A couple months ago life got really hectic for my family. I felt like I was spinning circles every day, overwhelmed with all the responsibilities I had going on. I was very short-tempered with my kids, my house was in shambles, I was spending money like we were millionaires (we aren’t), and although I was constantly moving and doing, I ended each day with a full to-do list and very little actually accomplished. I felt frustrated, exhausted, and like a big colossal failure in every way.
I was a mess. It was an understandable mess, but a mess nonetheless. In about two weeks time, my oldest started kindergarten, my husband got a promotion at work that came with a very drastic schedule change, and my dad died suddenly and unexpectedly, it also happened to be one of the busiest times of the year at my work. I would have preferred to hide under my covers all day, but I knew I had to keep moving, so I just worked that much harder. Spinning my wheels, but never getting anywhere. I was tired, unfulfilled, and frustrated.
In my efforts to just keep going, I had lost sight of where it was that I was actually trying to get. I think this happens a lot for busy moms. Life demands that we are constantly on the go, but one day we realize that we aren’t actually going anywhere. Life is supposed to be a journey and a journey means that you are going somewhere.
We clean the house from top to bottom, we cart the kids around to 20 different activities a week, we read all the recommended books, we serve on all the right teams and committees, we put in the extra hours at work, we cook the best gourmet meals, and throw Pinterest-worthy parties, but why? None of these things are bad, but do we ever stop to consider if they are serving us in our current situation and directing us toward our life plan? Do we look at the things we are doing and see if they actually line up to the goals and dreams we have for ourselves and our families? Do we even have any goals and dreams or are we living whatever life we happen to stumble into?
If you are feeling overwhelmed by life and frazzled by your daily circumstances, or if you are feeling disconnected and burned out with life in general, then maybe it’s time to pause and regain some clarity over your life. Maybe it would be a good thing to stop spinning your wheels and ease into a path that actually leads you to the life you’re trying to live. Take a moment to grab a few sheets of paper and brainstorm a vision for your life. Cut through the fog of your everyday chaos and create a sense of clarity and purpose for this season of your life.
Here are some questions to consider as you get started. You don’t have to answer every question, but use these as a guide to start thinking about your vision for your life and your family’s future. Spend some time in prayer as you work through these questions to see what goals and passions God is placing on your heart for this season of life.
Gain Clarity on How You Want to Feel
I like to start with feelings because feelings are what drive our actions, which will fuel our results. And feelings can be developed by our thoughts and our mindset. Feelings are powerful tools that can help us develop the life we want.
- What is the emotion that you enjoy feeling the most?
- What emotion helps you produce the best work?
- What kind of feelings do you want to experience in the mornings to start your day?
- What emotions are least helpful to you and cause you to make poor decisions?
- What negative emotions do you find beneficial to experience at times (stress, fear, nervousness, guilt, anxiety, anger)?
- How do you want to feel at the end of your day?
- How do you want to feel toward the people in your key relationships (husband, kids, friends, boss)?
- What emotions are you currently feeling on a regular basis that aren’t serving you?
- How do you want to feel about the work you do?
Develop Clarity Over What you Want to Do
Next, we want to consider our journey. You can live your entire life without a plan and a vision for the future, simply wake up each day and react to whatever circumstances life decides to throw at you. Or you can choose to create a plan for life, to use the skills and the blessings God has given to you and make the most out of your circumstances. This takes vision and clarity, focus and effort, but the result is a life well lived. God calls us to be good stewards, not just of our money, but all of our resources, including each moment of our lives.
- What do you want from your life?
- What do you want to do with your kids before they are grown?
- What things do you want your children to learn and experience?
- What are you hoping to accomplish this year, in five years, in your lifetime?
- What kind of lifestyle would you like to have?
- What are the things that you want that you already have?
- What dreams would you like to fulfill and when?
- What new things would you like to learn?
- How would you like to grow personally in the next few years?
- How would you like to give and serve in the future?
- What kinds of things would you like to get involved in?
- What are some things you want to make sure you do every single day?
- What would you like to experience with your kids on a regular basis?
- Are you hoping to develop or grow a side business?
- What are your career goals?
- How would you like your relationship with your husband to grow?
- Would you like to spend more time praying and studying the Word?
- What people would you like to spend more time with?
- What hobbies and self-care activities would you like to participate in?
- Are there any habits that you would like to develop?
- Why? for all of the questions.
Now take a minute and read through all of the things you have written down during this brainstorm and think back over the last few weeks. Are you on the right track? Are you regularly doing things that will lead you to the life you’re trying to aim for? Do you regularly experience the feelings and emotions you’d like to feel throughout your day? Will the things you are doing today lead to the plans you have for tomorrow? What should you stop doing so you can start doing something better? A great future is built by small everyday steps. If your actions are not pointing you in the direction of your dreams, then you should change course or change your dream.
After doing my own work to remember where it is I’m trying to go, I’ve recreated some systems and routines that fit better with the new schedules we have for this season of life. I’ve re-energized my focus by reminding myself of where I’m trying to go and why. I’ve pulled out some things that weren’t leading me to the life I want to live and added in some things that will.
I start each day with a peaceful morning routine and a scheduled out to do list. I’ve put in place a whole lot of margin and empty space in my life to simply enjoy. We aren’t meant to fly through life at the speed of light. Each day is a gift to be enjoyed and used as an act of worship to our Maker.