By Kelli Best
My last blog focused on the fact that there is always chaos in life. The only way to have order and control of this chaos is to accept it, embrace it, and then adapt to it. God still moves in our lives when chaos is present, in fact He could be allowing it to draw us closer to Himself. Once we accept the fact that chaos is around us and allow God to us it, then we can begin to implement practical ways in which to actually embrace the chaos.
There are many tools I use to help me embrace the chaos of life. However, before I can even begin with the practical solutions I have to realize that I cannot do life alone and neither can you! I need people in my life to help with practical things. Colossians 3:15 says, ““Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (NIV). I am a member of a body, not the sole part. In order to have peace, I have to have help! When I am faced with a daunting task, I ask myself this question, “What can only I do in this situation?” Once I have answered, then I begin to delegate the rest. Lists are one of the most practical tools in which to do this. Post lists in common areas so others can see where you need help. Assuming the dishwasher will be unloaded because the dishes are clean is probably a disastrous thought. This is an example of a chore that someone else can do to free you up to do something different, but you have to make it known that it is needed! Put it on the list!
I have a menu planning list and a pre-printed grocery shopping list that I use weekly. These lists save me time by allowing me to play a weeks worth of meals and then shop for the items need for each of those meals. Once I have all the ingredients, I can switch out meals depending upon our schedule for the day. If I don’t feel like making tacos for dinner on Monday then I make spaghetti instead which was scheduled for Thursday. I can make the switch because I have all the ingredients. This does take some pre-planning and initial thought, but in the ends saves me a great deal of time.
Another time saver for me is my Life Binder. This idea came to me a few years ago when I became so discouraged at the end of each day feeling as if I never accomplished enough. I would go to bed at night and think about all the areas of my life that were not addressed and feel as if I had failed. One day the Lord challenged me to sit down and categorize my life into seven areas. These areas then became the sections in my Life Binder where I make notes on each of them and keep them in one place. My binder is sectioned like this: Personal, Bethlehem Chapel (my church), School (we homeschool), Home, Ministry, BONDED Women’s Ministry (I am the leader of this ministry).
This binder has helped me create mental space by allowing me a place to empty my brain! Ben Franklin said, “Let all your things have their places; let all part of your business have its time.” Now, I have a place for all my lists. My binder also allows me to work daily on each major section of my life. I do this by actually setting an alarm on my phone for a specific amount of time and working within one section of my binder at a time. I have learned that I do not multitask well, in fact, I do not think it is even possible to do more than one thing at a time. One of them will suffer. Working on one section of the binder at a time keeps me focused on that specific section and I have found that I accomplish more in half the time.
A secondary binder that I use is my Holiday Binder that makes its appearance in October. This binder, replaces my Life Binder for the holiday season. In this binder, I have everything I need in one place for the holidays. Here are some examples: calendars, Thanksgiving meal planning sheets, Thanksgiving grocery shopping lists, recipes used for holiday meals, left over labels, paper table decorations, coloring pages for small children, Christmas wish lists for family members, gift giving pages, thank you note record, Christmas card lists for giving and receiving, holiday memory keepsakes, Christmas gift tags. I have personalized these pages over the years to suit my own needs and even given complete binders as gifts. Again, everything I need for the holidays is in one place. Search the internet for examples of these types of pages. The ones I use are no longer in print.
The last practical tool for embracing the chaos of life is setting boundaries. I do not work outside of my home, yet I have office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Establishing a work day for myself keeps me accountable to my family. In fact, my youngest daughter is my phone accountability partner. If she catches me on my phone after 5 p.m. she will ask me what I am doing. If I am answering an email or sending a business text, I am reprimanded! It can wait until tomorrow! I will not begin answering email or texts before 9 a.m. because that is my time to read my Bible, pray, and hopefully exercise. Honestly, it doesn’t always work like this, but I certainly do try! I am fortunate enough to have an office of my own in our home which helps me establish that boundary of “work” mode as well. However, if you do not have an office, find some place in your home or even just a tote bag where you keep your mobile office and let that help distinguish that “work” mode for you as well. Once the bag is put away, it stays put away!
Embracing chaos is part of taking it captive. Review the practical steps above and see which of them work for you. Next time, we will discuss how to adapt some of these practical tips.
Kelli Best and her husband, Bill, have two children; Ashlee and Paige. Bethlehem Chapel in Eastern Washington is their church home where they have pastored since 2009. Kelli and Bill have been married since 1989 and they both agree it feels like just yesterday. Kelli loves to read, drink coffee, cook and bake. Homeschooling is also a passion, which she has enjoyed for 18 years. Kelli and Bill both graduated from Evangel University with their B.A. in Music Education and their home is usually filled with music. Kelli is the team leader for BONDED Women’s Ministry at Bethlehem Chapel and participates on the worship team. She is a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and plans to become ordained in 2017. — Read more from Kelli at kellibest.blogspot.com.
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