Well, it's my second post for "Joyful Moments", and the topic is one that is near and dear to my heart! Organization! Ahhh...just thinking about an organized life is bliss! I freely admit that I am slightly OCD about a few things around here. But when you have a Hubby, three boys, a baby on the way, teach full time, manage a house and want your kids to have clean clothes occasionally (they start the day out clean anyway!), then you have to give some thought to organization!
The methods I have used have varied from time to time, and necessity will often motivate a change in how things are run, but basically, being organized helps me stay on top of things, rather than things staying on top of me! Actually, I was going to take this post in a whole different direction, (more how-to rather than why) but this morning in church, the preacher (not my Dad this Sunday, but the youth pastor of our church) preached a very good message on priorities. And that sent my line of thinking down a whole different road.
Because, let's face it, we organize our life according to our priorities. And also, if we are not organized, it won't be long until our priorities are out of balance--the "loud" things drowning out the more important things. God in a God of organization, but He has a specific end result--Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." (Emphasis mine.) So I was thinking this morning, "How can being organized help us keep first things first?"
So here are a few things in a list (yay for lists--very helpful for being organized!) that may help you the next time you are trying to organize (or re-organize) your life.
*Your personal spiritual life. As moms, this is often the thing that slides to the bottom of the heap of things to do in a day. We can sometimes manage to squeeze in a snatch of Bible reading as we end our day, but often this leads to being hit in the face with the Bible because we are falling asleep! (Not really how God wants to commune with us, I'm sure!) Recently, this is one thing I have been trying to work on for myself. I am not a morning person, but I have been waking up a few minutes earlier every day, (hopefully before the kids are up) and having my Bible study time first. It has been working well, and I find I am able to ponder things I have read throughout my day, which helps me keep things in perspective. So, remember to make God first in your life--the other things have a tendency to fall in line after that!
*Your family. This is where the "rubber meets the road" when it comes to organization as moms. And most people would think it would not be an area that our priorities can get out of balance, but I have seen (in my life, as well as observing others) that this is not the case. One example is that sometimes moms forget that they were wives first. They put the kids before their husband, and things quickly fall apart. Another example is that moms forget their first ministry is to their own family. They allow their other "ministries" to command all their time and effort, and their family begins to suffer. So, it's important to organize your life so that your family takes the place that they were meant to have by the Lord.
*Household management. This is a fancy word for "chores." That's right, all the stuff we do that no one seems to notice or appreciate, but it has to be done. I struggle in this area--mainly because I focus on the chores, rather than the reason for the chores. A put-together house is important to me. Really important. Can't-go-to-sleep-if-there-are-dishes-in-the-sink important. (*Sigh--I know, I know, I told you I was OCD!) But I forget that sometimes the floor can go unmopped if it means a child's heart is encouraged. Clothes can stay unfolded for a while if it means that I can spend some time in a teachable moment. This is a difficult challenge for me...OCD, remember? The biggest thing as far as being organized in the chores (how-to moment!) for me has been assigning each day a specific task and trying to get that thing done that day. For example, now that I am away from home for a large portion of the day, all the laundry doesn't get done in one day like it used to. (!!) So, I try to get at least two loads done on Monday when I get home, and try to finish the rest on Tuesday. Straightening is done daily, with "actual" cleaning done either on Thursday afternoon, or first thing Saturday morning. (Lately, Saturday morning has been working quite well--I'm thinking of making this a permanent change...) I try to reserve Friday afternoons for "winding down" time from the long week of school.
*Fun times. Who organizes or prioritizes fun? Doesn't that-well-take the FUN out of it? Not for this mommy! If I didn't organize for fun and make it a priority, there would be many times that days would go by without any fun whatsoever! It's easy for me to fall into a trap of always finding another chore that needs to be done, or something that needs to be taken care of, to the detriment of moments for rejuvenating. Especially during the busy-ness of the school year, when the days are shorter with more things to fit into them. So I have been trying to work on this with a little more consistency. I have noticed that the kids get less frustrated if they realize that there is a time when the work will be finished, and they will get to have some fun. One thing recently (how-to moment!) that has worked well for us has been a personal list for each of the boys. I jot down the things they need to accomplish and roughly how long it should take, and hand them the list. They like being able to see exactly what they need to have done to earn their recreation time. Plus, they can cross each thing out, and I am not having to constantly ask, "Is this or that done yet?" This has an added benefit of teaching organization and time management to the boys as well, because if it's not done by supper, then they don't get the recreation time.
Well, there's a lot more that can be written on this topic, but this post has been long enough! I hope it was an encouragement to you, and that it helps you to remember that organization is part of God's plan for a well-ordered (hence peaceful!) life! Check out what the other moms have to say on this topic as well! It might be fun to get in touch with your inner OCD tendencies, and see where it will take you! :)