It’s still a journey. Today I made two pies for Thanksgiving and am working on a stew for tonight’s meal. Along with cleaning the kitchen, I want to wash the floors and clean the bathrooms. That doesn’t include the menu for the next two weeks and the shopping list to go with it. I would like to work on some Christmas gift projects too. Oh wait! I also have a three-month old to feed and clean up after, an elderly cat that needs to be fed several times a day, and I can’t forget to feed myself and stay hydrated. I almost forgot the baby laundry that needs folding.
All of these things matter to me – the things I must do and the things I just want to do (like writing this blog). I would like to do all of them, but that just doesn’t seem possible. It frustrates me that self-denial often means seeing my to-do list get longer and longer. It’s exhausting trying to mange my time and energy in the most efficient way. What it comes down to is that I still have a personality that wants to exceed my expectations; when I exceed one, I set the next even higher. I desire pristine: a pristinely clean house, a pristinely completed to-do list, pristinely cared for pets, husband, and baby. I haven’t adapted to “interruptions” from a child or a waning supply of energy. It leaves me feeling so disappointed with myself at the end of the day.
After talking with a few different people about this struggle of mine, I see how simplicity can apply here too, in the form of grace. The standards and expectations I have set for myself and each day need to be replaced with grace. When I don’t get everything done, or do, but not in the way I prefer, I must apply grace: grace that lets me breathe between tasks; grace that lets me snuggle my husband in the morning; grace that lets me bask in my son’s smiles and coos after his feedings; grace that lets me love on my old kitty throughout the day.
Truthfully, these are the moments that matter more to my heart than anything else. I don’t want circumstances to negatively affect my relationships; that is what happens when I become angry, frustrated, or tired from being busy with many things. Instead, my relationships should influence how I do my other things. What a joy to clean the bathrooms and floors so that my husband feels comfortable at home. What a delight to make carefully planned meals that he can savor. And remember when I couldn’t wait to wash my little one’s laundry because that meant I had a little one? This is giving myself grace for today and in the process is extending grace to my loved ones as well.
Jesus, please show me how to reorient my thinking so that grace can flow freely through my life. Thank you for being the perfect example of grace.
Maybe the floors and bathrooms can wait.