Hello. My name is Debbie Chavez, and I’m a list-aholic. Yes, I admit it. I love being super- organized, and I love “accomplishing” a lot every day. It makes me feel good about myself. In fact, my compulsion to accomplish tons of stuff everyday is so bad…..if I do something that was not on my list, I actually add it onto my list so that I can scratch it out!
There is nothing wrong with completing many tasks each day, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being organized, but when we become a slave to our lists, we have a problem. How about you? Are you a list-acholic? Here’s what I’ve been noticing lately. When I become a slave to my to-do list, I am not a very peaceful wife. I become a driven person, and I’m not flexible enough to respond to new situations or needs in my family. Perhaps we need to meditate on the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:40-42. Martha was busy bustling about with tasks, while Mary sat peacefully at the feet of Jesus. Jesus gently rebuked Martha in verse 42 saying, “Martha, Martha…you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”
So, maybe you and I should stop being neurotic about our lists! I am still making a list each day, but unless something on that list is absolutely critical, I’m allowing myself to skip some of the items in order to respond to my husband or children if I can see that they could use my help or encouragement. I believe this adjustment makes me more like the 1 Peter 3 wife. She is described as having a gentle, quiet spirit. I don’t think she could be quiet and peaceful if she was running around like a chicken with her head cut off! She obviously wasn’t a slave to a long to-do-list. The question is: Do you need to re-evaluate your lists?
Who would have thunk it? (Yes, I know thunk is not a word). Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting. Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess! I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.
She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems. She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job. Their relationship was going well. So what could be the problem? Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household. So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!). She didn’t do all the chores herself. She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could become tidy and clean.
The result? Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared! Wow! I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out. In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity! P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!
I’ve realized the most interesting thing! The other day, I was really frustrated, as in the kind of frustrating day where you desperately want the cathartic release of smashing china dishes against the wall! Am I the only one who has ever felt that way? 🙂
Anyway, my husband walked into the house to discover a wife who was steaming from everything that had gone wrong that day. Then something strange happened. He got visibly agitated over my state of frustration. It really bothered him that I was upset. It reminded me that our husbands really do want us to be content. They desire a peaceful wife. In fact 1 Peter 3 tells wives to strive for the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”. Hmmm. Interesting. So, how do we get this peacefulness, even in frustrating circumstances? The Bible tells us contentment comes when we trust in God, lean into God, and ask for His power to carry us! Philippians 4:13 says ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
And interestingly, when I choose to trust God to carry me during those frustrating moments in life, not only do I become peaceful and content, but I enjoy the unexpected benefit of my husband becoming more peaceful too!
You know the saying “If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy”? It’s so true! So if you’ve noticed your kids have been acting up a lot and/or your husband is grouchy, one possible reason is because YOU are not peaceful. Your mood and your stress are contagious.
Ask God to reveal to you what things may be causing a foul mood or extra stress in your life, and then ask Him to show you if there are things you can do to improve the situation. Is there something stressful in your life that you should eliminate? Do you need to ask God to help you forgive someone instead of holding bitterness and resentment?
Do whatever it takes to regain a peaceful and gentle spirit. God instructs wives to have such a demeanor in 1 Peter 3:3-4 where He says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Let’s become beautiful to our husbands and children by cultivating that gentle and quiet spirit. You may have to make some changes in your schedule, but it will be worth it!
Holy cow! The saying really is true…”If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!! I found this out recently when I was having a super stressful, overwhelmingly busy day. My husband was away from the house and he called to see if I had time to take care of a low priority task. I responded by saying “I really don’t have time for that. I am so busy I can hardly breathe.” Well, as soon as he heard me say that, and as soon as he grasped my stress level, I could tell his own anxiety and stress level shot through the roof. He got increasingly agitated on the phone. It was then that I realized that a wife’s stress is contagious! I was spreading the stress virus.
Now, I’m not saying that you or I should try to hide our stress from our husbands or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I did get to thinking that my husband’s anxiety and stress is directly tied to mine. So, I believe what I need to do is re-examine my schedule and my priorities. Perhaps I need to cut some things out of my schedule so that my stress level drops. God wants us to live a peaceful life where we actually have time to spend refreshing moments with him. This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Jesus comes to the home of these two sisters and Martha is stressed out trying to take care of the hospitality details, while Mary sits quietly at the feet of Jesus. Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, but Jesus says this in verses 41 and 42: “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…”
Maybe it’s time for us to re-examine our busy schedules. Maybe it’s time to cut back on our activities or the kid’s activities. For me….it will not only be good for my health, but also for my husband’s health. How about you? Are you stressed out a lot? Do you need to take a hard look at your schedule?
In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me. He asked me this simple question. Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory? Another way of putting this is: Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother” etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do to bring HIM glory?
Oh man! Busted. To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes. I become exhausted and stressed in the process. The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers. Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want. Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes. The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?”
I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace! We would be free of performance-exhaustion. Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music! God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace! (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.” And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”