by Lindsey Wingo

Frayed rope about to break isolated over a white background

This week I found myself frazzled. I’m not really sure how else to put it. I was especially feeling it on Thursday as I frantically ran last minute errands and tied up loose strings for a Saturday women’s event at my church. The pattern continued on into Friday and ended with me being snappy with my kids and husband, expecting them to just leave me alone and understand how I was feeling! (And, I might have made a rash decision to chop off my long hair…I needed to lighten my load somehow!) Add to the list a host of other things I was dealing with, and I was out of whack!

Here is the simple truth. What I was experiencing this past week, and consequently, what I was allowing to steal my joy, was plain old life. Life just happens, doesn’t it? And, it doesn’t seem to ever slow down. Make that times ten during the holiday season! Little did I know, God was going to use the very event I was helping to prepare for to wake me up from my frantic state.

Tara Furman, one of our contributors and founder of Knowing God Ministries in Raleigh, NC, was our event speaker. Her message was simple, clear, and concise, but oh so refreshing (and convicting!) to my soul. The three points Tara shared that day are essential to implement if we want to move from frazzled to focused in our lives. Her message resonated with me so much that I wanted to share it with each of you! I KNOW I’m not the only one who often feels like I’m dangling from a fraying rope, holding on for dear life! So, here are Tara’s tips for living a focused (less stressful) life:

1) Remember Priorities.

If you are like me, you’ve probably heard the run down of our biblical priorities as women many times before. But, this particular time, it hit me smack in the middle of the forehead. The truth is, my priorities had gotten out of balance, and I was FEELING IT!

As Christians, Christ is our number one priority. After this is our husbands, our children or adult parents, our jobs, our ministries, and our friends. There are other categories we could discuss, I know, but these are some basics. As much as I hate to admit it, there were good reasons why my kids were extra cranky and clingy and my husband wasn’t “feeling the love.” Not to mention, I had spent more time preparing physically for the women’s event than I had spent preparing spiritually. This was a wake up call to me for a reevaluation in my life.

When we prioritize wisely we become different people as we sit at the feet of Jesus. We don’t compare ourselves to others, and we learn to say “no” when necessary.

2) Plan Wisely.

We all have responsibilities. Some are given to us by others, and if you are like me, some might be self-imposed. But, we must plan wisely when dealing with our various tasks.

With our necessary responsibilities, we must pre-plan, learn to delegate, resist hurrying by planning too much at one time, and also, pray over our plans.

In relation to the upcoming holidays, think about your plans. Ask yourself these questions: What is the purpose behind what I am doing? Who am I aiming to please? What is really necessary to spend time on, and what is not? Maybe we need to ask ourselves why we are choosing to stay so overly committed sometimes. Is it because of our own pride? Do we feel a greater sense of self-worth when we are haughtily “running around like chickens with our heads cut off”? Do we just like to brag about how busy we are?

May we avoid missing God’s best in the name of being busy.

3) Drop Perfectionism.

As much as we might rage against the idea of “Pinterest Perfect” (which has almost become a cliche nowadays), deep down, it is a hard pattern to break for each of us.

For me, this Christmas, it means NOT making our own cute, crafty Jesse Tree ornaments, and sticking with printables. (My personality can’t handle such long supply lists! If you thrive on that kind of thing, then by all means, craft on sister!) It also means worrying less about the way our house is decorated for Christmas and more about the direction of our hearts as we celebrate our Lord’s birth. It means establishing meaningful family traditions over spending our days shopping for last minute Christmas presents. It means realizing that hosting kids for cookie decorating doesn’t have to turn into something Etsy threw up on! (I do love Etsy…)

Quite simply, it means exactly what Jesus said in Luke 10:41 as he addressed the infamous Martha.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”

I am determined to choose what is “better.” I know, in my flesh, I’ll get right back on the crazy train if I’m not careful. But, as Tara pointed out, Martha took her frustrations to Jesus (rather than any other person) and was quick to respond to his loving rebuke. We can do the same thing. We can take our worries, our schedules, our to-do lists, and lay them at Jesus’ feet. We can ask Him to show us what is truly best and then confidently ditch the rest.

I hope you’ll join me. Let’s evaluate our priorities, plan wisely, and drop perfection as we move from frazzled to focused this holiday season.

Lindsey Wingo Pic*How are you planning to stay focused and less frazzled? We’d love to hear your ideas! Please leave your comments below. 

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