Do you struggle, like I do, with a false sense of control of your life? By learning to embrace the art of surrender, I hope to find more peace in my life.
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I did something out of the ordinary this week.
I let go.
You see, I live with this false sense of control, giving myself the illusion that if I'm not handling it, then it will all go wrong.
And it's just not possible to do everything.
Did you hear that - fellow busy Mom juggling all the things - like I am?
We can't do it all.
So are we supposed to just let the laundry pile up and the pantry remain empty? Well, of course not, but there has to be a better way that works for you and your family.
The most successful companies and people thrive on the simple skill of delegating.
Imagine living without that constant feeling of overwhelm from the never-ending to do list! This has been something I've wanted to work on for the past year.
I juggle 2 jobs, 2 busy teens while also maintaining the house, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping and cleaning - let alone the DIY projects that we create for Noting Grace all while keeping my husband's budding business going.
And I know you get it, too! We all run hectic and busy lives.
Sometimes, there's no escaping it, but there are 3 simple steps you can take to start moving toward change.
1. Find Your Non-Negotiables
I was listening to a podcast the other day and the speaker was talking about non-negotiables.
These are the most important things to you, or maybe your favorite things you like to handle.
In other words, what are you willing to delegate to someone else and more importantly, what do you want to stay in charge of?
This struck me hard because it seems like I was placing everything under this category.
Being just one person, it's impossible to keep it all under control.
I took some time and made a list of everything that was needed of me for the week. Then I crossed off the items that I could farm out to someone else.
Take a moment to write down all the things you do during the week. What are items you must be in control of and what can you delegate?
Be specific and even think of those seasonal things, like taxes or Christmas shopping.
2. Learn to Delegate
I have to admit - this is a challenge for me.
So I started at home - with something small.
First, I let go of the laundry.
A few years ago, I started teaching my boys how to do their own laundry. It was when we were homeschooling them and I thought it would be a good skill to learn.
So now my boys are now in charge of washing their own clothes and it's been a success. And Trent helps do most of our laundry while I manage the sheets and towels and put away my own clothes.
Now their clothes aren't always ironed and some whites have become discolored from being washed improperly, but they are learning and it's one less item on my to do list.
I learned that by constantly doing things for the boys, or correcting them when they weren't cleaning something my way, I was in fact teaching them...well, nothing.
How else can one learn unless you actually do the task?
This started prompting me to encourage the boys to take on more tasks. They cook their own breakfasts and lunches and I'm even beginning to help them learn to cook dinners once a month.
And this also includes cleaning up after themselves.
Many times, my OCD takes over when the dishwasher isn't being loaded the way I like.
I know - it's so silly to think about even as I write this, but sadly, it's true.
And really - does it matter if the dishes aren't loaded the way you want them to be? Or the groceries put away to your liking. What about clothes being folded differently than your tried and true method?
Bottom line - will letting go of this thing you struggle with give you more peace and happiness in the end?
Or will the disorganized dishwasher stress you out? Then keep that task for yourself.
The key is to find something that you can easily let go of - and really do it!
This shift in focus and learning to delegate was a huge help.
But something else had to give.
3. Hire it out
I was still struggling with finding time in my day to be more productive.
Recently, when I had lunch with a friend, she was sharing how she was getting her cleaning lady to come to prepare her house to list.
I casually asked about how much it cost to have someone clean. Now this varies greatly by region, but she charged $150 for a large house.
So I gave in!
And yesterday, I had someone come and clean my house.
If you know anything about me, this is a HUGE deal. I'm very particular about my home and how it is kept.
And my cleaning standards are kind of high.
But again -I've noticed that I just don't have time to do it all.
Being a home decor blogger - a messy house is a big no-no.
I'm great at keeping things straight and have admitted that I can live with dust bunnies easier than piles of clutter.
But I still needed help in this area.
So I have this wonderful lady coming once a month to help me deep clean.
And I'm struggling with feeling guilty about it.
Isn't that silly? It makes me feel like I'm failing as a housewife somehow. This may be no big deal to you, much like cooking is for me. I have friends who have to make things from scratch - the southern way - but I'm okay with close enough and packaged items to save time.
This one thing got under my skin.
But Trent gave me some sound advice.
Since he opened his own painting business, he has found a new outlook on the service industry. We need people to need us in order to feed our family.
And he gently reminded me that this lady needs me to do the same for her. In fact, she asked that I give her name out as a referral.
Wow - that made a huge difference on my outlook.
So find that one thing that you can farm out to someone else. Maybe it's cleaning like me, or hire a teen to cut your lawn. Or spend the extra 5 bucks to get groceries delivered.
That simple shift in my mind set made all the difference!
Learning to Embrace the Art of Surrender
This past year, the Lord has been showing me a theme that seems to be on repeat everywhere I look.
It's really simple.
Abundance - not scarcity.
5000 men were fed with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Now this doesn't include the women and children. So think about 10000 or 15000 people needing food! After the Lord blessed the food, the disciples gave the fish and loaves out and everyone ate and was full. Then the disciples gathered the leftovers. Those leftovers filled 12 baskets.
What a picture of abundance!
There are abundant opportunities to contribute to the Kingdom for His Glory that are placed before us.
To serve, sing, create, write.
But the enemy wants us to focus on the me-monster inside us all.
That untrusting person - worried that there isn't enough.
Enough money, food, opportunity, possibilities.
And, boy, we can get tangled into those lies and clutch with dear life to the little things in our lives.
Like - the disorganized dishwasher!
I realize that I focus on the scarcity in my life instead of the abundance we have been given.
And it's not just me - we've seen it in our own culture with the toilet paper and gas hoarding over this past year. Or not being helpful with others in case they treat us wrong or cause us an inconvenience in our busy lives.
It's all in this mindset of MINE, MINE, MINE that unleashes the selfishness in ourselves and others.
Instead of thinking that I don't have enough, or that if things don't go the way I want them to, or spending so much time worrying about the what-ifs (even though they rarely happen), I miss the most important part of everyday.
In Matthew 9:37-38, Jesus had compassion on His followers in need of a shepherd and said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
We can't receive or give with a closed fist. Open hands and open hearts are needed for both.
In the end, what will all that energy spent on focusing on scarcity amount to?
I hope this encourages you! I'm right there with you, learning to embrace the art of surrender.