I woke up at 4:48 this morning already overwhelmed.
Let me tell you about my life right now, so you can understand why.
Two weeks ago, I learned that we’ll likely have to renovate the master bath of our rental property — even as we’re finishing up replacing all the windows. Then our minivan broke down, and we had (well, chose) to pay the $1,600 annual fee for my son’s karate. Also, I received notification that my daughter is eligible to try out for team gymnastics. There’s no fee to try out, but I’m guessing that’s the last time any of that will be free.
Our house is a mess. The laundry I washed this weekend is still sitting in laundry baskets in the kitchen. I’ve started planning a hugely exciting but extremely time-consuming motherbility project. Parent-teacher conferences are this week, and I’ve promised to bring five pounds of chicken-taco filling to feed the teachers.
I have a volunteering shift to fit in sometime this week at church. I’m leading our lifegroup Thursday, and I haven’t done the homework myself, much less prepared to direct discussion. We’re also heading out of town Friday, and I have yet to book a hotel.
“Help!” That’s what I woke up thinking. “I need help.”
So, I prayed. (I’m really good at praying when life is overwhelming and everyone else is incapable of assisting me. It’s when all is going well that I slack off.)
So, this morning I prayed. And God gave me this:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
What I’ve always thought of as the Serenity Prayer is actually an organizational tool!
So, after praying, I sat down and wrote out three lists:
The serenity list (things I can’t control). The courage list (things I can). And the wisdom list (areas that require a bit more discernment).
Examples from my Serenity Prayer lists:
Serenity — If the minivan is broken, it’s broken. No amount of wishing and worrying is going to change that. So … just breathe. It’ll cost whatever it costs, and we’ll figure out how to pay for it. There’s no use worrying about what I cannot change.
Courage — I am so completely excited about my new idea for motherbility that I want to shout it all to you now. But I won’t, because it’s too early for announcements. It’s big and potentially wonderful and so much fun … and so much work … and so new to me, pushing me to develop skills I’ve never used before. Daunting. This thing is daunting. But I’m facing my fears and pushing forward.
Wisdom — What’s in my control? The unfolded laundry. How I schedule my time. How I schedule my children’s time. Those are things I can address. What can’t I control? That’s a harder question for me, because I love to plan, organize and, yes, control. But, for example, I can’t control the fact that winter isn’t loosening its grip, so I’m behind where I’d like to be on preparing the yard for spring and summer. So I’m going to put that niggling frustration aside, and focus on what I can do instead.
Suddenly, all that stuff clogging my head is less overwhelming. I have a Serenity Prayer action plan for making sense of my chaotic life. And everything else I give to God.
I’m still stressed. But I’m stressed with a plan.
As a way to start off the morning, that beats “help!” any day.