Sunday, August 26, 2012
Most moms know how there is not enough time in a day to do every good thing we would like to do. I'm not a time-waster. I don't watch TV, I don't play games on facebook ( I rarely even check facebook), I don't read sensational novels. Still, I seem to lack time to teach my children all of the good things I'd like them to know, make healthy meals, take care of myself physically and spiritually, and keep the house clean. Those are pretty basic, good, worthwhile things, but I struggle with just making time for those basics.
I know my priorities are sometimes misplaced. Thursday was an example. I have been making an effort to not skip our morning devotional (they are rarely more than 20 minutes long) and working with the kids in the morning (not just assign them tasks). Thursday I got up and thought about how I needed a ladder to reach the peaches on the peach tree, a bigger terrarium for Bud's geckos, and I wanted a desk for Spice. Instead of doing devotional and working with the kids, I got on ksl classifieds and started searching. The kids did not work very well because I was on the computer. There were several arguments. I knew I had gone wrong. There's was nothing wrong with researching those things, but my timing was off. I neglected the important things for those that were less important at that time.
I've also been struggling with figuring out how to help my kids develop their talents without over-scheduling our family. When will my children have time to explore nature, keep a nature book, sit with a good book, if we are driving to activities everyday? However, the oldest three want to take piano, Spice wants art lessons, they all want to be in choir, and we're doing a scholar group once a week. They have asked for other lessons as well, but I haven't felt inspired to involve them in those yet.
Anyway, obviously, I can't have it both ways. I can't have a "Charlotte Mason" environment, where we spend our days in nature, discovering the wonders of God's creations and writing and drawing about them and then reading and discussing classics as we come home at night AND driving around to lessons everyday.
What to pick? What is most important? What do I need to teach them so that they will be prepared for what the Lord would have them do when they leave my home? How can I possibly know the future and have the time to prepare each one for it?
I can't. The truth is that it is an impossible task. However, I learned something important about the impossible...
I got back from a mom's retreat yesterday. It went from Friday until Saturday at Heber Valley camp (we slept in cabins). The theme for the year was "Receiving Revelation: Illumination for the Soul." I debated back and forth about going to it because there were already things I was working on and I didn't think I needed anything else to give me a list of more things I needed to work on :-) This retreat intrigued me, though, because they asked us to come prepared with several weeks of journal writing. It seemed to me that there would be great power if several moms got together after having taken the time to spiritually prepare through several weeks.
I was right. It was a very worthwhile experience. It was inspiring to be around such good women who are seeking to know and do the Lord's will in their lives. The speakers were insightful. I got several things from it, but there was one main lesson that I think Heavenly Father wanted me to come away with from it.
Before I tell you what that lesson was, I should mention that last Sunday I had been intrigued by the words "sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it" in the prayer spoken in our church before we partake of the sacrament. I went home and studied the word "sanctify" (I recommend trying it). What I got out of my research (and it's probably different than what others would get depending on what Heavenly Father wants to teach them right then) is that sanctifying is becoming lifted towards God as we become more like Him - separating ourselves from the ungodly.
Before the retreat, I had made myself a "priority list" - things I knew were "essential", then "very important", then "important." I had made lists like this often before, but this time it was different. As I was writing I realized that even thought I write certain things in the "very important" or even "essential" column, sometimes I'll allow the "important" take their place, or even things that are not on my list. Often it's because the other things have a deadline and I need to get them done, sometimes it's because my kids are busy and it seems like the perfect time to get to something that I've been needing to get to - I just want some things to get done so they can be out of my mind and I can relax and enjoy the rest of my day.
I thought to myself, "If there are certain things that I know really are the most important things Heavenly Father wants me to do in the day, and I choose to do other things, or I'm thinking about other things I need to do, then I am not trusting him. I don't believe that things will work out if I first do the things that He asks of me." I saw in my mind the scene in the scriptures when Peter wants to walk on water to the Savior and the Savior says "Come"
Peter came down out of the ship and he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
I realized I was like Peter. I ask Heavenly Father what He would have me do, I make plans to do it, and then I look at the waves and the "wind boisterous." I start thinking of all of the other things that need to get done, books that I need to have read by a certain time, things I need to order, assignments to fulfill and I get overwhelmed, I start to sink. And I go back to Him, repentant.
I could see Him in my mind, lifting me out of the water, out of the cares of this world, sanctifying me and asking, "Oh, ye of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
I have a hard time slowing down my mind. Being present at the moment I am living. I now realize it is often a trust issue. If I trusted Heavenly Father that things would work out if I did the most important things first - then would never worry about all of those other things. I wouldn't need to think about them until the time was right to get them done. I could focus on what was important at the present time. Maybe this isn't making sense, but it was something I needed to learn.
There are not a ton of things on my "essential" and "important" list. On the retreat, we hiked to the summit of a mountain early in the morning. I took my priority list with me to okay it with my Heavenly Father. I would write my list here, but I'm sure they will change and get refined as I do those important things and my mind is opened to more revelation. I will say, though, that one of them is to get up even earlier (and go to bed earlier) and make that time to truly connect with the Lord each day to make sure I align my day's vision with His.
I did that this morning. It's been a wonderful day. As I sat in sacrament meeting feeling great joy and love, I remembered how often I had felt similarly and I had asked myself, "Why don't I make the effort to feel like this everyday?" It's been because of lack of time, lack of mental focus, and shifting priorities - things (including my mind) are just busy. Oh ye of little faith! Wherefore didst though doubt?
I mentioned some of these thoughts to some people at the retreat and someone helped me notice an important part to my mental picture. She said, "Peter was walking on water. He was doing the physically impossible."
So, yes, it may be impossible to do all of the good things I feel inspired to do, but as I go forward, keeping my eyes on the Savior, being present at the task on hand, my mind will be at peace, and things will work out. I now not only know in my mind, but have come to understand in my heart that this is true.
"With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." (Mark 10:27)