Sometimes the hardest thing I do all day is get out of bed. The alarm clock goes off or I wake to the rumblings of my two little ones, and the first thoughts in my head are those of panic: I have so much to get done today! How will I ever get it done? Did I remember to ... What about the bills? How are we ever going to pay them? I can’t forget to ...
I’m already stressed out and I haven’t even gotten out of bed! We live in a fast-food world. Our minds have been conditioned to order, pay for, and receive our food in five minutes flat. If it takes longer (or there’s a long wait), we get stressed out. We’ve allowed ourselves only five minutes to grab dinner, and now we’re off schedule! It’s going to mess everything up!
We then transfer this fast-food mentality to other aspects of our lives: we get an email and have to respond; we get a phone call or message and feel like we need to immediately call back; the garage is a mess so we need to clean it now! We have this sense of urgency in our lives, and if we don’t react quickly, we feel guilty that it’s not done yet. Then we get overwhelmed because we have so much on our plates. We wonder if we’ll ever get caught up. When we feel like we get ahead a little bit, something else comes up and the vicious cycle continues!
Here are some tips to combat our fast-food mentality:
- Start with the essentials: As you’re lying in bed, trying to sort out your day, remind yourself to breathe. It may sound like a no-brainer, but we often need this essential reminder!
- Pray for guidance: Too much to do? Don’t know where to begin? Are you discouraged before your day has even started? Pray that the Lord will be with you in every aspect of your day. Pray for wisdom as you pick and chose the important things that need to be done that day. Don’t worry about what needs to be done tomorrow or next week but what needs to be done today—it will help you not get so overwhelmed.
- Plan accordingly: After you’ve prayed, pick the two or three things that are the most important to get done that day amongst the rest of your schedule (e.g., return a phone call, do laundry, or run an errand). If you don’t accomplish them that day, don’t stress out! (Sometimes our expectations are unrealistic ... Sure I can run to the grocery store, pick up the kids from the school, fix a fabulous meal, clean the whole house, and finish the science experiment all in one afternoon.) In fact, it’s important to realize that you will never get caught up. At first that might seem really depressing, but once you accept this fact, it’s actually quite freeing.
- Rest: When your two or three things are done, don’t start adding more things into your day. Feel good that you accomplished your goals for that day and rest, take a nap, play with your kids, enjoy a book, watch a movie—do something that will help refresh you because it all starts back up tomorrow! There will always be things to do. (If we didn’t have anything to do we’d die of boredom!)
- Allow for interruptions: In a mom’s life, there are always interruptions. If we expect them, we won’t get so derailed! Thank God for these minor setbacks. Often these are unexpected blessings that we tend to ignore or allow them to become irritants. It’s a time when your child might need that extra hug or loving word, a friend might need a hand, or it might even be the Lord giving you a chance to slow down and breathe! (You have to wait in line—take a deep breath, remind yourself of the blessings God has given you, or start a friendly conversation with a fellow shopper.)
Following these tips will help you lose your fast food mentality. It might not resemble a slow, romantic candlelit dinner at a fancy restaurant, but it will at least give you a chance to slow down and enjoy your life, even if you’re standing in line at McDonald’s.
Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. —Matthew 6:33 NLT