My morning begins around 5:30 a.m., with either a blurry-eyed child in my face or a blaring alarm clock. I jump (or feebly climb, depending on how old my body is feeling that day) out of bed and hit the ground running. Not usually literally running, but most certainly at a fast pace with few breaks.
I'm not complaining, and I'm sure you don't complain often either. It's just the reality of our lives as parents, working or stay-at-home, and as people in this must-do-it-all society. But, I have breaking news for you: You don't have to do it all. I know this sounds like a foreign concept, and I admit it won't be easy.
I propose you learn the art of not doing it all.
What does "not doing it all" even mean though? Sure, there are some things that we are already great at delegating, like the fact that I've never changed the oil in my car. There are many other things that we feel obligated to take on and complete flawlessly.
The first step in learning the art of not doing it all is accepting the realization that we can't and aren't expected to actually do it all. Once we allow ourselves to breathe in the knowledge that we aren't super-human and that we need rest too, a small portion of the burden on our shoulders is lifted.
Have you ever noticed that you are almost always your own worst critic? I think that's true of all of us. We harbor negative thoughts and degrading self-talk. We are therefore the first line of defense that must be strengthened.
We need to grant grace to ourselves. Every minute. Every day. If God's grace is sufficient for us, then surely we can find enough grace within ourselves to let go of the fact that we can't remember the last time we cleaned our baseboards.
Once we begin granting ourselves grace and allowing it to pour over and ease the guilt of the to-do-list-left-undone, the art of not doing it all seems less idealistic and far more realistic.
I don't have the magic formula and am still perfecting my art day by day, but I assure you it is a realistic goal. Here are three habits you can implement today as you begin learning the art of not doing it all:
- Say no. This sounds so simple, yet it's one of the most difficult things to do. We don't want to let people down, and we love to help, but at what cost? At the cost of our sanity! Say no to the things that don't tug at your heartstrings or stir your passion. Say no to the things that elicit a feeling of dread as opposed to joy. Obligation is a self-imposed prison stealing your time from the things you love.
- Ask for help. We fear looking weak or incapable, so we often take all the responsibility upon ourselves. Strength is much more evident in the person who admits they need help than the one who suffers under the unnecessary burden.
- Toss out perfectionism. Perfectionism is a pitfall, and it not only eats valuable time but energy as well. We are not perfect beings, and striving for perfection is an act encouraged by Satan. Let's do our best, or allow someone else to do their best, and rest in the knowledge that mistakes are OK.
Learning the art of not doing it all will be a lifelong process of ups and downs, successes and failures. None of us will ever be perfect when it comes to not doing it all (and that's OK), but we can certainly can give ourselves the grace to keep trying.
Angela Jamison is a mother of four who often wishes for more hours in her day. Angela loves connecting with other parents and encouraging them in their journey. When not with her children, Angela is the director of a Christian preschool and loves to read and write. To learn more about Angela, visit her blog at angelajamison.com or find her on Twitter (@AngJamison04), Instagram (@AngJam731) or Facebook (@barrenbutblessed).
This article originally appeared at just18summers.com.
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