How to Have a Better Day.

I’m overdoing it again. I’m hand scripting name cards for an early Christmas dinner and crocheting baby hats. I’m shopping for ornament exchanges and wedding rehearsal outfits. My closet is sending me into the depths of despair.

Self-induced stress fizzes like seasonal sparkling cider and an old memory surfaces. When I was at the height of productivity in a less stressful time, I scribbled out these three reminders:

Make a List: Organized chaos is my friend; lists are my best friend. The messiest house and busiest season feel manageable with a list. Some use their devices to record their to-dos; my device of choice is a roller ball pen and a fat notepad. Or sticky note. Or sometimes the tithe envelope from church. When a thousand tasks or dreams clutter my brain, it does my brain wonders to pin each item to paper.

Be flexible. Because life will lambast that meticulously and purposefully arranged to-do list – that glorious plan of attack written on that beautiful fat notepad. When you’re projected to arrive at church on time, a carseat blowout will occur. When you’re still not showered and hurriedly cleaning house, the welcome committee will knock on the door, the dogs will bark, the baby will wake, and you will use both legs to keep the barking dogs away from the nice lady. Stuff happens. Just rewrite that plan of attack and grasp it loosely.

Make a Short List. Sometimes I hit the ground running and never stop until the clock nears midnight. Sometimes I stall and realize I’ve not even prayed. One day, I decided to change the way I do things. I decided to create something more important than that glorious plan of attack: a short list. It’s a list of three or five or whatever manageable number of things that must be accomplished before bedtime. If nothing else on that organized to-do list gets done, I can rest knowing those three things were checked off the list. And the first thing on the short list is “Spend Time With God.” Days filled with purpose are a blessing, but just as Jesus reminded Martha, “few things are needed – or indeed only one.”

God, help me to choose what is better first and all throughout the day.

And even when it all goes to Hell in a hand basket and I’ve not even done the one thing that matters, thank You for the new mercies given at dawn or midnight.

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