By Cynthia Rey
As we strive to be women after God’s heart, we are confronted with very demanding schedules. We have endless “to-do” lists that threaten our moods … and our sanities. Make meals, clean up, do laundry, deal with children, clean up, go to bed, repeat. Unfortunately, we sometimes allow these demanding and often-monotonous schedules to take over our lives, preventing us from enjoying time in prayer and in God’s Word, while robbing us of our joy.
For many women, the daily routine can lead to depression. We subtly begin to lose interest in the things we once enjoyed doing with our families. There are days I, myself, have woken up and asked, “Is this all there is to life? Everyone here needs me and calls me for something they need. What about me?”
In the midst of the monotony, we must remind ourselves what our purpose is. Are we meant to go through life in a blur of activities, perhaps even resentful toward our families?
If we can be honest with ourselves, many of our reactions to the day-to-day responsibilities we face are part of the old human nature we can’t seem to leave in the past. In Christ, we are a new creation; do we reflect that? Ephesians 4:24 says, “Put on the new man, which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Granted, the work God is doing in us is incomplete, but we must be honest with ourselves when we are not allowing Him to continue our transformations.
When I asked a group of friends about their own struggles in dealing with the monotony in their lives, they all admitted to falling short, as we all do, in displaying godly characteristics. Another common result was their neglected time with God. My friend Naomi Rodriguez, director of the women’s ministry at my home church, said “I find peace in knowing life will get chaotic … but God desires to even be part of that portion of my life too.”
Part of the reason an overflowing schedule can cause women to stumble in their faith is a forgetful mind. I’m not referring to our to-do list here. I am referring to our value as created by God and what He enables us to do. We view our responsibilities in life as a chore, failing to remember what is taking place in the process: the instilling of values; worth; memories; the formation of God’s Kingdom.
We can surely take steps toward finding joy in our journeys. If we can resolve to take a few moments to reflect on our purpose to glorify God in all that we do, we can find our joy much sooner than if we dwell on our frustrations and ungodly attitudes.
Praise: We should never let a day go by without being in communion with the God who gave it to us. We must praise Him because He is worthy, regardless of how we are feeling.
Understand: Our feelings are often based on our own perceptions—not God’s truth. Choose to dwell in truth.
Re-evaluate: We declutter areas in our home that have become untidy and are not pleasant to look at. In the same way, we must free ourselves of unnecessary joy-thieves that our families can do without. Washing the never-ending pile of dishes and cooking meals are neither glamorous nor enjoyable, but they must get done. Still, there are other things that we can eliminate from our schedules. Consider what is important for everyone, what can wait, and what you can do without.
In our current routines, can we say we find the energy, desire, and godly wisdom to lead our families closer to God (and with a good attitude)? If that isn’t taking place, for whatever reason, it’s definitely time to re-evaluate our schedules, hearts, and perspectives.
Pray: Make time. Pray without ceasing. Pray for others, pray for yourselves, pray for your families, your projects, and for wisdom, among other things.
Observe: We advise our children to think about the things they say and do before they go ahead with them, yet often fail to practice this ourselves. Let’s observe our own reactions and feelings throughout the day. Are we pleasant? Are we present (mentally and physically)? Are we available? Is our love for God and our families evident?
Serve: Our skewed perspective sometimes leaves us bitter after serving thousands of meals and trying to keep a tidy place. We forget to represent Jesus well in everything we do and say, too often giving in to the urge to make our discontent known.
Instead, let us serve remembering we are blessed to have our families. We get to do these things in the name of our Savior. We get to tend to our families and our homes! We have God’s wisdom available for guidance, His Word and His presence for comfort and light. We are making an impact in God’s Kingdom through our families. What sort of impact that will be is up to us and our obedience. How differently would we serve our families if we knew the Lord was paying us a visit to check up on us? Let’s keep in mind that nothing is hidden from Him; He sees us. He understands us. He chose us for these families. Let’s serve them well.
Enjoy: With the right perspective and necessary changes, we can experience joy in our routines by:
a) Delegating chores accordingly (if we’re still not doing so) to leave room for quality time.
b) Realizing it’s okay to be interrupted by our loved ones for something as simple as looking at something they drew or did. Enjoy those moments; they’ll be gone all too soon.
c) Remembering the blessings, and the bonds and memories being made.
d) Making time for fellowship with friends for refreshment and accountability.
We are doing something important and we mustn’t forget it. We are in charge of our thoughts and schedules. When you’re fed up and life weighs heavily on your shoulders, stop and worship God. Our hands might be empty when we lift them up in praise, but we do bring something to the Lord: our brokenness and willing hearts. He can work with these. Rest in Him. This is where joy is found.
Cynthia Rey is a wife and stay at home mom to a 10-year-old son and her wonderful niece and nephew. She ministers to children and their parents through Faith Outspoken, striving always to be a woman after God’s own heart.