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Goal Setting for the Overwhelmed

tea cup on horizon 
Dear Readers, It’s time for Tuesday Tea and I’m so looking forward to visiting with you this morning! Please do get your cups and tea…and pull up a seat. :o) I’d like to talk about what to do when you find yourself overwhelmed with too much to do..and perhaps little desire to do it.
 
If you would like to link up your tea cups, tea and your own posts about what is on your heart today, please feel free to join us at the end of this post. Just be sure to mention Tuesday Tea and link back here in your post. I’ll be sure to drop by over the course of the day. :o) 

For all of us, I think that there are times when we feel overwhelmed by our lives. When that happens, it’s really hard to do anything at all. So it probably seems crazy to discuss goal setting in this situation.  I was in that exact place just last year. I’ve been wanting to share about a really amazing transformation that has taken place in my life since then.

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Six months ago..I was overwhelmed…completely. I couldn’t focus and I couldn’t seem to move forward. I woke up most mornings feeling an indefinable foreboding..like I was about to be swamped..but by what, exactly, I was not certain.  I felt guilt over a million undone tasks and like I was permanently behind. So I distracted myself by doing things that made me ‘feel happy’.  Not consciously of course, but looking back, that is what I did. 

The solution to this situation isn’t ‘fun’ but it IS simple..and it works. It isn't as easy as making a list  of goals or New Year’s resolutions…they don’t work at a time like this. I simply needed to change my focus from the ‘optionals’ in life like hobbies, TV, blogging, home re-do’s and repairs, shopping etc, to the BASICS of life like food, clothes, money, and a clean home.

  In other words, I needed to start doing what I ‘ought’to do
before doing what I ‘wanted” to do.

Not that you can’t ever have fun, but it can’t take priority over the basic needs of you, your spouse, and your children. All you get when you do that is GUILT and lots of it! The natural result is depression..plain and simple.

The Lord very gently showed me this, one morning when I woke up feeling bad..yet again. There was a lot of tension and stress each day, bills not getting paid, last minute sketchy dinners etc. No one was really happy. Yes, my father had passed away only a short time earlier..and I was doing double duty on paperwork..trying to maintain two sets of finances..and traveling so much that I could barely unpack..and sometimes didn’t before heading off to the next trip with my son. No one felt I wasn’t working hard enough or trying hard enough.  But when I had spare time..I just kind of checked out for the rest of the day. Relationships become strained when we are not brave enough to say NO to overcommitment..or even to ourselves and our ‘ideals’.
When life gets that tough, something has to go.
You can’t just keep on without making adjustments.

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If you are in a similar situation, you really need to sit down with your spouse or a good friend and take stock. What can be changed about your scenario?  Perhaps you need to give up cooking all organic from scratch meals…for a season..and buy some pre-cooked stuff. Perhaps hubby needs to take over the bills..like mine did. (It made no sense for me to do both while on the road.) Sometimes we aren’t willing to give over any of our responsibilities because we are afraid ‘they’ won’t do it right. But we are talking survival! 

Another thing that surprised me was when I also realized that my heart was not in my home. I’d begun to find too much pleasure and satisfaction in my hobbies..bloggy friends…and pleasing others when they asked for this favor or that at the expense of my responsibilities.  I felt like that song from ages ago "Torn between two lovers.."  I was frustrated with never getting to do  the things I 'loved' but then felt awful about not caring for my home the way I truly wanted to at the same time. So I ended up doing both 'sides' of life poorly.


The Lord finally showed me that my family needed me and that was my first priority. As I was praying, I got this crazy idea. What if I decided to dedicate my whole self..talents, abilities, energy, creativity..just to being a good wife and mom..and to maintaining our home? What would happen? Well..heaven happened..that’s what!
I began to make the basics my PRIORITY instead of an after thought.. I focused on doing things WELL instead of always getting things done with just a ‘lick and a polish’. 
 
The guilt was soon gone…the awful sense of foreboding…the pressure.. It all just vanished in only a few short days. I knew in my heart that these were the tasks that I had ‘signed’ up for. And when I didn’t do them well, I felt like a failure. When I began to give my heart and focus back to the things I felt I OUGHT to do..I suddenly felt peace and joy. And amazingly, I began to catch up.
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There is no better feeling than being able to face the ‘unexpected’ in life with plenty of groceries in the fridge, clean clothes in the drawers,  money in the bank, and a clean shiny sink! 

 I got a calendar and filled it in with the kids appointments and hubby’s  schedule so I wouldn’t keep being unprepared for what was coming up each day.  When there was extra time, I made a list of the MAJOR tasks that needed handling, things that would soon be a crisis if not dealt with. One by one, as a ‘love offering’ to the Lord and my family, I tackled those things. Soon, I was feeling confident, happy, and focused. And then..one day..I had T-I-M-E! Time to sew, and even quilt without guilt. But I also found myself finding more satisfaction in my job as a homemaker and sheer joy at being able to develop deeper and more loving relationship with my husband and children.

I hope my story helps you just a bit. It isn’t fun to find yourself in this place..but the Lord can get us out of it, if we are willing to listen to the things he’s saying to us..there on the backburner of our minds and hearts. I think you know what I mean. :o)

Thanks so much to Faith, Hope, and Cherrytea for sharing her Teacup exchange with us last week. I sent mine off yesterday before the new cold front came in. I can't wait to show you my new cup from Kim. :o)


Tracie at Fishtail Cottage showed us the most lovely tea cup I have ever seen..isn't it gorgeous!And Rayanne told another sweet story about a little girls tea party...I loved this invitation..priceless!   Thanks too, to a new friend, C. of The Bird's Nest who shared from her heart about the difficulties of finding time for 'tea' with little ones in tow all day. How I remember those days! Thanks to all of you who commented and encouraged me last week at our little 'tea party'. You bless me much more than I do you!!
    Do let me know if there is any way I can pray for you today…

Linking to Raising Homemakers Wednesday Link Up 
and Brent Rigg's Linky Tools (Another blogging 'mentor'..Thanks Brent!)

Psalm 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delights in his way. Though he fall--he shall not be utterly cast down--for the Lord upholds him with his right hand.

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10 comments:

The Clip Cafe said...

Hi Donna thanks for your msg. It is actually 4.29am Wednesday here in Australia! Yes I am up early (haven't actually gone to bed yet....) I normally do "My Wonderful WIP" on Tuesday as Wednesday is when I mostly link to Wordless wednesday so I am actually a day late (it being Wednesday morning here) :-) I will link up to your tea party when I get a minute :-) I must run and get some sleep before the sun comes up!

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

luved the transparency Donna & have to entirely agree i've been there too! living intentionally is a choice. i'd rather make that choice than drifting or anesthetizing... thx for posting!
also, pls add FHC as another blog where you're listed ~ you're in the Traders page for the TeaCup Trade! as well as when you link for your Valentine TeaCup package!! whoohoo ")

Over Yonder said...

I'm here! I do not have time to post right now (ironic) but will be back later when the kids are in bed.

Ky said...

Donna, thank you so much for this post. Reading how you felt a year ago is like reading about myself right now. Time for me to get down on my knees and ask for encouragement and motivation.
I love that teacup that you had several photos of. Its so beautiful and the one that you bought that goes with your pitcher is exquisite. Such beautiful things to brighten up the days.


I love your heart Donna. xx

Fishtail Cottage said...

Oh, thank you for featuring me....so sweet of you! Hugs!

Lady Katherine said...

Love your teacup, and adore your chocolate pot!

Teri said...

Dear Donna...thank you for coming by my "little space" today...thank you for the kind comment! I enjoyed all that you have shared in your posting...praying that you continue to feel content and not overwhelmed! I have missed you and look forward to browsing your "space"...such a pretty and comfy place to come to! Hugs ♥ Teri

Floss said...

Hello - I'm fascinated by this, some of which reflects my own story. Over the last year, God used a lot of surprising books and blogs(surprising in that they weren't Christian, basically) to re-focus my life in a similar way.

I used to do a lot of church work and feel depressed that my church life was mega-organised but my home was messy. I used to feel I had to keep it tidy just so that church (and other) people wouldn't judge me. When God showed me that I could keep it looking good just for me and my family, and who cares what anyone else thinks, it got tidier and better cared-for straight away! It's a funny old life...

Between you, me and the Fencepost said...

Donna, You have a gift. When I read the title of your post I was expecting another 'list' of things to do that really, in the end are useless and trite (you know what I'm talking about if you've ever picked up a copy of the latest 'Good Housekeeping' magazine)

Interesting when overwhelm happens there are always 'good' reasons to be overwhelmed and check out - I deserve it, right? Your answer to the overwhelm hits home with me. I want to say more but my little guy wants dinner now . . . and I wanted to quickly say thank you for another amazing tuesday 'tea' post.

Trudy Callan said...

This is an amazing post. Donna I really appreciate how you share all of the little details of life and are so honest. I think you have the most helpful blog I have ever read. You have a true ministry. I am going to really try to apply this to my life.

“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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