Monday, November 17, 2014

What did you do today?

Today I'm reposting a recent post from my friend's blog, because in a lot of ways, I feel it hits the nail on the head when it comes to juggling the ins and outs of daily family life.  Just this morning as I was journaling, I was reminded that I need to have realistic expectations about what can get done on a regular day, and that most of the time, "good enough" is sufficient when it comes to housework, healthy eating, and the like.

Being a working mom adds another dimension to the juggle, but at the end of the day, whether two parents work or one stays at home, I think those of us raising kids have a lot in common when it comes to the challenges of raising healthy, faithful kids.  

Another thing I realized as I read Becca's post is that in a lot of ways, ministry and parenthood are similar.  I'm not sure I have ever consciously made that connection before, but when I read Becca's words about not having measurable work, that rang true both in ministry and as a parent.

In my first call, I felt the need to "prove" to people that I was worth it as their pastor.  This is likely largely because of a trying situation I encountered right after I started, but regardless, this feeling led me to spend a lot of time in my first years of ministry trying to accomplish things and produce results.

Of course, I know this is God's work that I am doing, but at the same time, there are people who like to know how you are using your time and that you are being "productive" with it.  It wasn't until recently that I realized how much I still get drawn into that mentality.

So with all this in mind, and without further ado, here is my friend Becca's insightful post.  You can find it, and more from Becca, at

I just had the most amazing epiphany.

I was thinking about how I fight against my daily to do list. Because in my head, and on paper, I have lots of things I'd like to get done. But the end of the day comes and sometimes things get done, but other days nothing is accomplished. I know I've been working all day because I'm tuckered out, but it's hard to know where the day went.

It's hard to not have measurable work. I don't really have much to show for a day, except for children that are still alive and enjoying a secure and happy childhood. And that is enough if I am in my right mind. But if I am in my wrong mind I can go a little batty with the undoing of all the things I'm doing. Like the dishes that need to be washed again because we dirtied them again. Or the laundry that needs to be put away or washed or a combination of both. Or the kitchen floor that was just swept and spot mopped but again has sticky spots and crushed cereal and flattened raisins.

At the end of the day there isn't a lot to show for my time. We live in this house and it shows.
So it dawned on me. My to do list is what I'd like to get done. But often the day has other plans for me. Like to help Ivar come off of his tantrum because he couldn't put his vest on by himself. Furious he cried because he could not reach that other arm hole and would not let me help. Or like how lunch got so messy it necessitated baths for both kids...and they ended up spilling lots of water on the bathroom floor. Or like how I made three meals that kept all bodies in the house healthy and happy. Or how, on an impulse, I finally made a phone call reconnecting with a friend long overdue.

The epiphany is that at the end of the day I should make a GOT DONE list.

My list would read like this:
-Helped Ivar work through his tantrum
-Cleaned bathroom floor and my children
-Made B, L and D for all
-Reconnected with friend

And I might add more:
-Unloaded and loaded dishwasher
-Carried a laundry basket upstairs full of clean clothes
-Carried a laundry basket downstairs full of dirty clothes
-Played Thomas the Train and made up a very clever plot line
-Fed and watered cats and chickens
-Built a fort out of couch cushions
-Put living room back together after bedtime routine

Does this make sense? None of these things would ever appear on my morning to do list. And yet it is so satisfying to see it all written out at the end of the day. I'm not sitting idle. I know that for sure. But I rarely have had anything to show for my days. Until now. The Got Done list changes everything.

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