In our beautiful vocations, He is asking US to give 100% of ourselves as well.
While it’s understood that life’s circumstances often throw a “curve ball” into our daily schedules and plans…whether it’s a whiny child, or a sleepless night spent cuddling a newborn or unforeseen phone calls that couldn’t be overlooked…It is still possible, amongst the obstacles, sufferings, and trials, to “take up our cross” and follow Jesus in His example.
There are a few ways to help us fulfill the desire to give our ALL to God and our families each day:
1) RISE BEFORE YOUR FAMILY DOES!
(Moms with newborns are not obliged to attempt this! ::SMILE:: ) Many are familiar with the woman of Proverbs 31 who is up and busy before her family each day. This gesture is CRUCIAL in helping us to give 100% and having the day run smoothly!!! Ideally, 1 hour is a good amount of time to allow you to prepare your heart, mind, and soul for the day ahead. However, 45 minutes, a half hour…or even TWENTY MINUTES to start would greatly help!
For those who say that they struggle to find “quiet time with the Lord” or “time to myself” during the hustle and bustle of a busy day, THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!
Being up before the children, you can shower and dress, feeling refreshed and ready for all that lies ahead. You have time to actually EAT A NICE BREAKFAST if you choose (rather than scarfing down those crusts of toast left behind on the Littles’ plates, LOL), and most importantly, this is the PERFECT time for you to pray and BE WITH GOD. Whether you sit out on the porch and listen to His glorious world come to life, or read Scripture, pray a Rosary, write in your journal, listen to some music, or just SIT IN SILENT MEDITATION (BUT DON’T FALL BACK TO SLEEP,LOL!) you will find this little bit of time to be a GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING throughout your entire day! Once you are used to waking at an earlier hour, you can take another step in greeting the day ahead (and your children) with LOVE and JOY, by setting a nice table for their breakfast or having some children’s Bible songs playing softly, or even lighting some candles and placing a little note by each plate that says, “Good Morning! I LOVE YOU!” These very small gestures reap very great rewards. You will find that MOST times our children will follow our example in morning attitude. If we appear rushed, not rested, and grumpy, they will often “catch” the same attitude and throw off the rhythm of the day before it’s even begun. So TREAT yourself! Take time to “rise and shine” before the others. You won’t miss the sleep after a while and you won’t regret your choice when you see the blessings it brings!
2) SURRENDER ALL to GOD!
Resolve at the beginning of each day to offer ALL that you THINK, SAY, and DO to the Lord. Open the day to His Holy and Perfect Will. Decide that you will accept each moment as a gift from Him; whether that moment be joyful, exciting, troublesome, or sad. He has allowed it and therefore He can use it for His Glory, IF we let Him. This surrender helps us, (especially in those moments of trial) EVERY home school to TRUST that God is working in each and every soul and that bad moments do NOT equal bad mommy; nor do chaotic days mean that we are failing. These times, when surrendered and accepted, become a path to spiritual and emotional growth…a way to holiness and ultimately…JOY!
3) LIVE IN THE MOMENT!
It is very difficult to give 100% of ourselves if we are thinking and preoccupied with a hundred different tasks and issues at once. While MOST moms I meet have an uncanny ability to multi-task (we HAVE to or else we couldn’t teach English, change a diaper, write an article and play with a toddler all at the same time, LOL!!!) I am referring here to “where our thoughts are” as we go about our day. If we are always jumping ahead in our minds to the list of things that will beckon our attention in the hours to come, then we will be giving LESS of ourselves to the MOMENT’S NEED. We must try to embrace each moment of our day as though it were the only one! Realize that we can’t DO IT ALL and instead, do what the Lord brings to you in the moment. Embrace it 100% It is easy to feel “unproductive” or even “useless” when the days are filled with almost nothing but cleaning up spills, wiping bottoms, folding laundry, and trying to find pencils that have erasers on them, but if we truly give 100% of our hearts to these SEEMINGLY unimportant moments…we allow God to BLESS us…for HE accepts our willingness and our faithfulness as a beautiful offering…no matter how small or insignificant the task!
4) LOOK FOR THE JOY!
This is one of my husband’s most frequent reminders to me…he’ll say “Don’t forget to look for the JOY…it’s all around you”. (Thank you Lord for my wise and loving husband!) This little piece of advice is CRUCIAL to giving 100% of ourselves to our vocation. Many times in Scripture we are told that Christians will be known by their JOY. By virtue of the knowledge of the fact that Jesus Christ has saved us from final damnation we are to be JOYFUL! Sometimes we take our blessings for granted. We have all seen how quickly time goes by with our little ones…they are born…we BLINK…and they are grown…these days of bustling activity, messes galore, endless questions, and never-ending chores are fleeting and passing away. EMBRACE THEM WITH JOY! For every moment of frustration there is a moment of awe, a moment of innocence, a moment of kindness, a moment of FUN and HUMOR, a moment of the pure smiles of babies or teens, a moment of LOVE. In giving 100%, we try to look past the trials and sufferings (though they can be many and IMMENSE) and LOOK FOR THE JOY. It is all around us!
5) FOCUS ON THE PRIORITY OF RAISING YOUR FAMILY!
In my own family, I have found and must admit, that when things begin to fall apart, and stress takes hold over the JOY, it is usually due in SOME way to my own SLOTH. When I get lazy in giving 100% to the priority of raising our family, things begin a very fast and furious downfall. PEACE and JOY in the home deteriorate. This is selfishness on my part…and I make excuses like “I can not be everywhere at one time!” or “I give and give and give…and have nothing left in me”…or “If only someone would help”, etc…The ugly TRUTH of this situation is that in those times I have stopped giving! I have let outside issues and activities steal my attention and focus and I have become fatigued or lazy in my duties. Though our children are being raised to be independent, self-sufficient, helpful, and honorable, they are STILL CHILDREN and the majority of the situations that call for intervening MUST BE OUR RESPONSIBILITY. We must be willing to stop what we are doing, no matter how long it takes, and GIVE 100% to the moment and need of our families. ALL ELSE IS SECONDARY!
6) PRAY UNCEASINGLY!
Most important in our ability to give 100% to our vocation is our communion with the Lord during our day. While formal or rote prayers and devotions are good and enriching to our spirits, it is not necessary, nor possible to spend every hour of every day doing this. Thus, I am speaking here more of an “INTERNAL COMMUNICATION” with God…ABIDING IN CHRIST…so that He may ABIDE in YOU! Knowing that He is present in your home and at work in the souls of your family, you may REST in the comfort of that presence and LEAN ON IT for strength, perseverance, and guidance in your day! REJOICE! FOR HE IS WITH YOU ALWAYS! In this way, your very LIFE and the LIVING OUT OF YOUR VOCATION becomes PRAYER; UNCEASING PRAYER! When we live in the presence of OUR SAVIOR, we are more willing and able to GIVE 100% for HIS SAKE!
7) LOOK FOR CHRIST IN OTHERS!
It is easy to let our human nature get the best of us during the day. If a spouse has irritated us, or children are exceptionally whiny and cranky or disobedient, we, as a fallen people, begin to “puff ourselves up” and feel an outcry of injustice or resentment building up inside. In our desire to give 100%, it is important to see our spouses and our children THROUGH GOD’S EYES. See them as the BELOVED CHILD OF GOD that each of them is! And when you see them, LOOK FOR CHRIST IN THEM! HE IS THERE, for you have raised your family as a FAMILY OF GOD. Think of how you would most willingly tend to JESUS if He manifested Himself in your home. Think of being at His feet, lovingly and willingly serving His every need and desire! Knowing that He told us that what-so-ever we do unto others, we do unto HIM, we can embrace our spouses and children as though we are embracing OUR LORD HIMSELF. Is it not EASY to GIVE 100% to our SWEET SAVIOR?
8) EMBRACE YOUR STATE IN LIFE!
“Unto everything there is a season”. These are familiar words to most of us. But, do we abide in them? In order to give 100% of ourselves, we must be willing to accept and embrace our current state in life with JOY and WILLINGNESS to serve!( A couple of years ago…when my now 2 year old son was a newborn baby…I found myself with SIX children under the age of SEVEN! Just caring for them was a complete job in itself each day, without the addition of school lessons, a marriage, parish life, and household duties. This was a time of “stripping away” in my life. I truly wanted to give my ALL and surrender to God and I found that He was taking away ANY moment for myself. He brought me to a breaking point…on my knees…in the form of a single flower one day. I had wanted to plant a flower and no matter how I tried or how I begged the enlisted help of the older kids…it was JUST not working…I ended up in tears on the phone to a friend saying, “Is this REALLY what God is asking of me?!? Does He want SO MUCH OF MY TIME that I can not even take the time for myself to plant a single flower?!? My friend replied, “Yes Judy…this is REALLY what He is asking of you…are you willing to give it to Him?” And she quickly added, “BUT KNOW THIS … if you DO give it to Him, He will one day GIVE IT ALL BACK TO YOU AND THEN SOME!” That blessed conversation was a turning point in my life!)
If God has given you many babies close together, or a marriage that is suffering and CRYING OUT for help and attention, or a sick elderly parent or friend that needs care, or a job/ministry that demands your full attention, then THIS IS YOUR STATE IN LIFE! We must give up the other things that interfere with our ability to focus and serve where the Lord is calling us. So, we might not be able to join soccer, or go to Moms Nights, or take that aerobics class we need in order to shed those last baby pounds. If we believe that God knows what is best for us then we must ACCEPT OUR STATE IN LIFE AS A GIFT FROM HIM! Once we do this, we can open our hearts to giving 100% of ourselves each day!
I am sure there are many other ways and insights that would help us along this journey and aid us in being willing and able to GIVE 100% of ourselves to our vocations each day. These eight things above have helped me in my own life and so I have shared them with you in the hope that they will inspire, uplift and encourage you to GIVE 100% of yourself EACH DAY for the GLORY OF GOD! HE WILL BLESS YOU FOR IT! PEACE AND JOY TO EACH AND ALL OF YOU IN YOUR BEAUTIFUL FAMILY LIFE!
Copyright 2010 Judy Dudich