Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Busy Busy

One of the most common hindrances to peace and joy in intimate relationship with God is the busy - some would say frantic - lifestyle we lead in the Western world.  

Times are tough.  Couples usually need to have two incomes to stay afloat financially. Add church (more time if one is in ministry than if one isn't), children, their school, homework, and extracurricular activities, and a person might feel like he or she doesn't have the time to turn around, much less spend time with God.  

And stresses abound.  The fact is, especially this time of year, there are things that we feel that we "must" do - or it "just isn't the same".  But one person's definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. 

I was talking to one person today who has too much to do for Christmas and too little time to do it, yet expects no help at all from spouse or children.  "They wouldn't help, and even if they wanted to, they wouldn't know how."  The person sighed.   

Wow.  Merry Christmas...and pass the Nexium! (ulcer medication)

At some point, it is necessary to sit down and prioritize all activities so that only the most crucial are done and the rest will need to be either dropped - or delegated.  State how long the activity takes.  Assign a number of importance, from one to three, to each activity, and an initial for each member of the family that is capable of performing said task.  The list might look something like this (fictitious tasks used):

Christmas 2011
 - - - - - -  (Dec 23, 24)
-  Shopping for ingredients (1.5 hours) - 1 - N, J
-  Baking pumpkin pies  (2 hours)  - 2   - J, A
-  Baking apple pies  (2 hours)  - 2 - J (A can peel)
-  Cookies, various kinds  (4 hours) - 3   - J, A, K
  - - - - - -  (Dec 25)
-  Tidying kitchen, dining room (2 hours) - 1 - J, A, K
-  Peeling vegetables (30 minutes) - 1   - J, A, N, K, B
-  Making dressing ( 30 minutes)   -  1   -  J, N
-  Stuffing turkey, putting in oven (30 min) -  1 -  J, N
-  Washing dishes (1 hour +/-)   - 3   -  J, N, A, K, B
-  Keeping counters clear (occ)   - 2   -  J, N, A, K, B
-  Setting table for dinner (15 min)- 1 - J, N, A, K, B
-  Making mulled cider  (2 hours) - 3 - J, N, A, B

You see?  Armed with that information, and some honesty about how it is impossible for you to do it all, it is time for a family meeting so that all comes together and that people understand the situation and what it would mean for you to get some help.  (This - of course - assumes that you have family members that are willing to help.)  Then, decide which activities you are willing to drop, and which ones will be delegated - or changed (for example, buying egg nog instead of mulling apple cider).  Make a schedule if necessary, who gets to use the oven when, for instance. See how the stress drops off?  If instructions are necessary, then write them out for each person and be available to answer questions when the time comes. But ... resist the temptation to take over.  

And (this is important) NeVeR forget to say thank you!

I've used a very minor example of getting help over a three-day period.  It could be used in getting help with a weekly schedule on a regular basis, too.

The point of all this delegation is to relieve the stress associated with having too much to do, PLUS to give you more time to spend with God, and with each other.

You might be surprised at how much you enjoy yourself. Hm.  I think I'll try this myself.  ;D

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