Friday, May 20, 2011

Life Management for the Fast Lane

Do you ever feel like you’re juggling?  I do. Home school, Ministry, Caring for my family, and Outreach.  How to keep all of the balls going?

 Last week I had a particularly intense week.  A team of 10 young people visited our city.  Three of them stayed with us, and we planned several outreach activities with the group.  The day before the team arrived, we hosted the closing of our home school speech club for five families.  During the team’s stay, I hosted another meeting for Latin workers in our city.  All week long while young people came in and out of my house, I tried to carry on homeschooling as usual.

The week went well but ended on a crisis note. An extra person stayed at our house on their last night.  In the morning our guests got up, ate breakfast and were finishing last minute packing when the team leader got an emergency call.  One of the boys had collapsed at his hotel near our home. The leader rushed to the hotel and called an ambulance. My husband drove to the hospital.  I focused on keeping the kids on track with school while trying to encourage team members on the side.  Two hours later we learned that the young man had a kidney stone, and I realized that five people would be staying one more night.

On one hand I enjoyed having a great group of young people in my home and getting to know them, but on the other hand it was a challenging week.   Somehow God gave me supernatural grace and strength for each day.  Here are some life management skills I tried to remember along the way:

  • One step at a time

 I mentally prepared myself not to think about the next day’s activities in advance.  I enjoyed my speech club closing without worrying about how I was going to clean my house for three guests who would arrive the next day.  The following day I took care of everything as best I could.  Over planning adds stress.

  • Let go of control

 I have strong leadership tendencies.  (Ask my poor husband!)  But this week I let others take charge of things rather than striving to do everything myself. A few times my husband handled things with the team differently than I would have.  Rather than stepping in to get things done the way I wanted, I focused on keeping our home school and family running while supporting him and the team as best I could.

  • Stay positive

 When things turn out differently than I hope, I have a tendency to fret and fume. One evening at 9:30 we learned that the plan we had for the team the following day had fallen through.  Another day our plans for street outreach were foiled by rain. Fretting and fuming gets me nowhere. I tried to stay positive.

  • Let go of perfectionism

 The floor didn’t get mopped every day, I wasn’t focused on home school one hundred percent, but I tried to relax and do what I could.

  • Be flexible.

 The ultimate flexibility test came when I was secretly feeling relieved that our dear guests would be leaving, and I found out they’d be staying an extra night instead.  At times like that you take a deep breath and roll with the punches.

Remembering these strategies helped me not get overwhelmed (most of the time) and they probably made life easier for those around me as well!

What are your life management strategies for busy weeks?


Linda said...

Hi, I'm sorry your life has been super-busy but you and God worked out a good plan and He helped you get through it!

I could really identify with your schedule and responsibilities. My entire 4th year in Africa was like that. At the end of that year, I realized I had used only a fraction of my allotted vacation days. If I had it to do over again, I'd make sure I took vacation days from time to time in order to keep strong for the demands. (Nevertheless, God got me through! He is amazing!)


OliveTree said...

Yes, God is amazing! Thankfully not all weeks are like last week for me. I'm holding on until my summer vacation from homeschool.

Sometimes busy weeks just "happen." But I try to manage my schedule to allow for a bit of rest too!

jackandellasmum said...

Wow! I'm so glad you shared this! I had a similar experience this week, though not as serious, where we found ourselves having custody of seven college/post-college students for an extra 24 hours. Though I don't think I handled it too badly, I do wish I had read your post beforehand! Good things to remember, for sure. Thank you!

OliveTree said...

Wow, 7 students for an extra 24 hours! That's interesting that you had a similar experience. I'm sure I could have learned from you too. I definitely need all the help I can get!

Anonymous said...

Great post--skillfully weaving the stories of life on a God adventure!

Legal Alien

Linda @ bushel and a pickle said...

Managing balls...try deciding which one should be dropped! And then drop it!

OliveTree said...

I love your approach, Linda!