Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Great Expectations

New year, new idols to smash...

I sit in front of the screen and read tips and suggestions about how to "streamline" my life, become more efficient at running my household, then about clearing out the clutter and how to organize what's left.   I can't even count the number of emails that I've received that touch on one, if not all, of the previous topics.  It's hilarious, really, because I've come to realize that if I would just take that 30 minutes that I might spend sitting in front of that screen and actually use it to DO something--I wouldn't have to read about how to accomplish more, in less time:)

Every year I think, "This is it.  I'm going to get it together this year.  I'll have a smooth running home. Schedule in place.  Every closet organized (with lots of plastic containers, each one labeled).  Then life happens...

I appreciate all the help and suggestions, really I do, because let me tell you...the other day I was trying to find a notebook where I jot down blogging notes and I came across eight spiral notebooks (each of which had some type of writing in them) but NONE of them was the notebook for which I was looking.  How is this possible??  So yes, I can use a little "clutter cleanse" in a major way.

Many of the "experts" tell me to have a set CLEANING SCHEDULE, and my home will be in shape in no time.  Block time each day and assign different chores...
Problem is, that assumes that each of your days is the same.  

What about when life happens?  My 5 children and husband are living, breathing and very active.  They are not robots that do and say the same things every day.  I love the idea of a cleaning schedule and have tried and tried to make it work...but how do I include vomiting/feverish child in the schedule (complete with unexpected trip to the pediatrician) or the extra laundry and upholstery scrub that was needed when previously mentioned child missed the bucket?  How about the child that I was dealing with for 15 minutes during a temper tantrum (hers, not mine--just for the record)?  Is there a time slot for preschooler in frog galoshes tracking mud all over the living room floor clean-up? Or a block of time for "I left the water running in the bathroom and flooded the whole floor and basement"(that's a story for my book:)?  Or when my husband calls and needs us to run an important errand for him?  What about the time we spend enjoying a visit with unexpected company (which we love, by the way)?  How does all this fit in to my so-called "cleaning schedule"?

It has occurred to me that sometimes I let this dream of perfection become an idol in my life.  This quest for perfection can be consuming.  Something that can be SO defeating to me that I can barely function.  The constant thoughts about what I can't seem to get accomplished and how embarrassing an untidy home can be.  They lead me to become frustrated in so many areas of my life.  These thoughts send me in a downward spiral of negativity.  

"Sometimes, when you are too close to something, you can't see it clearly.  You have to get a new perspective."  -Soul Surfer

"When your attitude is bad, your heart's not right." -Facing the Giants

So this year, I'm gonna try to smash that idol of perfection.  I've decided to change my perspective.

What we need is more focus...

1. Daily Devotions (a MUST for me)

2.  More consistent chores for the children

3. Guided activities for the children--because left to themselves, they turn into 
    wild little creatures- running, screaming, wrestling, fighting, and undoing all 
    the work/cleaning that I've spent doing that day.

My focus should be asking God to help us find:      

a little more structure, a lot less stress
a little more function, and a lot less frustration
a little more order and less overwhelming chaos
a little more peace and less problem behavior

These are the things that I'm going to work toward in 2012.  Not designing a rigid cleaning schedule that will lead to feelings of failure.  Not perfection.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'll still be using some of those organizing tips and schedule methods, but first and foremost, I'm going to be "clearing the clutter" out of my mind.  Continuing to count my way to One Thousand Gifts and beyond. Blessings to you as we journey through this new year.  May it be one filled with joy to overflowing!

Praise God, my cup runneth over:)