Every morning, I write a to do list, usually in the margin of my journal. My list is a random conglomeration of things I need to do during the day or week such as:
get a whole chicken out of the freezer
copy grammar pages
I have more goal oriented lists too. I write a list of five goals I have for the day. My goal is to do those first. Usually the things that I most desire to accomplish are not the tasks I do first.
Paul spoke of this in Romans 7:
“For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]
For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deed that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing.” -Romans 7:18,19
This is a timeless problem, I know what I want to do, but I end up [ever] doing the temporal insistent chores instead the eternal worthy-of-my-time things.
For years, I struggled with making daily prayer time a priority. I wrote it at the top of my list, but it was pushed aside for more temporal things like sleep after late night reading and snacking or a movie that I didn’t really care to watch (but I couldn’t bear not to see the ending).
The next morning, I blamed my lack of prayer on my early risers and I started the day off feeling a deep angst toward myself and often my children, who really had nothing to do with it.
The second item on my important list was to do something with my children to form that habit of connection on a daily basis. Too often these activities were swallowed up by temporal tasks: another load of laundry, dishes, mopping, scrubbing the baseboards, a lengthy phone call.
I have shared two examples of bad habits that kept me from doing what I really wanted to do. These sorts of habits that go contrary to the inner man cause an unrelenting unrest and self-loathing.
I’m not going to tell you that I have arrived. Far from it. I don’t accomplish my goal list every day. I have made some habit changes to ensure I have prayer time most mornings. I get up before my kids which means late night habits had to go for the most part. When I had an infant, I did many five-thirty rocking-feeding-prayer times and many Bible-reading-journaling times with toddlers playing at my feet. God understands. (Isaiah 40:11)
Another habit I formed- beside me jobs. Fellow blog friend, Megan has a great post on this subject entitled Shared Responsibility. Megan calls these jobs “shoulder to shoulder”. Even a two year old can put a plate in the dishwasher or help sort laundry. Not only does the child feel needed because he is participating in meaningful work, but connection is made through conversation. For a child with attachment issues this time gives them the opportunity to attach even if the child puts two dishes in the dishwasher to your thirty or throws the socks up in the air- let him talk.
Friday night, I tried my hand at some GF cinnamon rolls for Saturday pajama breakfast with oldest daughter and family. Youngest son, hired by older brother, was on kitchen duty. I worked on the dough while he entertained me with a few minutes of complaining. He settled in and began washing (dishwasher died). We had an amazing conversation about deep theological things- some of which I didn’t know the answer to- but he talked, listened and talked!
These moments cannot be bought in fifteen minutes of quality time if the foundation of quantity time is not set.
What is the time-saver for today? I guess it’s more of a grief-saver. We each have the same amount of time to spend every day. Do you too feel locked in the temporal tasks that scream, “DO ME NOW!” Writing down five things and doing those first is a great habit to start. If you decide to try it, share with me in the comments! Love to hear your story!
I’ll be starting a book study on
My fellow Blog Buddy, Maria author of TheJoyfullyFrugalHome is joining me. Check out her post on the subject. She has some unique insights that may be helpful to your family! Join us on Monday, February 4th! Read my post description here.