Thursday, May 15, 2008

a tale of two mornings

I thought you might enjoy reading about the minutiae of my morning (and yes, there is a point to this). But if you want to skip straight to the point, or if reading about someone's busy morning will leave you discouraged, feel free to scroll to the end of this post!Here's how my morning was shaping up:
- Get out of bed. Feel tired. Feel discouraged about the number of things I should do today.
- Eat breakfast. Have shower. Get kids ready for the day.
- Think, "What I really want to do is sit at the computer and fiddle around."

Morning 1: what my day might have looked like.
- Go on the computer and fiddle around. Look guilty when Steve gets back from taking the kids to school.
- Get up and do a bit of tidying. My aunt is coming for lunch tomorrow, and the house is a pigsty.
- Make a cup of tea, go on the computer and fiddle around. Or maybe read a book.
- Get up and feel discouraged about the tasks I haven't done. Think about going shopping, but realise I have no shopping list and Steve needs the car in less than an hour.
- Wipe down the bathrooms. Maybe. Put on a load of washing. If I think of it.
- Go on the computer and fiddle around.
- Make lunch. Read a book to Thomas. Feel discouraged about my unproductive morning. Have a nap.
- Go on the computer and fiddle around (it is my computer time, after all).
- Pick the kids up from school.
- Race around tidying, scribble a shopping list, and worry about everything I haven't done.
- Take the kids to gym. Go shopping.
- Get home exhausted, throw the cold things in the fridge, make dinner (barely) and serve it late.
- Leave the wet washing, the shopping bags, and the tidying for tomorrow.

Morning 2: what my morning really looked like.
- Write a list of all the things I should do this morning:
shopping list / renew library books / finances / walk / tidy / clean bathrooms / shop / blog / washing / hang out washing
- Think, "What I really want to do is sit at the computer and fiddle around."
- Force my groaning brain and tired body over to the kitchen bench. Write a shopping list (I hate writing shopping lists). Feel more cheerful.
- Steve takes the kids to school, comes home. Looks after the younger kids while I go for a walk.
- Go for a walk. Think about listening to a talk on my iPod. Pray for myself, Steve and the kids (in that order) instead. Pray that God would make my arms strong for my tasks, like the Proverbs 31 woman Claire Smith spoke about at Equip.
- Come home and, inspired by my prayer for Steve, ask if I can do anything to help. Am shocked at myself. He says no. Am slightly relieved.
- Think, "What I really want to do is sit at the computer and fiddle around."
- Use my strong hands to put a load of washing on instead.
- Go on the computer while the younger kids watch Playschool, but don't fiddle around. Do our finances for the week. Renew library books.
- Cross some tasks off my list. Feel good.
- Hang out the clothes.
- Go out and do our supermarket shopping for the week. Thomas needs to go to the toilet half way around the supermarket.
- Bring the car home just in time for Steve to drive to a lunchtime meeting. Give him a pile of coins for the parking meter.
- Go on the computer and fiddle around. That's what I'm doing now. I should probably be tidying and cleaning the bathrooms, but I wanted to share my morning with you.

the point

I don't tell you this to boast about my productive morning, or to make you feel bad if yours was less productive: you might have needed a quiet morning today.

But I want to share 3 things that can make a difference:
- write a list (don't all women love lists?);
- get started on our tasks even when we feel tired and discouraged;
- pray that God will give us strong arms for our tasks of love and service today.

I realised as I prayed that God makes our arms exactly as strong as they need to be. If yours are laid low by chronic fatigue syndrome, a night looking after sick children, or trouble and sorrow, then that is where God wants you to be right now. Who knows what glory for God and encouragement for others will flow from the situation you are in?

And for the record, I spent the first 2 days of this week sitting around and recovering from my busy weekend. Which was what was needed at that point. But today I just needed to get on with it.

May God make our arms strong for our tasks! (Prov. 31:17)

I'm going to tell you more about Claire Smith's excellent talk on the Proverbs 31 woman just as soon as I get around to it. Or buy the talks from Equip when they become available and listen to it yourself!


Nicole said...

Thanks Jean.

This is just what I needed to read today! I'm sick (again/still?) spent the morning at the doctors (again!) and am feeling frustrated. It's good to be reminded that that was the morning God had planned for me!

Jean said...

Sorry to hear that, Nicole. My daughter is similarly afflicted at the moment. It's very discouraging, isn't it?

malcolmsintights said...

Thanks Jean.

I agree that there are some mornings/days which are "recovering time", while others should be "getting on with it" time.

I find knowing which morning/day is which is such a struggle though. Sin kicks in sometimes. I notice it both in terms of being lazy and spending time on the computer, playing with the kids or whatever. But I also notice it sometimes where I am too self-absorbed or wanting to do tasks rather than spending time with the kids. And I suspect usually I just don't think about it when I should.

Sharon said...

Thank you Jean for this post. I think I need to bookmark it and read it regularly. Especially your suggestion to "pray that God will give us strong arms for our tasks of love and service today".
~ Sharon from Equip Academy

Ruth Mc said...

Dear Jean
So enjoyed this post, especially as it's now Saturday morning and I have to do some work rather than sitting and chatting to my sister who I rarely see, but who is visiting at the moment. I love the thought of asking God to strengthen our arms for the tasks he has for us today. May your day today be one of joy, despite the grief about David.

Jean said...

malcolmsinsights, boy can I relate to the quanderies you mention! Sounds exactly like me.

sharon, I'm glad you appreciated the prayer, it was inspired by Claire Smith's Superwoman talk at Equip. I might be praying it more often too!