I mentioned at the beginning of the month that my word for this year is CONSISTENCY. This is my first year to pick a word and really focus on it. This word, though, has been hanging around for several months.
At the end of last Summer, I was really starting to feel overwhelmed. We had just come off of a crazy tax filing debacle (thankfully, it all worked out…just a huge lesson in patience!). We were in the middle of schooling year round for 2016. I was trying to plan for a trip to the Creation Museum and Ark we took in September – our first family vacation. My husband was starting up another semester of Bible school online. And after a nice Summer break, AWANA (kids’ Bible program) was about to start up again on Sunday nights, and I was a group leader for the 3 & 4-year-old kids. All of it was exciting…except the tax filing…but I was just feeling too busy.
I also taught the 2-year-old Sunday school class at church every week at 9:00AM (which actually means we were there around 8:30 every Sunday… and every other Sunday my husband works, so it was just me and five kids rushing to get there by 8:30). I had been really enjoying teaching the kids, but felt a little burnt out with it. Didn’t really feel like I was doing my best or giving 100% at it. On top of that, I was ramping up to be on the steering committee for the mom group at church, as well as continue to meet twice a month with my mentor from our Titus 2 program.
My husband had made a comment about me doing too many things. He didn’t mean anything by it, but I took it to heart. I started thinking maybe I was doing too much, and maybe that’s why I wasn’t really enjoying too much of it anymore. I started thinking about how hectic it was trying to get lesson plans done and how we had been winging it the past few months because I just didn’t have quiet time to set aside and work on them each week. I started thinking about how busy Sundays had become and how challenging it was to finish teaching and then gather my own kids and find my husband and get everyone home in time for naps before coming back in the evenings for AWANA. After talking with my mentor about the busyness, she had me write down all the things I was committed to in a given week. Every group, class, study, whatever. After writing it all down, I couldn’t really see how homeschool fit in there at all. There was something almost every single day! She then had me write down the things I needed to be doing or be a part of and the things I could let go of and let someone else do.
After a lot of praying, worrying about other people’s perceptions 🙂 , and talking with my husband…I decided to let go of some things. I UN-committed to be an AWANA leader – hardest thing to do! One of my dear friends is the director, and I felt awful for having committed and then backing out. I gave her a ridiculously huge explanation, and she was so gracious and understanding my reasons. I then emailed our Sunday School director to let her know I needed to move to only teaching every other week; God was so awesome in filling that position just a few weeks later with a friend of mine. We now rotate every other week with teaching, and it goes so smoothly!
Things changed with my Titus 2 mentor, and she now goes to another church. She and I both discontinued going to the Titus 2 program, but we are continuing our mentoring. It has worked out beautifully, and she is such an encouragement.
As I let go of things and said “no” more to things, I could see where I was able to be more consistent in the activities that God was directing me to be involved in. Homeschool become a much bigger priority (as it should), and I started using Sunday nights as my planning time, while the kids were in AWANA. If Arthur is working, I just lug all my books to church and plan in our little cafe area. If he is off, I stay home and he takes the kids (he is a sub for the older kid groups). I feel so much more prepared and able to be consistent on Monday mornings with getting our lessons started by 9:00.
So, before I chose the word CONSISTENCY for this year, God was already moving me in that direction back in August. I am very thankful He patiently waited for me to get it through my thick skull that I can’t volunteer for everything just because there is an opening. I just can’t. It isn’t fair to my family or to the position I am filling.
I have noticed myself saying “no” a lot more since the start of the January. I was asked to fill a really awesome homeschool co-op director position for this coming Fall, and I just had to turn it down. I knew right away that it would be too much for me, with Ethan not really schooling yet and having four older kids that are.
I am able to be more consistent with our meals because I have more time to plan and execute the menu. We are able to do a 4-day school week, with a flex day for errands or library visits or whatever. If we were still doing all those other things, I probably wouldn’t enjoy our school time as much because I would still be overwhelmed. And with my husband in school, I work to make sure he doesn’t feel like there is anything he needs to do around the house, so he can focus on his readings and writing his papers.
Consistency is very important. Boundaries and limits are, too. Knowing where to draw the boundary or where to set the limit is key. Prayer and Bible reading are the biggest keys in all of this.
I write all of this to share that God is so wonderfully patient. And His desire is for us to know Him and follow Him. Without prayer and Bible reading, though, I am unable to know or follow Him because I won’t know anything about Him or what He has to say. Really studying what I am reading and not just reading to check off my to-do list is something that is new for me, too. I tend to rush my Bible reading/study in the morning, completely forgetting what I’ve read just 10 minutes later. I am learning to take my time, read and reread the passage and pray over it. That helps me a lot with understanding and applying the truth in the passage.
So, this post wasn’t really a well planned post. Just some thoughts in my head about how God has been working me to be consistent in specific areas of my life even before I decided to pick a word for this year. And that the only way I would have come to this conclusion and really focused on this word and these areas is through prayer and Bible reading/studying. He is changing me, and I can see/feel it. I pray my husband and kids can see it, too.
I also pray that I continue to let Him change me.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”