Overwhelmed? Take 3

Alarms, meals, laundry, dishes, carpool, sport’s schedules… exercise. Some of my days feel full to the point of bursting. I can’t seem to keep up with it all and usually something gets dropped, not a big crime unless it’s a somebody 🙁 Along the way, I occasionally will obsess over some small task in the midst of a terribly hectic day only to have the word “control freak” come to mind. It’s as if this one task of sweeping the garage or vacuuming the house will fix all the other stray ends. Silly I know.
Am I really a control-freak however, or just overwhelmed? No matter how you slice it, if you run a family of any size there are things that just have to get done. Basic needs… then there are other expectations too. Among other things, I DO NOT keep a spotless house, nor do I have wonderfully crafted meals spread on the table for my family every evening by 6:00pm. Oh, how I wish I did. I lived for years feeling so “less-than” because I just couldn’t seem to get it all together. Why are some tasks so insurmountable? Every article, every blog I’d read, commercial I’d watch, Christian message I’d hear would seem to tell me “You not up to par.” It didn’t matter if it was really stated… that’s what I heard.
Nearly 25 years married and I told my husband about this last night. He just looked at me and asked how I could’ve ever felt that way? “…Because… I’m not like so-and-so and I don’t do such-and-such the way they do, and it just isn’t ever going to change.” Ok, so this conversation was partly hormone-induced, but my sweet husband quickly let me know, just as God has let me know, that he loves me the way I am, and he didn’t really have a mental list of “to-dos” for me.
Wondering exactly what he did care most about (practically speaking), and prompted by a recent radio program, David and I decided to make our own wish list of things that make us feel good, content… even loved on a daily basis. We decided if nothing else gets done each day, these few  top picks would be the most important to accomplished for the other. Only 3. I think can do 3!
My list includes David giving me words of encouragement. They mean more to me than trash being taken out or help with the dishes. A simple hug and sitting close every evening mean more to my husband than a hot meal ready by 6pm. Now I can’t throw out all my to-do’s regarding food, shelter and clothing for this family of ours. Even additional jobs (and children’s feelings) have their place, but to be the support that my spouse really needs, I’ve been given 3 main focuses. This greatly helps me to prioritize. A most amazing discovery was that the things he chose for me are things I can actually do!  I can now, without guilt (!) choose one of these over some of my other self-imposed stresses.
Every couple is different, of course and your lists will probably be different from ours (maybe a neatened house, or help with kid’s baths are your wishes), either way, I encourage you to ask about your mate’s top 3 picks. There’s hope for success in the demanding lives we lead. Maybe you too can go to bed tonight with a real sense of accomplishment. I pray this will be the stress reliever for you that it has been for me! Many Blessings- Anna
-This topic was inspired by Art and Lysa TerKeurst interviewed on Focus On The Family Radio 5/8/13 “Managing Your Emotions In Your Marriage”- available on FOTF website under podcasts.

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