For years I’ve accepted as fact the notion that time spent with God will positively influence the way I approach problems and increase my joy. Time spent with God gifts us with peace and perspective, compassion and hope. With all of the horrific national news this week, bringing order to our households sounds like a healthy personal response. Organizing so we can happily function as a family is a worthy goal.
And frankly, I don’t want to move a pile of unopened mail off my kitchen table to accommodate a sit-down family meal. I don’t want to head out the door, anticipating a fun and impromptu adventure, only to discover the car gas tank is empty. These real-life situations lead to frustration. Feelings of inadequacy. Irritability and conflict.
This week faithful living is practical and sensible so we can make better connections with God and each other.
Use what’s there
If you enjoy hobbies, I bet you have supplies piled somewhere. Put a halt to all future purchases until you have sorted, compiled, and tossed all unusable items. You can even apply this methodology to your pantry, a closet, or front planter. Clear it, sort it, organize it, clean it, use it, gift it, or toss it. Declare a “clean out the refrigerator night” and eat up all the odds and ends fresh enough for healthy consumption. Then plan a week’s worth of meals, grab coupons if you’re so inclined, and shop with a list in hand and a stomach that’s full. You’ll spend less.
Don’t let it pile up
Don’t allow things to get out of hand. This means dirty dishes go directly into the dishwasher and not into the sink unless it’s filled with hot, soapy water and you’ve got a minute to quickly do some hand washing. Apply this same concept to other areas of your life. Sort the mail daily. Fold and put away clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. Sort your e-mail inbox. Daily attention to small build-ups trump infrequently attended mountains of mess.
One task, one day at a time
If you are like me and can easily feel overwhelmed, stop worrying about the big picture and look instead at one project in one room. Decide how much time you’ll allot to a task, set the timer, and dig in. Turn off the TV put away your cell phone if you’re easily distracted. Shorter, intense spurts of attention will help you work through your list, however long.
List and sort
If I have a lot of things to do I write everything down as it comes to me. Then I sort the tasks. If, for example, they involve trips into town I put my stops into a logical order and treat myself with a coffee when I’m finished. I also listen to a favorite radio program and take my Chihuahua buddy to keep me amused.
Choose a strategy and give it a try. You’re enthusiasm will overflow onto those around you. You may even find a peaceful stretch to give God some of your time.
Joan Bay Klope can be reached at faithfulliving@