No matter what stage of life you find yourself in, without intentional planning, you will become overwhelmed and stressed out. You have to allow yourself room to breathe! If you try to do everything without considering where you are, something is going to suffer. Most always, it’s the area you need to take the most care. God wants more for us than stress all day every day. You don’t have to wait until you are unhinged and have no handle on your life to recharge.
For everything there is a time and a season. Sit down and make a list of what’s important to you, your goals, and your dreams. As you get older those change, and what you can reasonably commit to changes. Come up with a plan of action that works for your house and follow through.
When my husband was voted in as pastor seven years ago, we had a four-year-old and a five-month-old baby, and in the same month, we were voted in as the UPCI GA District Youth President. I had a dream to write a book, but in prayer, God gave me peace that when it was time for me to write, He would make room. In this season, I needed to be mama and the most supportive wife I could be. He is faithful with our big dreams!
Breaking It Down:
Start by making a daily effort to connect with God. Doing this will allow you to nurture every other area. This cultivates a mindset ready to tackle life. There is nothing as important as your personal walk with God. Dreams are birthed, guidance is given, inspiration is delivered, strength is renewed, and motivation is restored during this time.
Your marriage has to come before parenting because eventually, your kids will grow up and move out. You don’t want to be left living in a house with someone you don’t know anymore. This relationship should be honored and respected; it should be a safe haven. Invest in your marriage by spending time together. Laugh together, cry together, and grow together. As women, our job is to protect our home, and encouraging is one of the ways we do that. Speak life to your spouse and develop trust. If you are a stay-at-home mom or minister’s wife, your spouse wants to come home to a peaceful environment where he feels peace and support. Remember that you are on his team fighting in his corner, and that is more important than proving a point or bringing negativity to his uncertainty. Build your marriage up and make sure he knows that outside of God, he is your most important relationship. Creating a healthy marriage will create a healthy atmosphere for your children to grow in.
Family Night is a great way to start traditions! Sometimes we only have small pockets of time, but it makes a great impact. Don’t spend all of your time on social media (including Pinterest) second-guessing who God designed you to be. I live by the simple principle that I am human, I am not perfect, my kids are not perfect! I have mounds of laundry to fold, detention slips to sign, dishes in the sink, and sometimes I wear a hat instead of washing my hair because, life! Teach your children to love a life lived in service to the Kingdom and others. Be very aware of how you talk in front of them. If you are talking negative, so will they. Most importantly, when you are with them, be present and unplug. They deserve your undivided attention! You want them to feel they are as important, if not more important than, the things they see you devoting your talents to in and outside of church. I have learned firsthand that acting out usually means “give me some extra attention.”
4. Local Church
Wanting to be exuberant in service to God should be at the forefront of our minds! We must align our priorities with God’s will to be efficient. Learn time management and plan ahead as much as you can. Don’t compare the quality of your church with the one across town. Work with what you have and make sure you are spreading love and appreciation while you do it. Spend your time focused on creating a program that fits your audience. Find someone who can hold you accountable and serve with excellence. Make investments in this area by being teachable and willing to grow.
Be the best employee you can be, and strive for excellence. Leave your work at work if at all possible, and that will eliminate problems at home. If you and your spouse both work outside the home, share responsibilities around the house. Coordinate your weekly schedules so you can prepare during holidays or busy seasons. Spread the light of Christ in your workplace by showing kindness to your co-workers. Make sure they know you have a direct connection and can pray when they are hurting.
We all need to decompress. Find something that you do just for you. Self-care is extremely important because we all know that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Part of my personal self-care is intentional time with my husband and boys because I draw strength from them. Self-care is not the same for everyone, but you absolutely must make it happen in order to be the best version of yourself. Find something that recharges you and be intentional about doing it. Trust me, it’s worth it.
“Life is a balance of holding on, letting go, and knowing when to do which.”
You don’t have to take time from one area to give to another, you simply have to evaluate your free time and manage from there. Go with the flow and accept that you can’t control everything. Every day is not perfect, but when you try your best, it’s a good day. Give yourself grace when you mess up. Acknowledge that you are not superwoman, and learn to say no when your plate is already full. Smile and take a deep breath because you are enough, even with flaws, and your purpose is great. Keep Jesus at the center of everything you do, and remember that you are loved.