Am I Giving Myself Grace or Making an Excuse?

With my previous post, I discussed my Lenten journey. One thing I’m focusing on is being more diligent in disciplining my children. I’ve decided to:

  • Discipline them the first time when they do something they should know better
  • Only allow them 2 hours of T.V.
  • Having them cleanup before starting a new activity
  • Having them make their bed every day

Because I am focusing on this, this means my productivity level has gone down. Is it worthwhile? Of course. Is it frustrating?

Let’s just say God is teaching me about acceptance, again.

As I’ve said before, I wish I could get the same amount done everyday. Kind of like a robot. And do my routines perfectly and consistently like all the productivity gurus tell you to. But, oh yeah! I’m not God. I’m not perfect. Indeed, I am only a child of God. I need to give myself grace.

I am only a child of God.

How hard this is for me to accept! I want to always feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with doing everything on my list. But is that Gods will? No, I don’t think so. I think He wants me to do what’s important. He wants me to say yes to His will, not my own. I need growth in this way so much! I get so impatient and frustrated when things don’t go my way. But I’m human! I run out of steam, and more often than I’d like, I go to bed with my makeup still on , and my bedtime routine undone. God’s method of growth is not linear as I wish it was and how I expect it to be. It’s a roller coaster ride. But it’s better than my methods. Better than being a slave to my routine. I’d rather be a servant to God.

So, what to do with these feelings of failure and frustration? Offer them up to the Lord. Humbly accept again, that I am but a child. I have come a long way, by the grace of God, but He’s not done with me yet. If i could operate at 100% every single day, then I wouldn’t need God. God wants what’s best for me. Maybe that’s why these kinda days happen. So I remember I need Him. That I need to turn back to Him in prayer instead of relying on my own strength. Should I wallow in anguish? Nah, I have to accept my feelings and do the next right thing. Which is to pray and try again. And again. And again.

A Daily Reflection

Sometimes you need to give yourself grace when you are not as productive as you’d like to be because things happen that are out of your control. But you also need to be honest about what you can improve on. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will direct you to the next steps:

  • How are my boundaries with others?
  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • How is my diet?
  • Am I exercising?
  • Did something unexpected happen?
  • Did I have the help I usually have?
  • Did I overestimate or underestimate how long something might take?
  • Did I allow outward distractions (youtube, social media, T.V. etc) or mental distractions (hesitation, perfectionism) zap my time?
  • Have I been following my self-care program?
  • Do I keep a schedule to the best of my ability?
  • Have I been prioritizing?

The answers to these questions will lead you to your next steps. Maybe you are doing everything right and it was just out of your control. At least now you can rest assured. But maybe you are letting distractions get the best of you, or you aren’t sleeping enough. Both of those things can have a huge effect on your productivity level.

Also, I love this print from Ruth Soukup:

Grace vs. Excuses Art Print {Digital Download}

So, what are you working on in your life? Are you giving yourself grace, or making excuses? Let me know in the comments. There’s power in bringing things into the light!

My Lenten Focus

I read something on a blog recently that struck a chord. A woman with young children was talking with a friend about her list of things to do for Lent and her friend interrupted her and said “You live Lent.” Ha! This made me realize that I can be overzealous when it comes to all the ways I want to grow spiritually and that maybe JUST MAYBE I should be a little more realistic and gracious with myself. So for Lent, I’ve decided what I need most is to live my vocation joyfully, peacefully, and diligently.

Fasting from Irritation and Anxiety, Feasting on Patience and Diligence

I really struggle with remaining patient with my kids. I also get angry when they interrupt my work. But, hello! They are more important. But with that said, this focus on my vocation as lead me to see the ways I need to take disciplining them up a notch. Having all young kids is always going to be hard, but I can do my part do make it easier and one thing is to be on top of disciplining them. Honestly I can be lazy in this realm. It is really a struggle for me. I often put up with bad behavior because it isn’t THAT BAD. Does anyone else feel me here? There’s certain behaviors I never put up with, but the little things get me because I’m busy, I don’t want to stop what I’m doing, I don’t want to get up again. But wait a second…if I love my kids, then I have to do this anyway regardless of how I feel. I just want to keep it real here so if any of you struggle in this way, you will know you are not alone and that there is hope.

What I’ve Been Doing About It

I have been practicing disciplining the first time with things my kids should already know better. If I have taught them not to leave the table without asking, then if they engage in this behavior, it’s uh-oh, corner time. Beforehand, I would have warned them if they did it again, they would get time-out. But all I was doing was teaching them that it is okay to do it once. And I have to tell you, after only a few days, it’s already bearing good fruit.

Fasting from Anxiety, Feasting on Peace

As far as anxiety goes, I am trying to be mindful of when I am having racing thoughts, and choosing thoughts that help me move forward. I tend to over-analyze which paralyzes me from taking action. For example, I do the same routine every morning, but each morning my mind wants to come up with a better way of doing it. Sounds good, right? Wrong! Because it only distracts me from what I need to do and makes me feel anxious that I will do something wrong. I am also practicing giving up my anxieties to God, to hand over the worries I have that I can’t do anything about.This is helping me have more peace.

A Great Resource

In case you were wondering, many of my discipline ideas come from this book. I highly recommend it.

On a Different Note

I am also trying to ask God each day “what would you have me do?” and I am listening to iCatholic radio in the morning to enrich my faith. I especially enjoy Dr. Ray Guarendi’s show. How about you? What are you doing for Lent?