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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 13 - Feeling Overwhelmed

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The house is a mess. Dishes all over the counter tops, toys everywhere, papers askew. It’s depressing just looking at it all. "Didn’t I just get this messed cleaned up?"

When I look around at the mess, I see Mount Everest. I get stuck, I feel depressed, and I have no idea where to begin...or if I even want to. I just feel so...overwhelmed sometimes.

After learning about the curse, I at least have a clearer perspective on my housework. I can see the eternal reasons for taking care of my home and family, and the immediate gratification of a well-kept home is like the cherry on top. But, I still struggle with being overwhelmed from time to time. So, what’s a girl to do?

Here are some things I’ve come across that have been helpful:

When the house is a mess, only work on one room at a time.
This little nugget of advice has helped me so much! I tend to just start cleaning, haphazardly moving from room to room, cleaning a little here and a little there. Then I started only doing one room at a time - what a difference! I stay focused on my task, and when I’m through with one room, I can look at it and see results.

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." Sally Berger

Be generous to your trash can.
Throw things out! The more things I realize I don’t need and can definitely live without, the less stress I create for myself. Just let it go!

Get rid of half the toys.
Okay, maybe for you half is too much (or not enough), but the point is, your kiddos don’t need 5000 things out. Grab the toys that the kiddos don’t play with all that much (or just won’t even notice there gone) and either get rid of them or send them to the attic. You can pull them out on a rainy day.

Do the 15 minute thing.
Fly lady says to put the timer on for 15 minutes and go to work, doing everything you can in that time frame. It is helpful, especially to those who like a challenge.

Just get moving!
I spend so much time fretting and being overwhelmed that I stay stagnant, which leads to me feeling worse, and then ultimately, I give in to laziness and a "why bother" attitude. Just get up! Force yourself to do SOMETHING.

"Action is the antidote to despair." Joan Baez

Envision the big picture.
You know that warm and comfy feeling you get when you walk into a home that is well taken care of, clean, and inviting? It’s not sterile (I know people who actually put plastic coverings on their furniture - how uninviting) but tidy, warm, and peaceful. That’s the kind of home I want, and that motivates me to see the big picture instead of the piles. What’s your big picture?

Get alone, first thing in the morning, and spend time with God.
This is probably the best advice I can give you. Spending time with the Lord before the day begins helps me to refocus, get my priorities straight, and gives me the true rest and refreshment I need to take on the day. I can’t take on my day without His strength.

Challenge for Today:

Light a candle, find a cozy spot somewhere quiet (only for 10 minutes - send the kids outside, wait until naps, or pop in a DVD), sip on your favorite beverage, close your eyes, and envision your big picture. Think about your home and what you want it to be. Do you want it to be a place of refuge? Inviting? Warm? Fun? Picture your home in all its clean and organized glory, and then burn the image into your brain and heart. Now grab your journal (or notebook, or scrap of paper) and write down your big picture. Ask God to help you physically create your vision, thanking Him for the ability to do so.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

31 Days to Clean


Anonymous said...

Your last point--spending time with God FIRST, before doing any cleaning--really touched deep with me. I find it so easy to get wrapped up in my day, with everything I have to do, that time to study the Word just goes by the wayside. And that's so backward! If anything, time with the Lord ought to be a priority over housework. And from my own personal experience, I know I can always do what needs to be done much better and with a more joyful heart if I've started out my day with God.

Speaking of which, I need to go eat breakfast and ... study!

Katy Lin :) said...

i have been struggling so much with getting my alone time with God. everything kind of hit the fan for me last night and i was completely overwhelmed with lonliness and despair and shame that i have kept putting Him off. so, this morning was the first morning that i have made the time to have my quiet time and i didn't realize how much i had been missing. thank you so much for your daily encouragement. it means the world to me! :) have a great thursday :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sarah Mae. I'm with you now girl, I will sit an focus on my big picture today. I saw this when you started, but didn't follow thru. Now I'm on board. Thanks for doing this.

-- Brandi

Tiffany said...

Yep, when the house gets overwhelming I seem to shut down too. Which obviously just sets me up in a losing spiral. Our house is teeny too, so a little clutter quickly feels like too much. I find if I just stay busy, like you said...just get moving..I can get a little done here and there.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

We are SO alike on this! Thank you for all the encouragement. When things become overwhelming, I avoid doing anything at all. These will help me to get moving.

You know what else is really helping me? That 6 list. I didn't do one for a few days and not much got done around here (lack of focus). Back on it today and things are starting to get done. Also, my son and I are taking time each day to read the Bible and just that gives me such a sense of accomplishment that I tend to feel more motivated to get some other things done (Thank you, Lord!).

Katie said...

This post was just what I needed today. A friend just called asking what was on my agenda for today and I said, "Ugh - cleaning..." But in order to clean, I need to pick up and I feel like things have snowballed since the influx of birthday gifts and "stuff" from the weekend. I need to put it all away, get rid of paper and bows, save the bags, you know the drill. I'll getting sucked into checking blogs and I need to be cleaning. I'm going to set the timer RIGHT NOW - thank yoU!!!

The Pink Potpourri said...

hey! i love your blog! and i love that verse from Phillipians!

proudgrits11 said...

Fly Lady, she rocks.
I love your last idea--getting a vision for the home and thanking God for helping you fulfill it--nice. I do that already some...I get these pictures in my head and think, "I bet I can find that at Goodwill," and low and behold, it'll be there, and on sale! God cares!! I clip magazine photos, too, for inspiration--but I'm a visual person. Thankfully, God knows what's in my head--in fact, He put it there! :)

Genny said...

Great tips!

Rachel's Journal Pages said...

Oh my goodness! I was just sitting to check up on the 31 days to clean because my house looks exactly like you describe! I thought "right - I'll sit at the computer for 20 min and catch up on all that has happened in the blogging world, then tackle my dis-orderly house" when I read about how discouraging it is when things get cluttered again. I just said to my hubby this morning "what is that paper doing piling up on the study desk - I cleaned it all up last week - and now I have to do it again?"
You've hit the nail on the head today.
Think I'll tackle the one room idea next and just get the kitchen all sorted so I can make tea!

Kimba said...

Friend, when I read your posts sometimes I feel like I'm looking in a mirror. You articulate our struggles so well.

I haven't spent much time reading here the past couple of days because the kids and I were visiting at my mom's house. But this is exactly what I needed to read today. I can't tell you how many times I look at the mess and just shut down. It's like I don't know where to begin.

I usually use the approach of one room at a time and it really is helpful. After getting that one room done, you feel a sense of accomplishment that spurs you on to the next room.

And there is no doubt that everything is different when I spend time with God first thing in the morning.

Bobbi's Book Nook said...

I'm new to your blog, but I'm hooked. I know only too well about feeling overwhemed, so I look forward to the rest of your 31 Days!

T Lyn said...

Hi, I just found you blog a few days ago and have really enjoyed your tips on 30 days to a clean house. You've said so much of what I feel. I've made some head way with my home lately. I'm a teacher and have set goals for the summer. It is so refreshing to have a place for everything and everything in it's place. My home is not perfect by any measure but there is progess. Thanks for you inspiring words.