Have you ever been driving to a place where you had never been and you turn down the radio in the car so that you can concentrate? That’s how I have felt for the last 10 months or so. I have added good and important things to my life this year, and I just didn’t feel that I had the emotional capacity to handle anything extra. I chose to turn down the “noise” in my life. I reduced the volume of activities with which our family participated, and I even reduced our friends’ expectations of our availability during this season. I went into “power-saving mode” like my phone does when it has low battery and is still trying to run at optimal levels.
The result has been good.
There were several things that we knew we wanted to implement in our family, and it has taken concentration as we form new habits. The newness has been wrapped around the idea of Structure, Discipline, and Self-Control– some things that God has been talking to us about for a few years, but we had only taken baby steps in that direction and we felt that the time was NOW to make some more dramatic changes.
“Structure”, “Discipline”, and “Self-Control” sound like buzzkill words. They normally do not evoke positive feelings. For us, however, they were solutions. Ever since we had our first child (over 12 years ago!) I relished the freedom of ejecting from “normal” life. Our schedule was free-form and tailored to fit our stage of life. It carried us through pregnancies, life with toddlers, and late nights with church events. We had flexibility and used it to the max. The downside, unfortunately, was that we also had chaos. Yuck. We had moved so far away from mainstream that we also had stopped honoring order.
The fruit of that bad decision was everywhere. I was internally agitated and verbally frustrated that 4 children plus 2 adults didn’t just automatically clean up after themselves, or want to eat the healthiest food, or want to challenge their minds by reading the world’s best books. I wanted goodness to spring up everywhere… even where I hadn’t planted it. I wanted all of the fruit of excellence, without any of the hard work to create it. Needless to say, it was not working out that way, and we knew we had to make a change. As we asked God what we should do in order to feel more grace and beauty in our life, He taught us to add Structure, Discipline, and Self-Control.
You see, God’s not afraid of chaos, but He doesn’t leave things there. He always cultivates beauty.
God helped us to grow a distaste for chaos. We were so frustrated with the disorder that we were finally willing to make a change. He showed us how delightful it can be to add order to our days, our home, and our mindsets. As we started asking God for wisdom, He helped us adjust our thought processes, and we have been able to make some big changes. Healthy changes. Fun changes. Rewarding changes.
In the last year: our house has been tidy more consistently than ever, our homeschooling success went through the roof, we added weekly video hangouts to our FB FanPage, and I started a hobby/ side hustle (buying and selling used books… I’m in LOVE with it!). All of this while we’ve maintained the ground that we’ve fought hard for: love and kindness in our home, love and service outside of our home, and ever-improving communication.
I raised my level of what was acceptable, and the whole family has risen to the challenge. It started with God helping me to hope and to think bigger than I had before. There were solutions that I couldn’t see when I wasn’t willing to change. As soon as I opened the door to change, the solutions flooded in.
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me everywhere I go” Psalm 23:6
All of that to say, power-saving mode was a necessity in the midst of so many changes. Now that these have been implemented, we’re ready to run at full capacity. Bring it!
Oh- and one more thing- these scriptures came to my mind while I was writing this today. Feel free to read them and be encouraged to go next level in wisdom and beauty and order in your own life.
- The idea that something old has to pass away before something new can come John 12:24 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+12:24
- The wisdom of God shows up in every area of your life, when you seek it. Solomon’s wisdom was so renowned that royals came from other lands (The Queen of Sheba!) and were even impressed with the way that his table was set. Our life can be full of wisdom, beauty, and awe too. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+kings+10&version=VOICE
- Partnering with God’s wisdom actually gives you an advantage in life. Daniel and his friends followed promptings from the Lord, and the result was that they were propelled 10 times further than others in the status quo https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=daniel+1&version=VOICE
What’s something that you have hesitated to implement?? Or something that you have recently implemented?? Comment below!