Enjoying December Without Stress

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The Thanksgiving crumbs have been swept up, the fall decor tucked safely away into storage bins, and the leftovers are finally gone. You sit down to take a moment’s rest and you see your December calendar with red reminders flashing at you brighter than Rudolph’s “nose so bright!”  The realization that there is barely time to breathe in the next month can cause anxiety, stress and even dread for what should be the most joyous time of year.

How do I know this?  I was there…the day after Thanksgiving!

I began to let my mind go to what needed to be completed by the end of next week, and I jumped into panic mode, sending texts, making lists and allowing a flurry of palpitations to pound my heart.  But then I stopped in my Prayer Closet and took those needs to the Lord. He quieted me.  He turned my heart to the thanks I had given Him only hours before as we praised him around the bounty of our table.  I had praised Him for satisfying my mouth with good things, for always being enough for every trial.  Will He not also guide me through the maze of events and plans in December, too?

Psalm 104:34 – My meditation of Him will be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. 

When I choose to look at Christ, and give Him my schedule, the demands breathing down my neck like the leviathan mentioned in verse 26, I am made glad in the Lord.  My memory of what He has done in the past is sweet and it calms my heart and reminds me to trust in Him today…and every day of the Christmas month.

If you’re already getting anxious about all that is coming at you in this next month, can I encourage you to do what seems counter-productive, and stop!  Stop to pray and ask God to give you wisdom to use your time carefully.  Ask for strength to accomplish only what He wants you to do.  Ask for the understanding of when to say “No.”  Many times we’re stressed because we’re doing things we shouldn’t have taken on.  

Let’s enjoy this month that we look so forward to all year.  It will be gone before we know it.  Let’s finish the year strong in the Lord each day of December!

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The Frenzied Result of Living with No Schedule

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Earlier this week I wrote about the need to schedule unscheduled time.  Today I want to balance the scales.  “Crazy” lives can also be a result of little or no planning whatsoever.  Women who don’t do the hard work of planning will waste great amounts of energy and time trying to catch up.

We all have “blitz” moments when we’ve lost something, but are you one of those women who regularly feel like you’re on a merry-go-round that’s spinning at 90 miles an hour?  Let’s start with some questions.  Do you:

  • Regularly oversleep in the morning because you’re exhausted?
  • Attend Bible study, Sunday school or work meetings unprepared?
  • Lose your keys, purse or phone regularly?
  • Start a Bible reading plan, but then ditch it because you got so behind?
  • Commit to helping at church, your child’s school or other programs but quit before your time is up?
  • Make supper plans at the last minute that result in having to run to the store or going out to eat?
  • Make promises you don’t keep?
  • Show up late to most scheduled activities?

If the answer to most of these questions is “yes,” it’s very likely because you need a refresher course in planning.

Psalm 90:12 tells us to

“Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

When we really see how short our days on this earth are, we’ll plan and prioritize our time so we’ll live out our life to the fullest, and that comes through careful planning. Planning and scheduling really frees you up to be able to wisely accomplish the most important tasks in an efficient way.

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Here are ten things to help get an unscheduled, disorganized person back on track:

  1. Plan to do what is most important first. Prayer and Matthew 6:33 is a great place to start. Write out your list and number according to their priority after you have prayed about your day, asking the Lord to guide you.
  2. Multi-task. While you’re having your morning Bible reading, have a load of laundry in the washer or start the dishwasher.  While the iron is heating up, fold the laundry in the dryer.  While you’re unloading the dishwasher, meditate on a verse you’re memorizing.  While you exercise, listen to a podcast of preaching or exhortation.
  3. Keep a running list on the calendar of all events for the day.
    1. Put them on your daily planner.
    2. Schedule to leave for any event 15 minutes before the normal time to allow for traffic or accidents.
  4. Keep your menu near the “to-do” list and prep ahead as much as possible.
  5. Delay Social media or Internet until all the prioritized list is finished.
  6. Try to go to bed earlier than normal so you can be rested. (We started this on sabbatical and it has stuck!)
  7. Have a designated place for keys, phone and purse.
  8. Make everyone in your house prep their outfits the night before (you, too!). They should have everything out – underclothes, attire, and both shoes.  Back packs, brief cases, or Bibles should be near the door where you’ll exit.
  9. Prep breakfast the night before.
  10. Now you can schedule a day to be unscheduled!

Let’s not huff and puff our lives away because of a lack of planning.  Proverbs reminds us that a prudent women foresees evil and hides herself.  That just means she looks ahead and anticipates what is coming and prepares for it.

Let’s be prudent and plan with wisdom so we’ll be free rather than frenzied!

P.S. Come Home for Comfort wrote an excellent post about planning ahead with some links to other posts on the same topic.  You can read it here.

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