15 December 2013

Reacting aside, I want to live on purpose!

How much of my day is a reaction?

Almost one year ago, I made the life-changing decision to unplug. The online world was invading my home, and I needed to shut it down--literally. So the computer slept while my kids were awake, and it only opened its access to the e-planet when their little eyes closed for naps and nighttime rest. Honestly, I'm not as strict as that resolve, but the determination changed my focus from an inanimate screen to gazing faces, and I will readily testify that our best days are ones when I follow my rule like a teacher's pet.
I see more of this smile now that I'm paying attention!

Since that change, distractions have been much less; however, I still felt like I was always catching up and never on top of all that I wanted to do.

I've been noticing that too much of me is reacting

Take a glimpse at a normal day in my home . . .
I hear the kids waking up and realize I'd better get out of bed.
The kids whine about being hungry, and I realize I should make them breakfast.
My son spills milk on his shirt, and when I drop it in the laundry basket, I realize I should do a load.
After breakfast, the kids start playing with toy houses, so I play toy houses too...
until there is a smell, and I realize a diaper needs changing.
When I rinse my daughter's (cloth) diaper in the bathroom, I realize I should scrub down the tub.
On my hands and knees with the scrub brush, I think that I should do a workout video during nap time.
Halfway through cleaning the tub, I hear the kids singing "Jesus Loves Me," and realize I should read them a Bible story.
While reading together, I see that they didn't make their beds. We do that.
My daughter points at the picture of her grandparents, and I realize I should check about chatting with them online...

And so on.

Our days are full--full of energy, full of learning, fully of interaction. However, almost every decision I made was a reaction.

[I'll pause here and say this important disclaimer: If you are a mom in survival mode,
this post is not for you. If you, however, are getting enough sleep to feel normal,
it may be worth considering. Okay, back to the point now . . .]

While I understand and value flexibility, I want to live on purpose. I want to live strategically. I want to have a plan, set a goal, and move in a good direction while also embracing the distractions, the interruptions, and the long pauses.

Is this balance possible?

Yes. Yes. and Amen.

I can plan to wake up earlier than my children.
I can cook them meals before their tummies rumble.
I can do laundry on a schedule, so the basket never spills over.
I can actually schedule all my household chores!
I can create routines for Bible teaching, learning, and playtime.
I can model this and teach my children the value of being proactive instead of reactive.

And when something interrupts the plan, I can stretch and bend and flex...but the plan is there for stability, for reference, and for strategy. This is how I want to live my life--strategically--and my life is made up of days. Now, this is how I want to live each day.

Practically, how can we begin to live proactively?

Write a mission statement.
These are not just for companies and churches. If I want my life to aim at something, I need to write it down so I know where I'm going. As a mom at home, I didn't think my role visible enough to warrant something as official as a mission statement...until I saw one on a blog I respect and realized what a difference it would make for me to read every day. I have drafted this, although it's still workable (as it should be):

May my preparations and priorities
aim first at a home that 
breathes of the Spirit's presence
{inviting, righteous, honest, peaceful}
and next at a place of family connection
through conversation and activity
with learning
and last at a solace
for individual rest--
to live filter-free:
challenged, encouraged, loved.

Schedule the housework.
I wrote another blog post about this tidbit, so I'll let that speak for itself.

Set goals and work toward them.
These goals can apply to you alone (exercise, reading, etc.) or to your children (learning, character building, Scripture memorization, etc.). The important thing is that you take steps toward these goals each day, not just when something reminds you of them.

This all can be like taking a walk with my kids. We could stroll around aimlessly or set out with a plan in mind. Having a plan doesn't mean we don't stop to look at the butterflies or tie a shoelace or even sidetrack to the bakery. It just gives purpose to the trek, even if the purpose is as simple as "let's walk for 30 minutes to get exercise and fresh air" because that's still better than "Everyone is too rowdy. Let's get out of the house...now what do we do?" (Obviously, I've done that before.)

The purpose of this walk was simply to get in the sun, hence the cool shades.

So I want to stop reacting to life and begin embracing it--rushing at it with my arms open, ready to scoop up all the richness that blooms not from productivity alone, but from intention and strategy and purpose.

Join me?


  1. great post and picture:) feel that God is leading me this way too...and really appreciated the disclaimer for mom's in survival mode:) so true...I am thankful and praising God that he is leading me out of survival mode:) hugs

    1. I hear you! When in survival mode, it's amazing if I can match my socks. I'm glad to hear you're coming out of that needy season and feeling ready to be more strategic too. :)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this encouraging post. It is just what I needed! I am in survival mode right now and was encouraged to really get out of it. Thank you. God bless.

    1. You're welcome! Of course, it's a huge challenge for me too, so I can pray for you as I pray for myself.


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