I have a solution that may help when you’re discouraged and overwhelmed by all you have to do and feeling like you’re just spinning your wheels!
Is this you at the end of the day? Are you exhausted? Are you discouraged? Do you feel like you’re just barely keeping your head above water? Are you asking yourself, “What did I accomplish today”?
There is hope!!
I have had so many of those days. I came up with a solution. It has helped me so much as I look back on my day and realize that I got a lot more done than I would have thought. It inspires me to go on, that tomorrow is another day and I will accomplish even more while keeping my priorities in order.
There are many seasons of our lives. One of my favorite passages of scripture is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
“For everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to cast away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent, and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.”
There are so many different seasons of our lives. Some busier and more stressful than others. When counseling women in the church over the years, so many would come to me feeling so overwhelmed by their circumstances, usually while their kids were young; especially if they had children with special needs or health issues, they had a lot of children, or they were homeschooling moms. The best advice I could give them at the time was, “it’s just a season, your life won’t always be as hectic as it is now. Try to enjoy your children when they are young; it really goes so fast. Before you know it, they are adults and out of the house.”
I don’t mean to trivialize anyone’s situation. If you are on the verge of despair, only God can give you the grace to go on. Read my blog post entitled “the God who sees”.
Whatever your situation is, it is a season that our loving God has ordained.
One day after I was praying, (more like crying out to God), asking Him if my life will always be overwhelming, a thought came to me. It was an idea that has helped me so much.
Actually, it’s pretty simple; it probably would have been a big help to me years ago.
I use a planner.
I haven’t found one that’s exactly what I want, but this is the one I use:
It’s a good size, not too big, not too small. I write in it twice a day, once in the morning and once at the end of the day.
This is a sample page:
First column: Goals
Notice, I chose one that has 2 columns. I renamed the columns to achieve my purpose. I crossed out what they had and I made the first column “goals”. Each column has 7 lines. I find this is a perfect amount. At the beginning of each day, I write down seven goals I have for the day in order of priority. I have some practical goals (such as do 2 loads of laundry), some spiritual goals (such as read Psalms and Proverbs) and some personal goals (such as spend time with Leah).
Your goals shouldn’t be unreasonable; you’ll get discouraged when you don’t meet them. Everyone’s goals are different, but it’s basically what you want to accomplish TODAY!
When my children were little, my goals were very different than they are now. It was a season of my life that without God’s grace, I wouldn’t have been able to function at all. I had 5 children in seven years, was a pastor’s wife, and had 2 children with severe health issues (seven open heart surgeries between them), one with neurological issues as well, and I was homeschooling. During that time, my daily goals were: making sure all my kids were dressed, fed, and got their medicine! Anything more than that was a bonus. My house was never clean, my makeup never made it to my face, and I hardly ever got out of the house except for hospital or doctor visits and church. I knew I couldn’t expect to get anything else done; it just wasn’t going to happen.
Second column: What I accomplished
I crossed out the heading in the second column and named it “what I accomplished”. In this particular planner/organizer, there are circles which I check off as I accomplish the goals I want to meet. Then there are 7 lines which I also write in when I’ve done something significant (for me) but wasn’t on my original list of goals.
At the end of the day, when I check off the goals I met, write in some other things I got done, and look it over, I am so encouraged. I think we accomplish a lot more than we think we do on a day-to-day basis. This system has helped me so much in the following ways:
I am encouraged that I met my goals and accomplished some things I had wanted to.
I find I am much more focused when I prioritize what I need to do each day.
I feel like I am getting things done and making progress rather than just putting out fires all day.
I can look back over the week and see what I got done, which inspires me to keep going.
Don’t be too hard on yourself! Look at what you HAVE done and not what you haven’t.
I hope this was a help to someone who may feel discouraged and defeated like I have so many times.
And remember, if you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to today, get some rest, tomorrow is another day:
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning,
great is Your faithfulness”.