Tuesday, October 2, 2012

big rocks

Did you ever notice how many distractions there are in life?  Dumb question, I know.  I'm sure you have.  It's what frustrates us on a daily basis...or, at least many of us.  We start out with expectations every.single.morning. of what our day will look like.  We have a list...if not actual, then at least a mental one...of all the things we plan to do, accomplish or enjoy.  And then...at least for me...reality happens.  A kid gets sick, or there's a spill on the carpet that really should be cleaned, I realize there's no food in the house and I MUST get to the grocery store, or there's an appointment I forgot about.  I guess you could chalk a lot of my distractions up to 'poor planning', and I'm willing to concede possibly a large part to that...but even so, it seems like almost daily there's some unexpected thing that throws me off course.

Thus, the most 'nebulous' things on my list inevitably get pushed to the bottom.  The things that generally have the most long-term value, yet aren't necessarily 'screaming' for attention, demanding to be done NOW.  Things that aren't even really 'cross them off the list' type things...and yet still things that require my thought, my time and my attention.

I'm thinking, for example, things like, addressing my kids' attitude problems.  I have multiple parenting books sitting on my end table, that I'm sure are full of helpful suggestions in redirecting some of the issues I see our family struggling with.  But it would take time to actually read those books, and even more time to pray about and implement the necessary changes.  It's quicker, and at least for the time being, gets some measure of results just to yell and freak out and be crazy mom...and hey, the dishes are piling up, the dog hair is free-floating across the hardwood floor, and we won't even mention the state of the bathrooms!  Who has time to read and have thoughtful, meaningful conversation with family...right?

Or how about the book on a given and specific topic that I know has been gurgling inside me for a couple of years now?  Who has time to invest in learning the mechanics of good writing, organizing my thoughts and actually beginning the process?  Not me, that's for sure.  And yet every time I stumble across the plentiful information being put out in the blogosphere about how pretty much anyone can write these days, I feel that twinge inside me that says..."Just do this already!"  But again...the tyranny of the urgent screams "NO WAY!!  I need attention...NOW!!"

It's an ongoing battle and process in life to try to make the 'main things' the main things...and keep them that way.  Part of that is learning to say "No" to some things, and to say "Wait" to other things.  Say "Yes" to the things I should...fill up my days and weeks with them and let everything else fall in where it may.

You have probably heard the analogy of the the 'big rocks'...but it bears reminding, if not you, then myself.  Rather than explain it, here's a short video that does so perfectly... 

I just have to keep reminding myself...BIG ROCKS FIRST.  And of course, part of that means identifying WHAT the big rocks are...and being okay to acknowledge that some things just aren't 'big rocks', and heck...some things just aren't rocks at all!  (Sorry, I don't thing the PTO Meeting rocks are going to ever make it into my container...and I really am starting to accept and be okay with that.)  Then, after all the big rocks are in, I can decide on a daily/weekly/monthly basis what 'extras' might win that coveted 'little rock' status...like, random field trips, social events and whatever else comes across our paths. 

There's also all the 'stuff' like, household stuff, that I could most certainly fill my days entirely with...but I think that for us personally (this being very individual and specific to our family) that those are the things I tend to 'default' to, but aren't the things that I'm supposed to be making priority.  At least not in this particular season of life...(again, for me).  I think that I, and my family, are supposed to learn how to keep the household going, learn what things just aren't that important to us (and therefore can just be allowed to fall off the radar), and how to make it work for me to be a WAHM (work at home mom), who is largely available but still has some very real things beyond the cooking/cleaning and taxiing that must stay priority for us. 

It's still a little weird for me to acknowledge and adjust to 'season changes'.  For a time, one of our biggest rocks was homeschooling.  Before that it was devoting my entire attention to teaching little people to walk, talk and go on the potty.  Those seasons are both done.  It's a new season, and one that I find I have to be far more intentional about...partly because no one is screaming and pulling on me, demanding what I WILL do with my time.  It's very true that the 'squeaky wheel (or in this case, child) gets the grease'.  But now, some of the most important wheels don't necessarily squeak the loudest, and I have to to seek out, plan and prioritize what will get my attention.  (You'd think it would be a very freeing experience...especially if you are still in the 'squeaky infant/toddler' stage...but it's actually not as easy as you might think!  I'm very surprised how hard it is to discern the urgent from the important...) 

I'm finding my way, and slowly, I think I'm getting the hang of it.  Still, I'm looking forward to getting MUCH better at this.

"No, Jessi, not like this...the big rocks FIRST!!"


1 comment:

Keri said...

I often come back to this analogy and am very thankful to have been taught it at a young age. I love, too, that even though I might have some big "rocks" in common with other people, my "rice" can be completely different - and that's okay. As you touched on, what God says is important is different for each individual, each family, and it's okay that we disagree on those points at times. Sometimes it's okay to say, "No, we're staying home tonight," just because the thought of going out one more time this week is stressful. God designs our stresses and our joys, and He doesn't make them the same for everyone. I find that to be a very freeing thought as I'm so often tempted to compare my jar of rocks and rice to those of others.