Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Making Over My Evenings {Day 3}

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I'm working my way through Crystal Paine's new course, Makeover Your Evenings- 14 days of videos, reading, and projects designed to bring more order, rest, and productivity into your life. If you'd like to grab the course and work through it right along with me, you can do so here. Each weekday night I'll be posting my takeaway from the day's coursework. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it and how you are making over your own evenings!


You may or may not have noticed that this post is getting up later than usual. Today was a bit nuts around here with a houseful of friends, so I'm playing catch-up. Grace, friends! We all need it. Late is better than never.

The agenda for today is to take a hard look at your calendar and determine if and how you are overextending yourself. Americans tend to be busy busy, rush rush, always doing something. We feel the need to stay way and to be productive. We feel guilty about saying no to others, and plenty of people want a slice of our time.

If you're too busy you're going to burn out fast. Overbooking yourself usually hurts both you and your family.

Do you have time for pause? Time for rest? Time to simply wait upon the Lord and enjoy His presence?

My husband is originally from Ireland. Due to his unique perspective on our culture I've often been made aware of American quirks and foibles that I might not have noticed otherwise. I'm very thankful for his insights! They've certainly changed me. This tendency to be very busy, very rushed, and consequently, very stressed out- it's very American.

From the early on in our marriage, Niall and I determined we would be counter-cultural when it comes to our speed of life. Switching to weekly Sabbath observance really helped us to be less busy and exhausted. We also had a great example in another couple slightly older and significantly wiser than us- they hardly ever scheduled anything on weeknights, said no very often to social engagements and other obligations, knew their limits, even refused to own cell phones.

We've never gone so far as no cell phones, but Niall and I did borrow plenty of other pages from their book. Apart from Wednesday night prayer meeting, and occasionally short term Bible studies, we almost never leave home or have company on a weeknight. Very rarely we make exceptions for an out-of-town visitor or an extra special event; but as a rule, we protect them pretty fiercely.

Evenings are for family time, homework {Niall is working on an MBA}, putting the house back together after a full day, and rest.

Our second strategy is to only schedule one event per weekend. It may be dinner with friends, a trip to a museum or park, or a birthday party. Many weekends have nothing planned- a spontaneous trip to the park or shopping is plenty. We know that any more activity will leave both us and the kids fussy and plain tuckered out.

Maybe we have less energy than other people. Maybe we are boring. But we are much happier, rested, and less stress as a result of these guidelines.

Calendar isn't my biggest problem when it comes to making over my evenings. I was, however, glad to think this through and reevaluate. I'm sure as our kids become school aged and tempting opportunities for sports teams, extracurricular's, and other lessons pop up this will become more challenging. I want to be careful to evaluate well and count the cost before committing to anything. Our sanity is more than worth it!

If this is an area you could use some help in, I found the workbook section of Makeover Your Evenings, Day 3 to be a super beneficial exercise!

How about you- is there enough margin in your schedule? What could you eliminate or change to create more breathing room for you and your family?

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