Sunday, September 11, 2011

One of the "drafts" I keep adding too: This one's on stress/priorities

We were driving up to the So You Think You Can Dance Canada concert, me, my sister-in-law Alli (one of my all time top favorite people in the universe, no exaggeration), and my brother-in-law Sammy, cuz he's cool like that and is a SYTYCD fan (yes ladies, he's single, so line your little sisters up now!) Something was changing with Aaron's therapy or school, meaning I was trying to make decisions and was being stressed, and I complained, I just wish I could go like a week without some major decision to make about Aaron.  Sam looked at me and called my bluff. "Chelsea, " he said in his wise beyond his years voice,
 "If it wasn't Aaron's stuff YOU would find something to stress about."

And he's right.
But I'm not. I realize we live in a world that makes busy-ness = importance. And it's not true. 

Pres Uchdoft tells it like it is:
Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increase frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.

I've been thinking about stress. In preparation for my trip to Idaho (back in July), in which I'd be driving alone with my kids for 8 hours, I downloaded a bunch of talks of the BYU sites. I listened to them on the drive, and have returned a few times to them. Most of them have to do with
Clearing emotional clutter.
Establishing priorities.

Gaining focus, and detecting distraction.

In one talk I've listened to a few times, she said

"Our busy-ness can be subtle form of procrastination,
keeping us from doing what we know we should."

Let read that again:
"Our busy-ness can be subtle form of procrastination, 
keeping us from doing what we know we should."

This was also a great article:
Unclutter your life

But this quote made the refrigerator...

Sister Beck General Relief Society Meeting 2009 :
"One of the most precious commodities we all have is time. Most women have many responsibilities and never have sufficient time to do everything their hearts and minds want to do.

She goes on to quote President Dieter F. Uchtdorf : “A wise man once distinguished between ‘the noble art of getting things done’ and ‘a nobler art of leaving things undone.’ True ‘wisdom in life,’ he taught, consists of ‘the elimination of non-essentials.’” President Uchtdorf then asked: “What are the nonessential things that clutter your days and steal your time? What are the habits you may have developed that do not serve a useful purpose? What are the unfinished or unstarted things that could add vigor, meaning, and joy to your life? 5

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives."  Pres. Benson 1988

I started writing this in Summer, and now that it's back to school (and I spent 40 minutes doing paper work--with only ONE kid in school even!) the idea of thinking about the stress of a busy life and determining the musts in life is feeling even more appealing, and needed. 

I read this in the Ensign this afternoon (an article by Julie B Beck, can't believe it took me so long to get to, musta been busy;)

We live in increasingly challenging times and are surrounded by beliefs and practices that could detract us from our eternal goal. Because we as women have great influence on those around us, we must do all we can to keep ourselves spiritually strong.... Every day we are given the opportunity to make choices that will increase our faith and strengthen our families. Over 60 years ago, Belle S. Spafford, our ninth Relief Society general president, asked sisters to appraise their interests, evaluate their activities, and simplify their lives by doing those things that would be most enduring, thus ridding themselves of less rewarding activities.3 
I love this idea of sorting through (we've all sorted threw junk and stuff, discarding and simplifying) but to do it to our lives!
Sister Beck in a BYU Woman's Conference gives 3 categories to sort out our time and efforts.
( I've shared these with lots of my friends, so here they are again guys!)

1. Essentials
  I asked, “What has to go in the category of essential?” What things must be taken care of, and if I don’t take care of them, the blessings of eternal life won’t be mine nor will they be my family’s.

On the top of her list was revelation. I think that's because if we go to Lord each day and receive, we will know what work of salvation needs doing. 

Because revelation is dynamic and changes along with the Lord's knowledge of us.
Today in Relief Society we were discussing Temple Work. 
Right around the time we were really starting to get Aaron's therapies all established (still reeling form the emotional ramifications of hi diagnosis), and simultaneously adjusting to being a mother of two, I was serving as a Relief Society teacher, and I kid you not like 4 or 5 lessons in a row were on redeeming the dead/temple work/ family history. I believe that obedience brings power to your testimony of principles and so I longed onto Family search and gave it a whirl. If you had asked me at the beginning of the year what I felt would be good coping strategies for a difficult year, pretty sure I would not of said "genealogy". But the Lord knew. He knew, I needed to have something I felt in control of (as my life and son's progression seemed out of my control), something I could feel a sense of accomplishment and permanence with (cuz everything I did, cleaning, feeding changing, seemed to un-do itself remarkable fast!) He knew I needed the power of the Temple and to feel the strength and support of my ancestors. He knew I needed to cry as I read the dates children dying in infancy to awaken the gratitude in my heart. He knew I needed to feel a sense of purpose and service. He knew all along that in the end I would look back and feel that the work of salvation I participated in actually saved me! 

And then quietly in the temple one day, He whispered, "Time for a change of focus" and gave me a new assignment. (I must have been getting too addicted, I did a little this morning and looked up and we had twenty minutes to get to church and I hadn't even showered or dressed any of the kids!)

There was a comment about guilt right after I briefly shared this experience, and I truly hope I didn't come off the wrong way, there are times and seasons, yes, but through that experience I realized ONLY the Lord knows what "season" we need, when. I never would have thought a young mom like me could find solace in family history, but He did.

2. Necessities We all know all too well that the dishes and laundry and groceries just need to get done. I will forever love my mother-in-law for teaching me when she had to go back to work that she missed the mundane of housework, her body could be busy, but her mind was free to ponder.  In the right Spirit, bathing the kids, can take on a spiritual element, comforting a crying toddler transforms into the building of compassion and charity, being patient during a crazy dinner hour becomes the purifier of your soul. 
Everyday life becomes part of eternal realms.

3. "Nice to do"s  
The third category has to do with the nice-to-do things. Those are crafts and hobbies and recreational reading and movies and travel and lunches with friends. A lot of women call this “time out.” These things won’t save us. They add variety to our lives, but they won’t save us. When our priorities are on that list, and our time is devoted to those nice-to-do things, our priorities are out of order,
and we lose power.
To walk with the Lord, we have to know what is essential, what is necessary, and what is nice to do. There is a lot to do, but I find that it is amazing how much I get to do on my nice-to-do list. The Lord blesses us with those mercies, but only if the other priorities are in order.

Order. I remember reading one lady's thoughts on the scriptures endorsing a "house of order". She had assumed that essentially meant all of heaven's closets were nicely organized.
What she came to realize was Heaven's order was an order of doing the most important things.
We don't read our scripture to get it out of the way, or even so everything will magically fit ( we've all seen the priorities visual aid). Sometimes it doesn't all fit, and it's not suppose to.
Sometimes we have to decide, this is important, this is eternal, this is what God would choose, and what He's inspiring me to choose!

Sometimes it's not even my schedule that's too busy, it's my mind, my emotions that get all clogged up, and out of focus.

And in the end, what can I do?
I can pray.
I can pray to know, "Lord what would Thou have me do (and not do?), what would Thou have me think (and not think), what would Thou would have me feel (and not waste my energy feeling!)"

Julie B beck has said "life is not clam for most woman"
I pray that amidst our un-calm lives, our hearts can be.
I known peace comes through doing thee essentials, the things that connect us to His grace, the same grace that will make all the rest enough.

PS thanks for fitting in the "nice to do" of reading my blog, even when I ramble on for way too long!
PPS the flutest next door is back and serenaded my while I finally finished writing this.


yoga mamma said...Best Blogger Tips

Had a great time reading through your blog are a great writer. Oh and thanks for being the only one who comments on my makes my day!
Juli and Elijah

Liesel said...Best Blogger Tips

thanks. When do you find the time to read all these talks or was it all from your road trip? I really appreciate the hyper-links.

Liesel said...Best Blogger Tips

now I'm feeling a bit guilty about working on my Christmas projects, but it's a nativity, so perhaps it falls into the essentials category? Who am I trying to convince? Me, of course.

Chelsea Belle said...Best Blogger Tips

Juli! I love your blog, it gives me a little Juli in my life
(did a yoga class just up at the church last night, and while it was very nice, you really have ruined me with your authentic practice full of sand scripts and singing bowls) looks like Vancouver life, and Mamma life are both agreeing with you, me and Amanda love that we have an excuse to plan a trip out the coast one of these days.

Liesel: No guilt! "nice to do" s are a wonderful part of life (blogging is on my nice to do list and obviously a spend some time on here). preparing for a more Christ-entered christmas, that's awesome! Part of what i hoped to convey through htis post was with revelation we can aleivate (sp?) guilt because we will know what the Lord would have us do, so spend less time comparing ourselves to others. You're doing super! i wish Christmas projects were what i felt I 'squandered" my time on...opps there i go again comparing, it's just no good. And I've read these talks over a long periode of time, I re-listen a lot while I do dishes or sometimes even cook. or driving, on days my scriptures have been meger at best, I supplement with talks. mP3's are my friends.