Sunday, April 22, 2012

Deciding on Purpose

Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Hashimoto’s Disease requires planning and decision making. I am not great at either one, but I have learned to let my "yes be yes" and my "no be no". Trying to juggle life as a wife, a mom and a writer requires many decisions. If I take my daughter to her softball games will I be able to get up for work the next day? If I choose to spend the day writing when will the dishes get done? If I attend game night on Saturday night will I be able to get up for church the following Sunday? If I spend a couple of hours deep cleaning the house on a Sunday afternoon will I have enough energy to go to small group?

What I have learned is that when I say "yes" to one thing I say "no" to something else. With each opportunity I ask what takes priority. What can wait? What cannot wait? Which is a need? Which is a want? And who will I say "no" to?

It’s not easy because I don’t want to tell anyone "no". But contemplating the possible outcomes brings me to the conclusions benefiting my family the most. Often I attend softball games once a week rather than the scheduled two days (my husband takes her the other day). The dishes are pushed to the back burner until I realize we have three clean forks for dinner and we need four. I have yet to make game night as church service takes priority. And I’ve come to the decision I need to pay someone to deep clean my house!

All of this is to say when you make choices in your schedule and your life, make them on purpose. Because when you decide on purpose, I have found there is less guilt attached to it. And as a mom who has suffered from “mommy guilt” in the past, any preemptive strike in this area is worth it.

So tell me, how do you balance life with your time and energy? What practical decision making techniques do you use? Do you always say yes? Or do you make decisions on purpose?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Who are You in the Face of Conflict?

Last night in our [pre]teen parenting class we discussed conflict. More specifically we spoke of conflict with our children during the difficult years of adolescence. Conflict in families is perhaps the most common area in which we see disagreements, and for some people where we see fewer resolutions.

As a writer, conflict is my world. There are no good stories without conflict. It’s the glue that holds the pages together and the element that keeps them turning. As a reader, I look forward to reading what obstacles the hero overcomes but more than that, how he overcomes them.

But in the real world, conflict is very much a part of our lives and not quite as entertaining. Some people are like the hero in the novel, overcoming the obstacles achieving their goals. Others are like the nemesis who realizes they’ve caused the conflict and repent redeeming themselves. While the true villain causes a mountain of conflict and justifies his actions never believing he did anything wrong.

So how does the hero overcome conflict? In books, most often by outsmarting the enemy or using the villain’s weakness against him. But there’s always a transformation within the hero that takes place. Where he digs deep and finds a way to stand tall gaining the courage needed to do what’s right in the face of evil. And like life, it’s never easy. It’s always scary. But worth it in the end.

So how do you handle conflict? Are you like the hero constantly struggling but gaining ground inch by inch? Or like the nemesis who enjoys stirring the pot and then afraid of what he’s started hoping to have an opportunity to switch sides? I’d venture to say no one will fess up to being the villain as they most often don’t see themselves as such and that’s just the way Satan likes it.

So as you deal with conflict in your lives remember the Lord has given us rules to follow. When we correct with love, confess with shame and forgive with compassion it makes it easier for us all to be the hero.