Singing to my daughters at bedtime always energizes me in a very profound and special way. I have done it since the day they were born, and luckily at 8 ¾ and 10 ½ (those fractions are very important to them, so I better not leave them out!), they still let me sing to them. It is our nightly ritual, and to the best of my recollection, I have never missed it unless I was too sick with a cold. Because I sing to them only in German, it is a very special bonding moment, passing on the songs that my mother sang to me as a child. We were always a musical family, all of us playing a variety of instruments and singing. By singing to my daughters, I am passing on my culture and language, and we have formed a bond that only the three of us share. My heart especially swells up when they sing with me or sing for me. And no matter how crazy busy the day has been, I feel joyful and energized after I have sung to them.
Whether you are a parent or not, life tends to get very busy, and we have been learning this week about how to best allocate this precious commodity that is time. Love is the foundational tenet of what Jesus tried to teach us, and spending time with those whom we love is probably the most precious gift we can give them. We show our love by giving our time and choosing to be with someone because after all, there is only a finite amount of it in our lives. Would it not be wonderful if we could only do that—spend time with those we love? But, alas! Life will get in the way. Unfortunately, dinner does not cook itself, money does not magically appear in our bank account, school lunches do not pack themselves, and the dog does not take itself to the vet.
But the key to allocating time well—even when you are only considering the must-do tasks which are our responsibilities—is to remember that not all tasks are created equal.
But he replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.”
I am sure it was hard for Jesus to leave those who begged him to stay, but he recognized that he had the responsibility to also teach elsewhere. In living out his why, I bet that there were tasks that energized Jesus, some that were manageable, and others that were draining. I know that in my life, the tasks that I must complete to live out my why are not all equal.
If we recognize that some of our responsibilities are energizing, some are sustainable, and some are draining for us, we can utilize our limited time better. If you do not mind washing and folding laundry but hate changing bedding, but your spouse detests doing laundry but is neutral when it comes to putting on those fresh sheets (and appears not to be wrangling with the bedding like I tend to do), then the obvious solution is to allocate our joint responsibilities to fit with our individual likes and dislikes. This way we all end up energized, or at least not as drained.
I have also found that a draining task can be less draining when coupled with something you like—like folding a pile of laundry (with kids there are mountains!!) while catching up with your favorite Netflix show on your iPad.
Another thing I learned when I became a parent is to let go of the need for perfection and the need of full control over every aspect of life. Do not get me wrong, tasks need to be completed to a level that is required and necessary for sustained health, safety, and job security. But sometimes, we have a tendency to let a need for perfection ruin our lives and rob us of precious time that could be spent with loved ones. When you talk to people with terminal illnesses, they rarely agonize over not having had the perfect house, or the perfect career, or that expensive car. No one will wish toward the end of their life that they would have folded their laundry more perfectly or alphabetized their CDs. They realize that their time with those they love was the best gift from God in their lives, and that will be the only thing that they wish that they had had more of.
So, I choose to focus on the energy that singing to my kids gives me rather than bemoan the wrangling it sometimes takes to get them to bed. The time I get to spend with them makes all my responsibilities as a mother worthwhile.
What responsibilities in your life do you find energizing, sustainable, or draining? Which ones do you focus on? Could you trade or share the draining one with someone else? Could you couple them with a more energizing activity?
Make a list of all your tasks and categorize them as energizing, manageable, or draining. Identify them as a responsibility or a concern. Once you have identified the things that are responsibilities, look at how much time you really need to spend on the draining ones to achieve an acceptable standard. Organize your responsibilities so that energizing ones are intermixed with the draining ones to keep you going.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for making some of my responsibilities energizing so that they may help me through the draining ones. Thank you for the gift of time you give me with my loved ones and please help me to prioritize my life so that I may recognize what is truly important and what is really not when I decide how to allocate my time. Please give me the strength to accept some imperfection and let go of my desire to control everything so that I may spend my time wisely. Amen.
This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Lutheran church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters and a wonderful man who loves the Lord.
Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?
We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!