Setting Right Priorities

I admit it.

I am a list maker. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Lists are very helpful in keeping us organized, setting priorities, and staying on task. And some days, I just really need a list with crossed-off items on it to help me see that yes, today actually was a productive day.
Which is why on those days when I make my list, I include stuff on it that I’ve already done so I can cross them off immediately. And then have a cup of coffee.
Sometimes, though,  I get a little crazy about the priority setting. Sometimes I find myself making my lists the priority instead of allowing life to happen.
I’ve made it an unofficial rule of late that when my kids are home on a school break, my routines take a break, too. I don’t worry if my house isn’t tidied by 9:30, or if I haven’t showered before lunch. I want my kids to know that they are more important than whether or not the laundry is finished or the floors are swept. (Of course, this can backfire on me when I realize at 9:37 the night before small group that it’s my turn to host and the house is in complete shambles!)
I need to work on this, though, during the rest of the year. To remember that sometimes it is more important to cuddle with my little guy than it is to get the dishes done that exact moment. Or that checking Facebook can wait when my preteen needs to talk. I am still a work in progress!
I once wrote an article eons ago about setting priorities and putting first things first. I wish I still had it, but it was on my old old desktop that I thought we had backed up, only to find it didn’t save the things I actually wanted. (Not too long ago on Twitter, someone posted that it should be the new standard for being considered grown-up to actually save things to an external hard drive. To which all I can say is Amen.) While I can’t remember all the particulars, I do remember this:
In all our list making, priority setting actions, we need to make sure that we are including Jesus in every single item.
We have a tendency to rank things in order of importance. God first, family second, work third, etc. My argument with that is you can’t compartmentalize God. You can’t say He’s first without including Him in all the other things. Rather than saying God is first, it makes more sense to say above and in and through all these things, He is.
And maybe that’s the heart of knowing our true priorities. When we allow God to be central in our lives, He helps us to set aside the things that can wait and focus on what truly matters.
*****
Because I do enjoy a good list, check out my Organize Pinterest board, containing several that I really like. I also once designed my own list, but um, I lost that one on my old laptop, too. We really need to go shopping!
Linking up with Angie and Jen.

P.S. Remember when I mentioned that little tab up at the top of the page called “Joy(full) Knits”? You can go ahead and click it now for a preview. Or not. I’m not at all freaked out or anything!

What I learned on my social media break

Last month I took a bit of a social media break, and I have to tell you, it was wonderful.

For two weeks, I didn’t worry about what was happening on Facebook, or worry about posting witty status updates. For two weeks I wasn’t a slave to my email or stats. Instead, for two weeks I felt free to simply live life and enjoy it.

I learned a few valuable things during my break:

Not everything that happens needs to be shared with the Internet. 

That was a tough one for me, because while in real, face-to-face life I am an introvert through and through and generally avoid trying to get attention, online I like attention. But while on my break, rather than worrying about how I could commemorate a moment in 140 characters or less or with a photo, I just lived the moment. And really, no one seemed to miss my daily toddler updates, anyway.

Photos are much more enjoyable the old fashioned way.

I developed a ton of photos years ago with the intent to scrapbook, but after abandoning that hobby they’ve been sitting in a dusty closet since. I’ve mentioned before my new found love for Project Life. Part of why I love it is because it feels so old school. My kids love looking through the stacks of old photos, and thumbing through the pages of our new albums as I slowly put them together. It’s much better than trying to find the CD’s or flicking through them on the laptop!

My kids definitely follow my example.

Less time for Mom online naturally unfolded into less time with the kids plugged in. And I didn’t even have to nag. Seriously.

Less time online means more space – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Prior to my break, I was finding my forgetfulness increasing, not to mention my grumpiness! I felt a lot less overwhelmed with information, better able to handle stress, and quite honestly, fully open to God’s leading and direction in my life. That’s a better payoff than any of the other ones listed above.

I’m prone to comparison and trying to be like someone else. 

Don’t get me wrong – what you see here is what you pretty much get in real life. I’m a broken, messy woman. But I do struggle with feeling like I don’t measure up, like I need to keep up, and wishing I had half the influence of ______ (fill in the blank). It took taking a break to help me realize that it’s really okay to be Andrea.

I’m officially off my break now, but there are a few things I plan to continue with, like keeping Facebook off my phone, and removing my phone to another room when the temptation is getting too strong. I plan to continue to set time boundaries, particularly as summer schedules relax. And I want to approach my social media use my way – not trying to copy anyone else, but just being myself.

And I want to remember the most important thing: embrace life. Live it well. Because at the end of it all, I don’t want to look back and wonder what all I missed.

Have you taken a social media break lately? What did you learn from it?