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Monday, October 20, 2008

Endurance


This is my second post on redeeming time in my life. Click here to get up to speed.

"For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." (Romans 8:20-21)

With four children, life can be rather trying at times. Actually with laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework, carpool, playdates and practices it can be downright exhausting.

I can work steadily in the house all day long and still have dustbunnies, unfolded laundry and only a semi-healthy plan for dinner. Add a few real estate deals, PTO, grocery shopping and weekly Bible studies on top of this and you've got a recipe for major frustration.

This year I've been very frustrated with my schedule. I prayed and prayed about it. Loaded it the way I felt God calling and have felt frustrated ever since. Since spending many weeks meditating on Romans 6, 7 and 8, I have learned to embrace frustration as a way to become mature in my faith. That is, when I'm at the end of myself, I ask God to impart more of himself to me.

Let me explain how this played out in my daily life.

I have to write everything down on my calendar. I'm not neat and color coded with pretty pastel highlighters. I scribble one thing on top of another scratching out as I go, accommodating a crazy schedule and wanting to do more than I should as one person. Andrew recently started reading my calendar each evening for entertainment. It is that.

Seriously, it says stuff like 6-6:45 AM take shower. I timeblock everything from getting dressed and going to the gym to folding laundry and making phone calls. It works.

I have discovered that one of the easiest ways to reduce stress and frustration is to give myself a wide margin. I schedule at least twenty minutes to transition from one activity to another. I write down meetings thirty minutes before they start and add traveling time to each calendar entry.

Because I have been going tirelessly from the time I get up in the mornings until the time I go to bed at night, I have begun to realize this margin should include getting up in the mornings and how I schedule my time with the Lord each morning.

Ooooh. I am not a "morning person." I like to sleep a little later than 6:00 AM. As a matter of fact, I think 7:30 is a great time to get up in the morning. However, that is just not a reality. I have been getting up at 6 or 6:30 regularly. When school started, I began rising at 5:40 each day. My heart would immediately start racing as soon as my eyes opened in the morning. Yuck. I hate that feeling. Even when I've just gotten out of bed I already feel defeated.

Starting my morning with ten deep, relaxing breaths is not my idea of a great day!

I still needed more time. Time to sit in God's presence. Extended time to read and study the Bible. Time to spend in contemplative prayer. More time. But when? How? I began crying out to God on an even greater level. My friends who walk with me know how long I've asking God for more time.

My natural tendency is to stay up later. By 6:30 PM these days it's all I can do to get dinner on and off the table, baths, homework, bedtime prayers, etc. There is nothing left.

A few weeks ago as I was driving to football practice declaring a hiatus on Miley Cyrus for the next twelve hours, I had a thought. Somewhere in the middle of running a race the runner gets tired. Too tired to turn back, he's come too far. Too tired to speed up for the ending's not yet in sight. But by enduring another mile, another leg of the race, another minute of pain, a new level of endurance is reached. By pushing through the threshold, the runner challenges himself by pushing the limit thus forming a new limit. Endurance.

This is key for victorious living.

Endurance.

Tired and thinking I couldn't go on yet knowing I had to finish my day well. This is the current marathon. Pushing through the evening hour to rest would give me the endurance I'd been crying out for. With a new level of endurance would come the runner's high I'd been craving.

Energy.

Focus.

Ability to get things done.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)
Stay tuned to find out how endurance and time look in my life today.

3 comments:

Angie Love said...

Funny...I hadn't read your post and the beginning of the one I just wrote had to do with my schedule! The rest was different and you will need tissues to read it...trust me.

Oh...lol...you are a follower of Helen's blog and not mine! ;-) Love you and love that you love my sister!

Renee said...

This topic sure hits home and is a familiar one to me!

One thing, though, that the Lord is really using in my fight for endurance is that I am finally learning to ask Him for it instead of trying to "make it happen" myself.

Oh what lessons of humility there are in this exhausting life, huh?

Hugs!

Mom of Many said...

I about cried out with laughter when I saw that you schedule "shower time". My husband has made fun of me for putting that on my schedule too. I am not the only one! I am learning to be content and joyful by choice even amidst a hectic schedule. Thanks for being so honest. I am right there with you! ; ) I love how God shows us we are not alone in this.