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Time Management: Interruptions can be Memorable Moments!

Hmmm...According to my daughter-in-law, Elisabeth, this is a picture of her 1 yr. old daughter 'helping' her pack for their move to a new home. Somehow, I don't think this kind of packing help was part of her 'plan' for the day. But it illustrates the secret to enjoying life now, instead of waiting until you get , the perfect day,  house, season in life, or  income to do so.  What did you plan to do today?  Did it go the way you planned?
Mom..will you help me with the homework? Mom, will you drive me to town?--I want to talk. Mom, the honor society is meeting tomorrow..and I'm supposed to help! Honey, did you call the auto place? Could you pick up the truck for me? Hey Dad, Can we go fishing tonight?


It took me the longest time to realize that interruptions were God's way of letting me know what I was 'supposed' to be doing versus what I had 'planned' to do.  Elisabeth didn't plan to clean up papers, white paint, etc while packing for her move...but the Lord did. He taught her the most important lesson a mom can ever learn.  Those interruptions..were no surprise to Him..just to her. They were what the day was really all about in the first place.  So she took a picture...aren't you glad she did?
Somehow, in life it seems that things never go quite according to plan. I didn't 'plan' to babysit a granddaughter while homeschooling my last two children.  My husband didn't 'plan' for Hurricane Ike.  But I'm so glad that I was flexible enough to work with the situations as they arose and to try to 'rise' to the occasion.  Tuesday's with Lena were absolutely precious. Hurricane Ike taught us lessons we could not have learned any other way. Caring for my Dad for three weeks before he passed away..aninterruption?--You bet! An appointment from our Heavenly Father?--Absolutely! Those moments are cherished ones...that I wouldn't trade for the world!
Proper Priorities...the Key to Time Management

According to the Experts

Most of the time, when you read about time management, and I've read lots of books on this subject, they emphasize the importance of not allowing 'interruptions' in your life.  They suggest all kinds of quirky ways to avoid or derail anyone who dares interfere with whatever that important thing is that you are wanting to do.  Invariably, they send a strong message--your projects are more important than any person. In fact, their message is almost universally focused on yourself at the expense of everyone else. I have to say that I totally disagree with that!

Interruptions are God's Appointments

 I like what Elisabeth Elliott said instead, "Interruptions are God's appointments". They are the Lord deciding what you are going to do  for the day, rather than you deciding."The best things I've ever done, the most meaningful moments I have ever experienced, have been things I didn't plan for.  If you will decide, that this setback or interruption, is what the day was all about in the first place, then you can accomplish what the Lord really wants you to with a right attitude and it will matter more in the long run than anything you had planned to do.

Getting Sidetracked
I feel like I am the worst possible person to talk about the  subject of time management unless you want to know how I get back on track when I find myself having fallen off the deep end and buried with too much to do.  I tend to be one of those type A's who can't stop doing whatever it is that they are into, until it's done and done well.  It's all or nothing with me, apart from the Lord's grace. My pastor once described me as the 'energizer bunny' because when I was focused on helping our small church function well and smoothly, I never tired of doing so. There was no job too small that I was not willing to do it.  You can count on me for help and enthusiasm, misplaced or otherwise. The result of a focus like that is obvious...burnout! And that's just what happened.  I'm amazed how quickly I forget that I don't need to do everything that needs to be done. I need to wait on God's 'assignments'. Those things I am uniquely qualified to do.  If I do it all..then other people miss their chance to do what God designed them to do.


Saying No to Good Things
One famous Christian leader once said that " the Good is often the enemy of the Best." There are many good things that we can do and would like to do with our time--so many that we could never do them in our lifetime!!! We have to choose the best things--the right things. (Our husbands are the most objective people to give us feedback on this subject!) Mary, according to the bible, chose the better thing. She chose to sit at Jesus feet, rather than wash dishes when he was over to visit. 
She knew, what we need to learn. We have to learn to say NO to good things, in order to say YES to the right things, which are determined by our own consciences, choices and seasons of life.

Out of Balance
For me personally, my biggest downfall is focusing too much time and effort on one area of my life to the exclusion of other areas. (And I suspect I'm not the only one with this problem!) When I'm blogging..I can never seem to get the posts just right or the blog just right. Or if the house is a mess, I'll start cleaning and that's all I want to do for the next three days--so hubby better run to Pizza Hut or everyone is going to go hungry! And if I'm sewing...well without intervention, I might never come up for air!  Now, honestly, most of the time, my conscious kicks in and I keep a happy balance, but the danger is always there for me!


 Thank goodness I have three very happy noisy interrupters (a.k.a. teenagers)  who want me to read their speeches, cut their hair, watch a movie with them, or go to town..just for the ride. They keep me from getting too focused on my own projects or 'responsibilities'. What I'd do without them I don't know!

Getting Back on Track
My husband is a patient saint in my opinion.  When he finds me buried in a closet, bleary eyed in front of the computer or surrounded by scraps of fabric,  he just very politely asks,  'Did the kids do school today ?  Do we have any clean socks?...What's the plan for dinner? Is there any money left?  He keeps me focused in a way that only a steady quiet man can do... politely.  When I see him run a load of underwear or start washing dishes, I know some project has probably gone on longer than it should have. But long before that,  the Lord is quietly poking at me in the back of my conscious saying, "Donna..are you doing the 'right' thing?..or just a 'good' thing?" 

He's the best reminder I could ever ask for. I wish I could say that I don't need reminding, but sadly that is just not the case. I'm a happy-go-lucky, take life by the reins, and say Giddup! Let's go! kind of person. Without a proper focus, I'm like lightning..lots of energy and no direction". (Sidetracked Home Executives)  I may be a 'type A' person by nature, but the Lord put people in my life to keep from burning out. Those people, husband, friends, children, grandchildren, and parents, keep me from getting to 'self' focused help me to stop and 'smell the roses'.

Today is too good to waste by worrying or getting frustrated about what you didn't get done. Let's celebrate what we did get done, knowing that was the plan all along!  Live in the NOW!

Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.





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8 comments:

Christi L. said...

These pictures are WONDERFUL. Feels like home! Thanks Donna! :-)

Colleen said...

Donna! What a blast from the past with those pictures of a 5-year-old Emma! Great post!

Donna said...

I am SO glad you all like this! I've been working on my 'look'. I've got a darling picture that I"m just about to add to the sidebar of Joshua swinging on a rope. I plan to use more of those GCC pictures just because they really reflect my theme of coming home. Colleen! I miss you!!

Christi I miss you too and also want to send you a package. Can you email me at homemaking@eastex.net?

Anita said...

Great thoughts, Donna.

~ Maria ~ said...

Oh Donna, what a handsome couple you two make :-)

I feel the same way you do. My day is planned out early in the morning, and then God's appointments sneak in and I must stop and take notice!

I no longer worry if things don't get done...I pray about everything and then let HIM lead :)

Blessings dear friend,

Maria

antmee said...

What a lovely post! Before I read your post I had planned on spending the day at home cleaning and trying to finish some unfinished projects. Then my daughter rang to ask me to take her to the real estate agents and be with her while she applies for a home. I was a bit strung out after wards as everyday I have had spare from work for the last few weeks my daughter has rung up asking me to help her with stuff like shopping, etc. My own life and home is unravelling and I am starting to come down with some form of illness.

But after reading your post I am going to stop/ listen and be with my daughter and be thankful of the opportunities I get to spending more time with her.

Donna said...

Antmee, I'm glad that my post encouraged you to spend more time with your daughter, but on the other hand, it is reasonable to say NO now and then, even to our daughters (I have one too.) We just don't want to get so focused on our own busy lives, that we never say Yes. Don't string yourself on my account. :o)

The key word is balance. We have to know in our hearts what is too much and what is too little. That's why I encourage you to run it by hubby. They are usually way more objective than we are. And too the Lord is good to give us a little check now and then.

Blessings!

Autumn said...

Wow, reading this blog post was definitely not on my to do list this morning. Somehow in the midst of all my busyness (getting ready for our baby boy to come this December) I stumbled across your site and was intrigued by your post title, so I thought I'd read a little.

Thank you for taking the time to write what you did. I definitely needed to hear this message today and to keep this in mind in the days ahead.

:) Autumn

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster
Welcome to Comin' Home! If you lived nearby, I'd invite you over to my neck of the woods for a nice long chat and a cup of tea out on the deck. But since we can't do that, I hope you'll stay and look around. I love learning new things and sharing what I learn with friends. Comin' Home is where I share tips from my many projects. Let's have some fun together! XO Donna

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