Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Godly Contentment & The Gift and Curse of Organization

I am asked a lot (especially on my really productive days) how I manage to get everything done around here. While I must be completely transparent and admit right upfront that a touch of OCD helps in this area, my talents in organization are really credit to God and the gifts that he blessed me with. I didn't get a whole lot of patience, or will power, or self-control....there are many other traits I could list here, but you get the general idea. God equips each of us the unique gifts and talents that he wants us to use for His kingdom. Right now my "kingdom" job is to raise my children and run this home, so what gets me through everyday is the contentment that comes when you realize this is exactly where you are supposed to be. Think about that for a second (or two, or three).

One of the biggest contributing factors to discontentment and resentment (having either negates any JOY and peace you should have) is the feeling that you could be doing something else, living somewhere else, going to school, working, not working...that is a slippery slope once you start your descent - comparing your life to others is a trap, and not fruitful at all. God wants us to have peace and joy where he plants us.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to
have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in
any and every situation,whether well fed or hungry, whether
living in plenty or in want. -Philippians 4:12

Don't think for a second that Jeff and I don't struggle with this - we are just as
susceptible to this temptation. We have learned our lessons, though. When I separated from the
Air Force to be astay-at-home mom, our income dropped by $4,000/month! We had prayed,
planned, and knew that our lifestyle was going to change and we wereready to accept it.

The wonderful thing was, God really did take care of everything. We weren't able to sell our
house that we had just bought a year ago - but we found renters that moved in around the
same time we got offered a house on base. They didn't cover the entire mortgage, but we paid
out of pocket for as long as we could, thinking the house would sell eventually. Of course, that
was the same time the housing market completely we ended up having to foreclose
anyway. That is one expensive lesson that we haven't completely paid for - we haven't done our
taxesthis year and it might bite us there. But, we are prepared for that. If that is the price we
have to pay to learn that lesson, it is worth it.

We are blessed to be living in a "sheltered" environment - we live on base and everyone around
us is in similar circumstances and financial we don't get exposed to too many
luxuries that might cause us to stumble. (Although I'm mighty jealous about two of my friends
having an awesome tempurpedic bed!) I'm learning to be content where we are - it is really hard
- we would both love to move out of California - preferably on the East Coast, but we would even
take Texas! I know that this is temporary, and we have a pretty great life here, so I'm trying to
enjoy it and look forward to the time when we get to move. Until then, I will work on my biggest
obstacles here:

1. Getting rid of Clutter and extra things we don't need.
2. Organizing the Garage.
3. Growing Spiritually.

That list probably needs to be re-prioritized, but those are the big 3! I want to be ready for when
we do eventually move!

Okay so I kind of teased in the beginning about my secrets to organization - well I can definitely
give you a couple of pointers, things that work for me. Here is my list:

Secrets to Michelle's Organization:

1. Having a "List": the "List" is kind of a joke around here, because sometimes I put stuff on
there that I've already done, just to get the satisfaction of checking off that little box...but
seriously, I wouldn't get anything done around here without my list. I organize my list into
different categories, too, so I'm sure to cover all areas of responsibility. (Example: Computer
work, Housework, Kitchen, Kids, Outside, Stuff for Jeff)
I'm a hearty believer in the little check box, too. People make fun of that, but I've heard it's a
Covey thing, too - so I'm in a good company!

2. Having a Vision: I was going to put "Having a Schedule" but that wouldn't be accurate.
I don't always have a schedule, but I usually have a vision for my day. For example, after making
the list, I decide what I really want to get accomplished for the day. Then I start on the list,
checking off things that will help me get to my ultimate goal. This goal/vision could be as simple
as having the house cleaned before lunch so we can go for a walk to the park, or, a trip to the
Library to rent new get the idea.

3. Seeking out inspiration: I frequently search online and flip through BHG/Good House-
keeping for ideas that will inspire me. I even started a book with magazine clippings of ideas I
would like to incorporate into our life. Some of the ideas won't be feasible until we move into
our OWN house, but they are still there. If I am feeling particularly unmotivated, I will surf on
over to or for cleaning and decluttering ideas.

4. Starting small: Sometimes, the projects I get involved with around here are HUGE, and
intimidating, and the little check box begins to gather dust...well, the best way to tackle this
problem is to JUST GET STARTED. Start small. If you want to clean the garage, start in one
small section, or bin, and just get one small area done. The sense of accomplishment just might
catapult you into further cleaning action!

5. Start with Stuff you Hate to Do: For some reason, I can't stand cleaning bathrooms. I will
do everything possible before I pick up the toilet brush and tackle that urinary frontier.
(It could have something to do with all the BOYS around here). Anyway, I find I procrastinate on
this chore until I am absolutely overwhelmed at the state of the bath. I have found that if I make
this cleaning chore a priority, I feel so great about getting it over with that I am propelled into a
state of near euphoria. (I say "near" euphoria because clean, bleached, sheets are one of the only things that can get me
into a euphoric state!)

Okay. I think that is enough for now. Choose one from the list and get started!!

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