Author: jaimevanb

Finding calm in the chaos

Living in this day and age has caused me to live a life where I am constantly on the go. Having a baby certainly adds to the chaos, but it’s a happy kind of chaos.  I do think I took for granted the days where I just had to get myself out of bed in the morning, adding another person to the mix sure took some getting used to! Let’s just say, we were about 10-15 minutes late to everything (but when we arrive, we arrive in style).  I think we have gotten the hang of it now (my friends may disagree). Although not everybody who is reading this has kids,  I am sure lots of you can relate to waking up to what seems like a never ending to do list. Some days I wake up, ignore my list and live in fantasy land where I can ignore all of my real life-responsibilities. Of course, that is temporarily satisfying….until tomorrow comes, and I am in full-fledged panic mode wondering when the heck I decided it was okay to take a day off life. Being busy definitely has its perks, but along with that comes downfalls that has at times invaded my life like a whirlwind-leaving me stressed out, unsatisfied, discouraged and burnt out. I have set some “guidelines” for my life that have helped calm the chaos and thought I would share them for those of you who can relate (if you have your life figured out, you are dismissed). These 5 guidelines have guided me to keep my life in balance and kept my busy mind in check.

1.  Waking up early

Sleeping the day away is just not possible anymore. For one, I have a mini-me who needs attending to and secondly, sleeping until noon at age 22 is just plain lazy and results in me watching The Mindy Project all day. There are too many benefits of waking up early to count. For myself, it is the only way that I have time to exercise, with a run or a quick home workout. Think about it, if you wake up tomorrow an hour before you did today, that is an hour of productivity you didn’t have today. The opportunities are endless- exercising, planning your day, doing devotions, breathing in fresh air, having a shower (surprisingly, some people need to be reminded to do this). In fact, many studies have shown the most successful students and business owners wake up before 6am. Now that is some food for thought my friends. This leads me into number 2.

2.  Morning devotions

When we start off our morning with devotions, we are setting a tone for the day. We are saying to God that he is our main focus and desire, before the hundreds of things come to clutter our minds. We need to allow time for Jesus where we are undistracted and focused on Him- not thinking about the homework assignment due, or the deadline at work, or what time little Johnny needs to be picked up from school (not saying that these things aren’t important, we just can’t let them get in the way of our main focus) I don’t know about you, but towards the end of the day, my brain starts to become overcrowded and cluttered with all of the day’s events. I often tell my husband that I am unable to talk about anything important after 7pm as I simply can’t give him the attention he deserves, I know not everybody is like me, but this is just something I have realized about myself. Now, I ought to give Jesus the attention and the focus that he deserves, and for me, that entails devotions in the morning, setting a tone for the day ahead.

3.  Setting a schedule

This one is HUGE. My mom taught me to write a schedule every day and allot time for important things I need to get done.  Being the stubborn girl that I am, I decided to ignore her. Then I grew up and realized (after many missed dentist appointments and late assignments) everything my mom said was completely accurate and I was being stubborn as a donkey. When I don’t write down everything I need to do in a day, I simply won’t do it. If I can’t visualize what I need to get done, I will forget. Find something that works for you, a calendar in your bathroom or on your fridge, google calendar or whatever system you fancy! I promise you, this will help calm the chaos and enable to visualize your tasks. The best feeling in the world is crossing off a dreaded task.

4.  You can’t do it all

The day I woke up and looked in the mirror to notice I wasn’t superwoman, was a momentous day. We can’t do it all! Be reasonable, set goals that are achievable, and be realistic to the lifestyle you have chosen. As a brand new mom, I realize I am unlikely to receive my master’s degree at this moment of my life, maybe one day in the future. But right now, that is not in my cards. Be satisfied with the simple and reward yourself when you have achieved something. There is a time for everything, and it is your job to designate when those times are. Do yourself a favor and be realistic. If you unachievable goals, you will get discouraged and not follow through. I once told myself I was going to run a half marathon…….stilllllll waiting for that day. Once I decided that running a 10k was more realistic, I actually started running more, because my goal was more realistic to my life right now.

5. Quiet time

When my little one is napping, I will often try to sit outside, by myself and breathe in some fresh air. This is completely necessary for me, as I am a girl that needs down time. If I don’t have some alone time in the day, I get so overwhelmed. Some people feel relaxed from hanging out with others whereas I feel relaxed when I have some time to really think, pray, write and dwell in the silence. Maybe I am weird? Who knows? All I know, is that setting aside 15-30 minutes a day allows me to recharge and get back to tackling the day.

These are my five guidelines to calming the chaos. I realize that everybody is different and what works for me might not work for you, so take what you will. In the end, turn to Jesus for peace. He will give it to you if you allow him to.

Mark 4:39

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.