I loved the television show Clean Sweep. In the show the contents of a whole room are placed into a person’s driveway, and their things are sorted into piles: Keep, Maybe Keep, and Toss. One of the aspects I love about the show is the way junk is fretted over. Seriously, do you really want to keep those mismatched potholders, that torn and stained rug, or that Duran Duran cassette from 1987? If you have to ask, “What is this?” “Where does it go?” or “What does it do?” perhaps it should be tossed.
The truth is, maybe we need to look at our lives and schedule the same way we look at the clutter around our house in little piles or big stacks.
Do you have things cluttering your mind, heart, or time that need to be cleaned out?
I remember one day when my husband encouraged me to do a clean sweep. A busy mom of two toddlers and one school-aged child, I was overwhelmed and exhausted by life. John could see it was taking a toll on me. When he asked me about my day, I muttered and moaned. I had a great husband, a budding career, and good kids . . . so why was I so frustrated? Because I was doing too many “important” things and I was exhausted.
John asked me to sit down with my schedule and list everything I was doing. It was a long list! I wrote down cleaning, caring for kids, cooking, schooling, dance class, sports activities, gardening, Bible study and writing—just to name a few. Then John asked me to use my common sense: “Is this something you love? Something you feel called to?”
As I went over my schedule I realized everything, everything, ranked as a priority. I had given it all equal weight. The things I didn’t like took up just as much time as the things I found joy in . . . and soon the joy had become lost in the clutter.
My wise husband urged me to think through a few questions:
- What things was I doing because I couldn’t say no?
- What things had worked for a season but no longer worked for our family?
- What things could I hand off to someone else?
As I thought about my needs—and my kids’ needs—as I listened to my heart and my gut, I started making better decisions. Before I took on new responsibilities I considered whom I was most responsible for—my kids. My common sense grew, and I learned to think through why I wanted to do something and where it would fit. Once I started cutting things, I discovered I really cared about the things that were left!
What about you? Are you too busy doing too many things? Ask yourself these questions:
- What things am I doing because I can’t say no?
- What things worked for a season but no longer work for our family?
- What things can I hand off to someone else?
Then start cutting away. It’ll be hard, but it’ll be worth it. Not only will your schedule feel freer, but your heart will too. Guaranteed!