular day was so that I could hold myself accountable to temptations, such as "scroll instagram for an hour," or "read for 5 minutes," or "forget about chores and sit in my bed listening to podcasts." lol

But it turned out to be helpful to see how routine-oriented our days really are!
Making time for reading, writing, sewing, and baking is manageable, based on how long the kids nap in the afternoon each day, and how I choose to limit screen time, outside-the-home activities, and just generally practice self-care and self-control! Of course it helps if I don't need a nap.

I think a lot of times, I go to bed and feel a failure because I am always interrupted, or I am lazy to jump to my responsibilities of caring for the house while the kids need to be fed, dressed, picked up after, and changed. These interruptions are built into our schedule, so it is far less likely for me to become exasperated. There is enough time to empty the dishwasher AND do my other chores while watching and correcting the kiddos.

But this shows that I am accomplishing a lot, even if I'm not lovingly reading them 1,000 pages aloud everyday or teaching them how to read, or turning them into rich, famous millionaire saints. ;)

I don't have to stop and take a picture of myself in the mirror and post it to my instagram followers to feel good about myself. I'm confident in myself without needing that kind of flattery, and without the need to show off. "I JUST WENT FOR A JOG!!" #50likes

The key to these really popular posts is that flattery isn't the same thing as love. "Never trust a flatterer," they always say.

I don't need all of that attention to not feel a failure.

Mainly the reason why? Because it's empty anyway. It's like Brangelina's divorce. They will probably sell the story for millions, but where does that leave them? Famous and sad.  I'm not saying you shouldn't try to grow on the internet. But if you're doing it in a way that leaves other people sad, maybe you should reconsider your motivation, and if the gold stars really are worth it to your overall mental health.

"A kind word makes anger go away, but toxic thoughts cause them to brew."

This is my "new translation" of an old verse.

Do you ever wonder why the battle against vices can be so hard?

When you are flying high, soaring on the wind without a care, and you hear someone else is low, do you have trouble imagining why?

And then, when your own world is rocked, and you're the ship wrecked on rocky shores, isn't it hard to imagine waking up sun-shiny?
Do you remember that little song "Let Her Go" by Passenger that came out a few years ago? Such a good song.

He says:
"Well you only need the light when it's burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you've been high when you're feeling low
Only hate the road when you're missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go...."

The poetry really articulates sadness well.  Why does darkness- sometimes- feel so very, very dark? And why do we miss it just when it vanishes?

I think it is because we live in a toxic world.

When you're smooth-sailing through your morning errands, and someone makes a horribly rude comment, or treats you less-than with-dignity, or if envy for the narcissistic show-offs can de-rail you, and it's not fair.  It brings up old wounds. It deflates the soul like a balloon ten days after the party.

*just to mix the metaphors a little further* cough...

How can we show ourselves grace in the midst of a broken, fallen, hurting world where toxicity abounds, and kind words sometimes feel like they are few and far between-- an exception rather than the rule?

1.  If you wake up feeling non-sun-shiny, remember: whatever you are facing only has to be faced today. Even if it feels insurmountable, just do you and just do today. And track your time!

2. Put yourself in God's presence, pray, and ask for wisdom and peace.
Just asking God to fix it in a Hail-Mary-ten-times kind of way can bring a little piece of peace in the midst of the hard places.  And then, stop. Really! Just stop there. A little really can go a long way.

3. Seek out wisdom, rather than toxicity. Hold THAT in your heart. So that, when you face a toxic world, you have inner wisdom to deal with temptation, bad thoughts, and bad ideas.

4. If your heart is hurting, perhaps you are longing for another world. In the City of Men, you are desiring the City of God- as we all are.  Focus on the philosophy that the world is passing away, set your thoughts on that- because "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." So when you hear toxicity coming out, you will understand that what goes in will come out. Give yourself the grace to know that you have another chance and you can always apologize and right your wrongs when you hurt the people around you, or when they hurt you.;)

5. Fast and Pray.
No one is perfect. Not even the models, the superstars, the NFL players, the Pope. But we can practice self-control, and sometimes this can do far more good for our wounds than begging God again and again to "Fix it."  Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and try again.

Translation: GRACE.

6. Be around supportive friends (or call a friend/sister/cousin to catch up!)

7. Listen to good music.

And on that note... here is a playlist for the hardest days.

Linking up with Tuesday Talk and 7QT
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Wendy J Williams said...

Thank you, Tacy for sharing your thoughts.

My meditation on dark days is I Peter 5:6-7..."Humble yourselves, then under God's almighty hand, so He will lift you up in His own good time. Leave ALL your worries with Him, for He cares for you."

My mental playlist is the old hymns, Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings...helps me to turn my mind to thankfulness and praise rather than toxic thoughts.

The other hymns that have quieted my soul is Children of the Heavenly Father, Great is Thy Faithfulness and...

"Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best -
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the LORD Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour
ALL my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As your days, your strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

The third verse is also wonderful but why not look it up and sing the whole hymn.
When you know the author's story, (Carolina Sandell Berg) the words make you realize she was clinging to the words in
2 Cor.12:9..."My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."

God's grace is truly worth investing our time and thoughts in each day!
Thanks for your reminder!
Love, Mom

Tacy said...

Thanks Mom! Try adding a Hail Mary to your routine, just to see what happens! :0)