Back To School…Back To You
As summer begins to wind down and vacations come to an end, there is something else which happens. The kids go back to school! Along with going back to school comes the need for a normal routine, so that everyone can function better and thrive every day. In the same way that we want our children to do well, God wants each of us to flourish and do well. Although my days of getting a child ready to go to school are long gone, I still use these guidelines in my own life to keep the balance I need without feeling overwhelmed. Setting a routine for yourself like you do for your children can help avoid stress and meltdowns, and help you as well as your kids get back on schedule.
1. Pray first! Every day will have its own struggles, but I strongly suggest to take the first five minutes of the day and pray. Many times in our hurry to get out of bed to start our day we can neglect one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and others, which is to pray. It is also important to remember that every day we enter a world which does not want us to flourish, but to fail. Your first conversation of the day should always be the most important. I realize for some this may be difficult, but I want to encourage you to make the effort because when we are faithful and obedient to God the reward for our soul is rich. The Proverbs 31 team has developed a new app I have begun to use called First 5 ( http://first5.org/.) You can set your alarm the night before, and it will wake you up with music of your choice and a short devotional. It is a great way to begin your day!
2. Feed Yourself! I have to be honest and share that I don’t always wake up hungry, but I know if I don’t eat something by 10:00 AM I can get ugly! In our quest to get out the door after feeding everyone else, we forget to feed ourselves. This also happens in our spiritual life. If we do not feed ourselves with God’s Word or have His influence in our daily lives, our souls begin to break down just like our physical bodies do when we don’t eat. When we are weak we have no power to fight against those things which can cause us physical, emotional and more importantly spiritual sickness. In order to stay healthy we need to supply ourselves with the nutrients necessary to guard our heart, mind and soul. Feeding ourselves on the Word of God helps us to sustain a healthy relationship with God and a better attitude towards others.
3. Work Hard! Whether we work in the home or outside it, we work hard to accomplish our goals and tasks. The clock tends to be our biggest enemy as we try to get as much done as we possibly can throughout the day. It is important to work hard no matter where God has placed you. A good work ethic is a great characteristic to have. It is important to demonstrate this valuable lesson to our children and it is a requirement of God to always try do our best because the world is watching us. Just as you want your children to succeed and get good grades by working hard, God wants to see you succeed in the areas of your life in which He has called you to serve. I have always found it rewarding to know I have put in a good day’s work, not just for myself, but because I know it honors God.
4. Play Harder! What kid doesn’t love to play? I loved recess as a kid. The minute lunch was over and the whistle blew to go outside, I was there. The importance of play as a child and as an adult are very similar. Don’t we all love to spend some time enjoying the things God has given us to delight in? Set a time for yourself to stop working for a couple of hours, or occasionally for a day. I know there are calls to make, emails to write, kids to put to bed, lunches to pack, clothes to fold and the list goes on, but take time to play. Enjoy your time with those you love. Read a
book, talk to a friend, cuddle with your kids, take a walk and breathe. I have never heard anyone wish they had worked longer and played less, but I have heard many regrets from people who wish they could have learned how to balance out their work with some playtime. Work and play are both part of the God balance in our everyday life, and it’s important to do both well.
5. Get Some Rest! Summer nights are made to enjoy, and I love sitting around the fire pit or just listening to the sounds of summer until late at night – that is, until I have to get up early the next morning. I am never productive when I am tired. I’m sure we have all incurred the wrath when our children are over tired, and we have made others suffer when we are over tired. It is important to set boundaries and bedtimes to ensure we have the ability to do the tasks which are required of us each day. If we start our day tired it never gets better. Caffeine is only a temporary fix to what can become a permanent problem of exhaustion. Sleep is our reset button to quit thinking about today’s problems, trust God with our circumstances, and allow Him to work. Rest is essential to well-being, not only for ourselves, but for our household. As women, we juggle many responsibilities. How well we can juggle is dependent on our mindset, and our mindset suffers greatly when we are exhausted. In order to be able to fight the battles of the day we MUST rest properly, so that we can thwart the attacks of the enemy and rest in the promises of God!
My prayer is you will find these five tips to be helpful and encouraging as you prepare for a new season. I wish I could say I am perfect at all of them, but I am not. I have learned that by keeping this list beside my bed it allows me to stay focused and keeps my priorities in line. If you find yourself at the end of the day saying, “I really blew it today!” remember this – every day is a new day and you get the opportunity to start over because God is faithful and He loves you!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)