5 Things I am Eliminating to Reclaim My Family
As a wife and mom of almost 3 babies, I have to be transparent with you. We are in a tough season as a family. Honestly, every season of adulthood, seems to bring it’s own chaos and growth opportunities. As a newlywed, and mother of one, we were coasting. There were growing pains, disagreements and communication issues as I learned to be a wife and work from home Mom. But then things got real when our baby girl arrived.
Having a baby 7 hours away from my closest family, while building a business with my husband has been full of twists and turns. By the grace of God, we have grown our little side business, into our main income. We have been able to turn homeschooling into something our son loves that is really developing him. We have even found ourselves doing what we both have waited years for, as we began ministry school.
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All of these big changes have been full of joy and we are still overwhelmed by the favor of God on our lives. We are humbled by all that God has given us, and the impact we get to make in our community. But for full transparency, our home life has deeply suffered.
Our Daily Routine
Every day, our family gets dressed from the growing pile of clean laundry that hasn’t been folded, ironed, or hung in over a month. For breakfast, we grab our bowl and spoon from the full, clean dishwasher if we are lucky. We communicate via text message throughout the day to make sure our commitments are on track and goals are met.
We cook an unhealthy dinner, or pick up take out. I feed our son, get our daughter to bed. Then I do a devotional and some snuggle time my oldest before he is sent to bed. Then after everyone is asleep I get to eat my dinner, and do school work, or go pass out. Nahum’s dinner, turns into his lunch tomorrow because he comes home so exhausted that all he can do is sleep.
I am not saying any of this to garner sympathy, but to welcome the accountability that transparency offers. Maybe I can even encourage others to do the same, because our busy-ness unfortunately is not unique.
Last night in class, we sat in front of our school chancellor as he spoke on character formation. We learned that the changes we desire, aren’t optional, they’re necessary. As a wife, I would love to share what I will eliminate, and what I will be replacing it with to reclaim our family.
Elimination #1 Overachieving.
I think it is good to have a heart that desires to go above and beyond. But it is dangerous when our home and family become casualties of our goals. For a few weeks, I am going to give myself permission to throw dinner in the instant pot and call it a day. Or to buy the lunchables my son is always begging me for. I am saying no to buying new toys for the kids, and decorations for the house. I will not rush to answer every phone call or chat. By saying no to overachieving, I will have more energy to focus on tackling that sink full of dishes, that messy table, and the pile of laundry that are overwhelming me.
Elimination #2 “I can do it myself” attitude.
Did you know that the people with the messiest homes, are typically the biggest perfectionists? Hoarding is actually rooted in a deep need to keep things perfect, and a fear that immobilizes you when things get disorganized. I am not a hoarder, but have felt immobilized by the chaos in my life. There’s that nagging voice always telling me to do everything myself, so it’s done right. Because my 8 year old will not sweep the floors, or load the dishwasher like I do. Eliminating this attitude will free me up to invest in training my child, and building his character as he contributes to our family.
Elimination #3 Being subject to a tiny tyrant.
No, I am not talking about neglect or crying it out. I mean not always responding when she can’t make up her mind if she wants to be held, or not. We are in the throes of her wanting me to be her personal transportation from one interesting thing to the next all day. She doesn’t want to be confined to a sling, doing what I have to. By eliminating the urge to be a human trolley, I am saying yes to having the use of both my arms. This way I can stop procrastinating through each day.
Elimination #4 Electronics during meal times.
This won’t solve the problem of being on opposing schedules, but it will give me a chance to be intentional with the discipleship that takes place at home. I am currently reading The Life Giving Table, and highly recommend it to anyone that is struggling with having intentional relationships. There is so much that is lost when we stop gathering around a table to connect. This will be a challenge because my 8 month old has no interest in solid foods. But it will be worth it to be more available to my son.
Elimination #5 Permissive attitudes towards addictive behavior.
We all have our thing. For my son it is Kindle, for my husband it’s his phone, for me, it is my laptop. I believe there is a time and place for all of this, but being at home, it never feels out of place to check Facebook “real quick”. So I am going to relegate these distractions to certain times of day. Managing these habits better will make room for building a stronger relationship with God. I will be more intentional about studying His word, and enjoying things like Podcasts and Ted Talks that really help with personal growth.
So why does having a clutter-free life really matter?
Luke 16:10 (NKJV) He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
As we sat and listened to our chancellor in class last night. He shared the sad, but true reality. That being faithful in the little things means our cars, our homes, our relationships, and our possessions. He made the statement “You won’t be a successful person with fast food bags littering the floorboard of your car.”
OUCH. It hurts, because it is true.
I always believed that you will never find a successful person leaving their grocery cart loose in a parking lot. Character shines through your actions in insignificant moments. If you don’t leave a cart loose to hit someones car, you might care about others. A car that stays clean makes it possible to offer rides when someone is in need.
If my laundry is folded, and dishes are clean. I am available to disciple my family in my home. Maybe these little things we’ve accepted as normal, really are connected to what God can trust us with. So, do I think God won’t trust you in ministry, because the laundry sat in the washer a few hours too long? Nope, there’s grace for all of our shortcomings. What you don’t have room for, are excuses.
There’s no good reason to have a home that you are ashamed to welcome others into. Fast food isn’t shareable or healthy. Sky high piles of unfolded laundry epitomize wastefulness.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
So I am eliminating the unnecessary to steward my family well. But mostly, I am doing it to serve the heart of God by being prepared to serve His people.
What sacrifices have you found yourself making in seasons of growth that have served you well? Share in the comments below so your story can help others!
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