Friday, March 6, 2009
Moderation is key in everything we do. This is the lesson I'm learning by experience. Food, hobbies, recreation, spending money, even ministry: all these must be disciplined or they can easily go to extremes.
I've found that I tend to vacillate between two extremes in my keeping of the home as well. The first I call "spinning my wheels". These are the days when the day seems to unfold as it will with no regard to my wishes or carefully laid plans. In all honesty, it usually starts with poor planning the night before and broken sleep from a child being awake often through the night. I wake up exhausted when Little Man cries for his morning bottle. By the time he's finished and I've made an attempt at devotions, two other children are awake and ready for breakfast. We eat in our pajamas, then clean up the kitchen, then...well, you know...it's noon before everyone is dressed and even later before school begins. When days begin like this, it seems all day like I'm a car stuck in the mud, spinning my wheels but never getting anywhere. Bedtime comes and I'm so fatigued but can't remember a single productive thing I've done all day. I hate days like that!
Usually when I've had a day like that, I decide that the next day is going to be better. I have a schedule that I AM going to follow. I get the kids to bed early. I make myself get up early no matter how many times I've been up through the night. I cook, clean, launder, and make phone calls before the kids wake up. I am on a roll...and end up rolling right over my poor kids. The same children that were allowed to eat breakfast in their pajamas the day before are whipped into shape by Drill Sargent Mama. My word for this is "driven". At the end of the day, I'm still exhausted with not much to show for it because the kids acted terrible. No one likes to be given orders all day just so a schedule can be followed.
So, the pendulum swings back and forth and I get more and more frustrated with myself. Ah! The key word is "myself". I cry to God, "Why am I not getting anywhere? Are you sure this is what you want me to do? I'm failing miserably as a mother and this house looks like a wreck!" God gently asks me, "This morning when you were so driven to be productive, did you spend time with me and ask me what I wanted you to do with your day?" I have to admit that I drove myself right through my devotions, doing most of the talking again. (I'm really good at monologue!) He continues, "When you spent the whole day spinning your wheels, did you ask for my help that morning?" I have to admit that I was so behind that day that I didn't pray much more than a half-hearted "Good morning" to my Heavenly Father.
The song, "In Christ Alone", comes to my mind then. I was "counting my diamonds" of a great schedule or a full to-do list instead of relying on God. The simple truth is no external system is adequate for a prayer-less woman. If I fail to cry out to my Father for help and guidance, I am assuredly going to fail in my productivity for the day. Even if I succeed in having dust-free surfaces and shiny floors, who gets the credit? "I can do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth me." Yes, that even includes homeschooling and mopping floors. Aren't you glad it does?
How does time with your Heavenly Father help you avoid extremes in the keeping of your home?