Do you ever complain there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Me, too.
But I’m starting to realize most of the stuff taxing my schedule is my own darn fault.
“Can I fold this laundry?” Our babysitter pointed to a basket of my daughters’ clothes and offered her motherly help.
“Oh my goodness,” I blushed at the piles of unfinished housework sitting stark naked on the living room floor. “I’m so sorry I left these baskets here for you to trip over. I just didn’t get to them last night.”
“Oh now,” she dismissed my jabber with a flick of her wrist. “You know I was a working mom once, too.” (Our sitter is a retired teacher. Love her.) “It’s the least I can do.” She grabbed a pair of princess undies, checked the label and flattened them into a stack of size 4’s.
Flattened. Unfolded. Took her .3 seconds.
“You don’t fold the underwear?” I asked—not so much a question, but a statement of bewilderment. Epiphany. Awe.
“No.” She smiled then crinkled her nose. “Do you?”
“I. . . don’t. . . know.”
Why DO I fold the underwear? I mean, it’s not like anybody ever looks in our skivvy drawers but us. And must I see a tidy arrangement of britches staring back at me?
No. Not as much as I’d prefer to cut my laundry folding time in half.
Think about it. What else do we do—out of habit or compulsion or ignorance, even—that sucks up our precious time unnecessarily? Maybe you don’t fold your underwear, but do you alphabetize your spices? Dust behind the sofa? Check e-mail ten times a day when once or twice will do?
It’s fair to ask ourselves the question.
I read somewhere that God gave us exactly 24 hours in a day, and if we can’t accomplish everything on our to-do lists within his parameters, then we’re probably adding our own agenda items to God’s plan. The key is discernment—between what God asks and what we demand of ourselves.
I’m pretty sure God never told me to fold the underwear.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” (Micah 6:8).
This underwear enlightenment is life-changing for me. In order to choose what’s important over what’s urgent—what’s best over what’s merely good or popular or (hello!) ridiculous—I must start giving up tasks that don’t matter.
Like hand-washing the sippy cups. Volunteering for another committee, which somebody else could handle just as well. Balancing the checkbook when my husband already keeps track of every dime in graphs and charts and algorithms. Let that be his important so I can steal back time for other things I deem as my important.
My photo albums, long neglected.
The classic novel I’ve been meaning to read to my kids.
That elusive quiet night to snuggle next to my man with a bowl of popcorn and a romantic comedy on DVD—no computers, no phones, no chores to block our way.
Those are the priorities I want to set free. They are the blessings I want to hear above the din. But in order to extract them from the rubble of too much to do, I must pluck lesser tasks off the pile.
What about you? Is it time to pluck your pile, too?
When our babysitter finished folding the laundry and placed everything neatly back in the basket, she poked her head around my office door. “Can I put these away for you?”
Well . . . let me think about that.
Uh, YES! And I’ll add five minutes to the priorities bank. Then tonight my girls and I can cash them in on our first chapter of The Secret Garden.
This is SO worth a rumpled underwear drawer. Next I just might stop ironing the sheets.
Just kidding. I don’t really iron my sheets.
Just a friendly suggestion—you can probably let that one go.