I confess, I didn't have time to read the chapter in From Clutter to Clarity this week. In fact, I had little time to spend on blog work or many of the extraneous things that I wished I could do. I needed a week of getting back to basics, examining priorities and focusing on what is most important.
There's actually been a lot of reflection and self-evaluation going on in my life these days, and that is a really, really good thing. I'm recognizing that my priorities have been severely out of whack, and that I haven't been diligent in truly serving those I love the most.
Sure, I'm still doing a lot of good things- I've been canning like crazy, preparing my garden for winter, showing hospitality, maintaining my blog, participating in church events and fellowship, visiting with family, baking my own bread, and on and on. What I haven't been doing enough of is meeting the needs of my husband and children. I find it easy to get so wrapped up in all these other things that I am doing, and to sometimes even justify how I'm serving my family through my busyness (if I'm honest, this is rarely true), that I stop acknowledging what they really need and the fact that I'm not providing it.
Last week, I spent some time before God, examining my heart, asking for strength and guidance to make some changes, and started to make plans to put these changes into place. It's a myriad of things, really, but they are all focused on two simple priorities: blessing and honoring my husband, and loving and training my children. In the midst of all that I was doing, these two most simple and basic areas were being grossly overlooked.
For me, this is really hard. I struggle a lot with equating my value and success with a completed to-do list and accomplishing a superwoman-sized set of goals and expectations for myself. It's hard for me to remember that loving and serving the ones whom God has placed in my life in the position of highest importance is actually far more successful than anything else I might accomplish, and that my value comes solely through my Savior and what He has done for me.
Initially, when I realized the things that I was not doing to serve my family, I felt far more burdened. This post helped me to realign my thinking, and realize that this actually does help me to simplify by making my priorities clear. My husband has been encouraging me for quite some time to make a list of my priorities each day, starting with A, then B1 and B2 and B3, then C1, C2, etc. The idea is that my first goal is to accomplish A. If I do nothing else in my day, it was successful because I accomplished the task of the utmost importance. Next, if time allows, I accomplish the B tasks, in order of priority, and then move on to the C's (and D's).
I will confess, I haven't tried this system for nearly 4 years, despite his urgings. I keep thinking that my routines and schedules and everything else that competes for my energy and attention is more important than simply doing what is actually most important.
So there you have it. Simplicity in my world looks like making good on my priorities, and not just saying If that they're my priorities. I only managed to faithfully train my children and provide my husband with food, clothes and a pleasant wife (but the house is messy for Ladie's Group, dinner was just scrambled eggs and toast, my garden weeds got ignored, I had no time to blog and I didn't have time to research a health issue for a friend)… I still had a successful day. A very successful one.
How about the rest of you? How do you make sure that your true priorities are what actually gets done during the day, rather than all of the other activities and needs that are vying for your attention? Has anyone else struggled with letting busyness get in the way of serving their family, as I have?
(Gosh, y'all are getting all of my confessions this week- first, how I haven't been cooking to please my husband, and now how my priorities are all out of whack, and trust me, I could tell you more. But if we're not going to be upfront and honest about our weaknesses, what's the point of sharing with each other at all? I so appreciate those of you who share so candidly and from the heart. Thank you!)