Hope for Homemakers: Avoiding Empty Pursuits

This entry is part 36 of 40 in the series Hope for Homemakers

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Last week, we talked about the first step in Saying Goodbye to Survival Mode: prayerfully setting and focusing on our personal priorities.  And this week I have begun to work on the next steps Crystal lays out in chapter one: clearing the schedule clutter, cutting out time and energy suckers, and counting the costs.  And let me tell you, this has been a challenge for me.  Yes, I have clearly defined priorities now, but I need the discipline to break some habits so I can focus on what truly matters.

I was reading in Proverbs last week and came across this verse:

“He who tills this land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.” – Proverbs 28:19

And then the very next verse says,

” A faithful man will abound with blessings”  – Proverbs 28:20a

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Immediately I recognized their application to the running of my home.  I need not only to focus on my priorities, but I need diligence and discipline to avoid empty pursuits.  I need to recognize that my empty pursuits are specific to me.  My empty pursuits will be what amount to schedule clutter, time and energy wasters.

So, I am just going to lay it out there:

Hello, my name is Leah and I waste my time in these areas:

  • Internet browsing
  • Games
  • Reading late into the night
  • Choosing a nap over finding ways to boost my energy in the middle of the day
  • Watching ridiculous TV programs

I could easily sit here and justify each of these pursuits. But as I do, I realize they truly don’t line up with my priorities and are, indeed, time wasters.  Crystal, in her book recommends making a time log of all of my activities throughout the day, but I am such a creature of habit, I could tell you almost everything I do on a regular day.  Thus, I know exactly where I am wasting my time and where I need to force myself out of my routine.

A Basic Daily Schedule

So, I need discipline and new habits to force myself out of the ruts of wastefulness in which I find myself.  I created a new Basic Daily Schedule for our home.  In the schedule, I have little reminders to myself of the things I would like to accomplish, as well as the things I would like to avoid.  I also have made an effort to return to the morning and evening routines I know work for me.   Additionally, I set a few new rules for myself to insure I am more present and intentional with my family.

I have not perfectly carried out the Basic Daily Schedule since I created it, but it has put me back on track in a number of ways.  Not every day is exactly the same (some days we are not even home to carry out the basic schedule), but they are very often similar.  I find having the schedule laid out helps me to see where I have veered off greatly on the days we honestly could and should be following our regular routines. 

On those days, I can quickly get back on track  by simply leaving what lies behind and moving ahead with what matters.  I have found dwelling on the failures of my day and then choosing to succumb to the wastefulness (“…the day is already ruined, so I might as well keep ruining it…”) is in no way productive.

Rather, I choose to focus on the priorities I have and get excited about things I do accomplish in the day. 

One Thing

I have been encouraging you to name ONE thing you accomplished today, not the laundry list of things that didn’t get done, but ONE thing you DID!  I find having one small project completed, or one small bit of encouragement in my day helps me not to feel like a failure.  There is some forward momentum to note, even on the days when it is only one small thing.

And Another…

I also find that one good deed follows another as I go throughout my day.   The momentum shifts back in a positive direction and I can be more focused on what matters. 

In a sense, faithfulness breeds faithfulness, and I receive the blessings faithfulness affords.  As I am faithful and receive the blessings of it, I am less interested in my empty pursuits (I suddenly have less time for the things that used to waste my time).

So, what about you?  Have you taken the time to clearly define your priorities?  Good!  Now take the time to identify the things that waste your time and do not help you accomplish your daily goals.  If you would like to share here, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Series Navigation<< Hope for Homemakers: Setting PrioritiesStop Chasing Balance, Start Being Present >>

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Rachel

    I have many of the same time wasters as you. I’m also guilty of turning on the tv as a babysitter so that I can work on my own tasks without little people underfoot. I really want to work on that one, putting aside my frustrations at things going slower and including my children in my daily tasks.

  2. Leah

    Just wanted take a minute and say thanks for taking the time to write each post. This month my family made a thankful tree and each day planned to tape on a leaf with something we were thankful for. My little boy and girl just turned two and three this summer and they have named some “outside the box” kind of things they want to write on their leaves but it made me think outside the box. This month I have reminded myself to say i love you, stop for hugs, and give more compliments and its only the 4th. I also want to tell more people thank you this month. i stumbled on this website somehow last fall and all you have written has cheered me up on down days and inspired me with my own children and household! I didnt know which post i should comment on so i picked a random one. Sorry for being so long, but thank you for sharing with me! You’ve been a help and encouragement!!!

    1. ussleah

      Leah, Thank you so much for your kind and unexpected words! I am humbled by your kindness! Thank you for your encouragement…it can be difficult to get the time to do what I love in this blogging realm, but words like yours are an encouragement to keep going and be faithful. Blessings to you and your family this season as you discover what your little ones are thankful for and think “outside the box”. We are doing a similar thing (minus the tree) by intentionally asking our girls what they are thankful for each day. Yesterday, my elder daughter said, “Christmas.” It gives me the opportunity to talk about why we celebrate Christmas…conversations I will cherish forever!

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