iScream (Chapter 7, “Let.It.Go.”)

Don’t let the speed of society be your pace car tempting you to speed ahead of
yourself in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses’ busy status updates.”
(from page 144 of  “Let.It.Go.” by Karen Ehman)

iscream

Just as eating too much  ice cream can cause us to gain weight, an over-busy schedule can also weigh us down.  I’m thankful Karen has provided her readers with several tools to help trim the fat off our schedules.  These are some that have helped me through the years:

Consider setting number limits:
My daughter was 6 when she wanted to take both soccer and t-ball one spring.  Soccer practice was one day a week with games on Saturday, my son had karate twice a week, AWANA was on Wednesday nights and church on Sunday.  At her first t-ball practice, my then 10-year-old son wisely proclaimed, “Mom, we’re already busy and now we’ll have something every day of the week.  Why can’t she just choose one thing?” Wow….out of the mouths of babes!  After practice I asked my daughter to choose, and we gave her t-ball registration fee to a needy child.  From then on my children chose just ONE activity outside of church.  It helped our family’s stress level then, and I can tell it’s helped them in their adult lives now.

The less you’re involved in, the less your schedule will scream, and the less you just might too:
I’m very ashamed to admit that there’s been times that I’ve taken on way too much.  I was a stay-at-home mom, heavily involved in PTO, head classroom mom, Sunday school teacher, AWANA leader and VBS director.  Halfway through the 6th grade, we felt led to take our son out of public school to home school him.  We kept our daughter in public school since she was doing very well there and I didn’t want to leave my obligations in the middle of the school year.  What ensued was one VERY stressed out mama who yelled a lot. It was awful.  I was awful.  My schedule was so bad, I actually asked my husband if we could hire a housekeeper for a few months as my Christmas present (he agreed, and that helped immensely).  When the school year was over, I stepped back from some things and even declined a PTO officer position.

Dare to be different:
I used to decorate the exterior and interior of my home for every season.  After a lady at church explained to me how she started decorating her home for Christmas as soon as Halloween was over, I looked at how much time I allotted for decorating.  Now I just hang different wreaths on my front door that I change 5 or 6 times a year (if I remember!), and I decorate just a little at Christmas.  This has not only saved me time and money, but also from the unnecessary stress.  This works for me, and I don’t allow myself to feel guilty just because my home isn’t decorated to a Martha Stewart-like perfection—I have more time now for serving and gardening.

Say yes because you feel called, not because you consider yourself capable: I became a Christian at 33, so it took me awhile to recognize this one.  Having the gift of helps, I honestly felt led to help where I thought I could (notice the emphasis on “thought”?).  Now, when someone asks me to do something, I tell them I need to pray about it first, and then do so before I give them an answer.  Just because I think I can help, doesn’t mean I should.  God is God, and I am not!!

      Proverbs 16:3  Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (NIV)

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12 thoughts on “iScream (Chapter 7, “Let.It.Go.”)

  1. This part of the book really hit home to me as well… I need to think of things more simplified in my life as well. I like your thinking with the Christmas decorating. Do you know – I still have Christmas stuff STILL up! Oh… that’s embarassing 🙂

    • LOL!! I just took down my Christmas a few weeks ago!! We had sickness, traveling, appointments, weather, etc. so it HAD to wait. Praying “Let.It.Go.” helps you find some areas of your life where you can simplify. 🙂

  2. Pat, I loved your post today! You are absolutely right, our schedules can weigh us down if we let them. I love how you not only gave examples of trimming your schedule, but also showed the practical ways you implemented them in your home. I would have to say my favorite is “Say yes because you feel called, not because you consider yourself capable.” I have fallen into this trap far too many times in the past. Wanting to serve and not let anyone down I was doing a great disservice to my family, myself and most importantly God. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you, Jamy. I agree with you that “busyness” is a BIG disservice to our families, ourselves and to God.

      I loved your post today, as well! I love how the LORD is changing so many through “Let.It.Go.”!

  3. Pat, yes! Yes to each one of these. I, too, swap the wreaths out about 4 times a year and call it a day. I do minimal decorating on the inside, as well. I love how you reiterated that God is God and we are not. If I don’t slow down my pace and pray first, ask clarifying questions later, a hot little mess often ensues. I got so much out of your words here! So glad you visited so that I could discover you. 🙂

  4. Pat, I loved this post! I use to be the way you were too. I found myself extremely overwhelmed about a year ago and slowly began to cut things out. It was incredible!! And it allowed room for what God really wanted me to do. Much wisdom! ❤ -Sue

  5. Loved your post Pat and loved your advise. I love the part about just using wreaths, but at Christmas I know I do too much because I love it so much. This past year was not a decorative Christmas and I had to blog about it because of remodeling – but I’m going to remember the wreath one and just decorate the front door – afterall that’s what folks see when they come in. Thank you for sharing. Debbie W. (OBS Small Group Leader)

    • Thank you, Debbie. I love to decorate, too, especially at Christmas. The LORD showed me that I was trying to “keep up with the Joneses” and this had almost become an idol. This was something I personally had to let go of. I still decorate at Christmas, just not as much…a Christmas tree, a nativity, a few antique figurines (I love cute 1950’s figurines of carolers and such!), and a wreath on the front door. I also have a red spotlight that shines on a sign that hangs above my door that reads, “Wisemen Still Seek Him”.

  6. I love this Pat! I agree, my schedule screams at times too. We homeschool four of our kiddos and if they had their way, they would be involved in everything. I spent some much needed time in Greater going over our schedule and cutting back what needs cut back. Time to do it again, it seems. Thank you for your story and your encouragement to us!

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