I’m getting my butt kicked by my February schedule.
Can you relate?
For some reason I keep double-booking myself even with my efforts to keep a bullet journal. There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. That’s why it is even more important than ever to build into that schedule some time for me.
A few months ago my husband and I agreed on an arrangement that allowed both of us ample time to focus on our hobbies. On an ideal day, we would each get ONE HOUR to ourselves. For him, it would look like a run to the gym or a drill session with five basketballs. For me, that time would be sitting in front of the computer like I am right now and allowing myself some time to write.
Now, it doesn’t happen this way every day.
There are days when my kiddos interrupt that time and days when my husband never makes it out the door. But, our goal is to make this time a priority every day.
As parents it can be so easy to lose ourselves. I could spend over half a day cleaning messes or changing diapers. But one thing I’ve learned after six years of this gig is that I am a much better mom when I’ve taken some time to focus on me.
I am thankful for a husband who is supportive and encourages me to take that time.
I am grateful for a daughter that understands when Mom is writing she really needs to be left alone.
This ONE HOUR trade-off with my husband has helped to curb my anxiety and given me a renewed sense of purpose in writing. I’ve taken time to dream again. I’ve taken steps toward reaching that dream. And I’ve begun feeling more accomplished than ever.
How do you build time for yourself during the day?
*This post is part of the Five Minute Friday prompt for the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other positive writer’s explore the same word prompt.
Lately I’ve been surrounded with several motivating resources: my husband, friends, family, the blogs I follow and the book I’m reading, The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. One thing these people have all been encouraging me to pursue is my passion for writing. These are people who have seen some of my best pieces and still continue to believe in my abilities. However, I know that my writing is more than my ability it is God’s gift. When I write he is there with me giving me the words. He’s behind every idea and word that goes from my mind to my fingers to your screen.
Since I was eighteen I have had the dream of one day publishing a novel. I’ve let year after year slip by without making progress toward that goal. The years wrap up and I think to myself, “Next year I’ll make it happen” only to make no more progress than before. I’ve even gotten to points in my life where I get so busy that I don’t even write at all.
But this year has been different. So far in 2015 I have written six chapters of a novel. I’ve taken time to blog daily to practice my skills and then set aside longer duration and intentional time to work on my novel. I read a chapter yesterday in The Best Yes entitled, “Overwhelmed Schedule Underwhelmed Soul.” In this chapter the author talks about how we all have a calling that we are neglecting. For me, it has been writing. In order to achieve that calling we have to be intentional with our time. That means saying “no” to activities that are not absolutely necessary in your life in order to have time remaining each week to carve out for yourself. This should be intentional time spent pursuing your calling.
Yesterday I carved out time for myself. I woke up before my husband and daughter and ventured out to a local coffee shop for two hours. I sat at a table in the coffee shop and I worked on my novel for that entire time. In two hours I produced ten pages to finish up my sixth chapter. I felt so accomplished. That amount of writing could have taken me months according to my old writing plan. I also felt energized all day because I began my day by doing something I had neglected for so long.
So I’ve decided to make this a weekly thing. I’ve taken my planner and blocked out two hours a week for me to escape to a coffee shop and just write. My husband has agreed to allow for this time and so it’s set in stone.
My husband has been reading The Best Yes as well. We’ve had a discussion as a family about not adding things to our schedule just because we don’t want to say “no”. We set our priorities with family and ministry. Things have been extremely busy and so as we usher in a new school year we have both committed to saying “no” to things that do not directly correlate with those priorities. If it is not something that will help us grow as a family or related to our areas of ministry then we have resolved to leave it off our schedule.
I know that those priorities will still keep us busy, but I’m hoping this new school year will at least be more focused than my schedule has been in the past. I’m really looking forward to my weekly coffee shop trips and for making progress on writing.
What are you neglecting that you should be carving time out for?
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
When I first became a mom I struggled a lot with making time for myself. Who am I kidding? I still have a difficult time stepping away from all that needs to be accomplished in my life and take time to focus on me. I am a very check-list oriented person and I spend a majority of my time working through my priorities each and every day. There was a time where I unintentionally allowed my own personal time with God and the Bible to falter in order to make time to throw in a load of laundry or to grade some papers that I had been putting off.
I have come to recognize the importance of beginning and ending each day with some time alone in the Word and prayer. This was a habit I had formed in my singlehood and even the early stages of our marriage, but as many mothers can atest to I became a little overwhelmed with my schedule when I had someone so dependent on me for every thing. I became so occupied with other people and what I could do for them, and lost sight of my own needs in the process.
Well, lesson learned. Those were some of the most trying times of my faith. I struggled with so many issues that had I been reading the Bible regularly or been seeking God for wisdom on a regular basis I know I would never have dealt with. I was exhausted and what I needed the most was to be refreshed and refined by God. The passage I quoted above shows just how important it is to read your Bible and be in constant relationship with God. We need the Bible because it teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us, and trains us in righteousness. If we neglect the opportunity for these things to be done in our lives we neglect progress.
Exactly fifty days ago I began a journey to make regular Bible reading more of a habit. Overall I have been doing much better the past six months than I have in two years, but starting fifty days ago I had a set time and place to take a few minutes away for myself. And I stuck to it EVERYDAY. I drink a cup of coffee every morning so I have planned that a great compliment to my favorite part of morning routine would be the addition of Bible reading and prayer. The results have been tremendous. I find that starting my day in the Word before anything else that I am not only more productive, but my focus is on the right thing and it is a lot harder to be struck down by the enemy. I am seeing victory over some of my biggest personal struggles and I have a more positive outlook.
So my challenge to you, dear followers and viewers, is to find something that you are neglecting in your life and set a time and place where you regularly work on that specific thing. Try to consistently follow your plan for fifty days and document the progress you are making in your own life. Progress will be made.
As you will learn throughout my many posts I have developed a slight obsession with the symbolism of the anchor. It seems to be a bit of a fad on its way out in the interior design world, but to me the anchor symbolizes so much more. As I have been reading more about the promises of God in my own life I have held to the promise of Hebrews 6:19. “We have this hope as an anchor for our soul; firm and secure.”
This means that I am secure in Christ. There is nothing I can do to earn (or not earn) my salvation. When I am weak God is still strong. His strength far outweighs my own. He is the anchor that gives me hope. He is firm and secure when I am struggling to keep my head above water.
One of the hardest things for me to do as a working mom is take time out of the day for myself. I feel like it is so easy to become caught up in the needs of others and the chores of everyday life. There have definitely been times in the past where I have neglected my relationship with God. This was never a conscious effort, but it was one I have worked to kick to the curb. I’m learning the importance right now of getting 15-20 minutes of my own time every morning to set the right mindset for the day and spend in conversation with God.
I found that in setting aside some “me time” I am a happier, more productive lady on all fronts. I am a more content and disciplined wife, a happier and more energetic mother, a Christian seeking God more and more, a teacher with a purpose, and a home owner who does everything to the glory of God.
God is my anchor and without Him I would sink. There is no way that I would be able to balance this life without his strength and guidance. If he is the security and the hope in my life I need to make a more diligent effort to seek after him daily and set aside some time to make my relationship with God a priority.
I have placed reminders of the anchor and what it symbolizes in various places in my life. I’m in the process of mounting an anchor (purchased on etsy) over our fireplace, (this will be in a future post) I’ve drawn the anchor in my journal, (which I will also discuss in a later post) and I’ve written this verse several times to commit it to memory. We can all benefit from saturating our lives with God’s promises like that of the anchor: the promise that God is always our strength and we can cling to him for safety and security no matter what.
Please take a few moments to hear the song I embedded on this page. It is from one of my favorite worship bands, Hillsong, and is titled “Anchor”. This song is what got me so obsessed with the idea of the anchor.