Do you ever feel like your only setting is one of constant stress, strife and overwhelm? Like you are drowning in your responsibilities and you won’t ever catch up? Every little meltdown your kid has, every sink full of dishes, every bill in the mail is triggering your brain and you feel like the next one may just send you right over the edge.
We all struggle with this. As women, we habitually take on more and more until our plates are so full and constantly spinning that we have no time left to just “be.” About 3 months ago, I hit a low personally. I knew that something had to change, or nothing would ever change. I was so tired of walking around like a lit fuse, just waiting to explode. I wasn’t in a place to create a life-giving environment for my husband or my kids. I needed to evaluate my heart. This is not what Jesus wants for our lives, friend!
So I sat down and made a list, because that is just what I do. I wanted to take an inventory of all of the things in my life- the good and the bad. So I split it into two pages: what brings me stress & overwhelm, and what brings me joy & peace.
Things like debt, clutter, baking for money, going into Walmart, a messy house, a messy car, bedtime battles, being too busy and lack of “me” time all fell onto my stress & overwhelm list. My joy & peace list contained things like paying off debts and having financial margin, a tidy home without clutter, baking for fun, creating, traveling, spending time with family, having more time to spend with Jesus, etc.
After making them, it was time to take action. The items on the stress & overwhelm list needed to be dealt with. I had to get rid of what I was able to, and minimize the impact of what I wasn’t. We made a plan to tackle our debt. I made decluttering our home, little by little, a priority. I gave up my baking side-gig- which was very hard for me. I resolved to do more grocery pick-ups and less time in the store. We looked at options to help make bedtime easier. I practiced saying “no,” even to some good things, to create margin. You get the idea. These lists are powerful. Used properly, they can change your life!
The things on the Joy & peace list, I worked to make priorities! We made time to take little day trips as a family. We call grandparents more often. We are planning trips to spend time with our larger circle of relatives. I have the freedom to bake for fun with my 3-year old. I’ve been able to focus my energy and heart more on my ministry work and on building genuine community. It has been life-giving and life changing for us all.
So let’s apply it!
I want you to try it! Right now. Go grab a journal or some paper and set up your pages. And then dump your brain.
Look at the things that stress you out or overwhelm you. Develop a plan to get rid of them. Talk with your spouse or a close friend. Get creative!
Look at the things that bring you joy & peace. Take out a planner and literally schedule them. Write in date nights. Add “time with Jesus” to your morning to-do list. Schedule a Sunday afternoon nap or paint session, or whatever helps you rest and reset. Plan a beach trip. Arrange a girls’ night out. You get the idea!
It was incredibly crazy to me how freeing this little exercise was, and it has been something that I work into my self-care routine about once a month now. Sometimes we don’t even realize how busy or stretched thin we are until we sit down and take inventory.
If you try it, comment and let me know! I’d love to hear your story and help in any way that I can!