Scenario 1: Having fallen into bed at 2:00 a.m. after working a project for work that is going to cost your company millions if you don’t get the deal, you are awakened by both your cell phone and pager going off at 5:30 a.m. Your boss has more questions, and you wonder if the woman ever sleeps.
A short time later you head to the kitchen to grab the coffee that should be brewed and ready to go, only to find that your state-of-the-art coffee pot has somehow gotten backed up and there are coffee grounds are everywhere.
The strap on your sandal breaks as you get ready for work, causing you to have to change your entire outfit, and on the way to work you spill your Starbucks coffee all over your lap when a tailgater bumps into you as you come to a stop at the red light.
Scenario 2: There is something burning on the stove, the phone is ringing, and a husband is frantically yelling, “Honey, where are my keys? I’m already late for work!” and it isn’t even 8:00 a.m. yet! The baby has a diaper explosion and proceeds to finger paint the floor and walls when you sit her down to go help your middle child, who made your heart stop because she began screaming bloody murder all of a sudden (all it was, was a simple case of spilled cereal and cold milk soaking PJ’s). Meanwhile your oldest is tugging at you and telling you, “Mom, I just remembered I had a project due this morning! Can you help me do it real quick?”.
Scenario 3: You walk into your job at the Y and notice the kids are more hyperactive than usual. The supervisor of the program stops you on your way into the recreation room and asks if you can pick up an extra shift this evening due to a co-worker being ill. Your mind races around trying to figure out if you can fit that in with a bridesmaid dress fitting, a car maintenance appointment, and the paper that needs to be finished for your summer class. You sigh and say “yes”.
Chaos. We all live with it. If we’re having a calm day today we can be assured that it is only a temporary lull in the storm. Whether single or married, career woman or stay-at-home mom, women have demands on them every day of the week, seemingly 24 hours a day.
There are deadlines to meet, bills to pay, appointments to keep, and daily chores to be done. A day slips by and before you know it, you have five phone calls needing to be returned and an inbox full of emails waiting to be answered.
In between all of the demands are your own personal goals like healthy eating and getting in shape, reading at least one book a week, and spending quality time with your spouse, children, family members, and friends.
You strive for a clean house, though you have allowed yourself to let the car go, and attempt to fix homemade meals instead of living on McDonald’s. On top of all that, you long to have some sort of spiritual connection and wish you could find time every day to work on that aspect of your life. With all of these demands pulling at us, is it possible to live life with calmness and peace? Is it possible to stay centered and focused when things come flying at us from all different directions?
There will always be demands on our life, and some days may be worse than others, but it is possible to have a degree of calmness despite what comes our way, and there are steps that can be taken to achieve this. One of the best things that a woman can do to achieve and maintain a daily calm is to have a time in her day when she can escape life.
Although an hour is ideal, a mere fifteen minutes can be just enough to help center and focus the heart and mind. Because life is so crazy, the most guaranteed way to get this time in is at the outset of the day before life starts up.
This may require getting up fifteen minutes to an hour earlier each day, but in the end it can be worth it. For some the escape time may consist of a quiet cup of tea in a peaceful part of the house with a music playing. For others it may involve a cup of coffee and reading the Bible and having a prayer time. For still others it may be working on a painting or creating music. Whatever your way is, one of the best things you can incorporate into this time is to keep a journal.
Even if it is just a sentence or two, journaling helps get your thoughts from head to paper, helping alleviate some of the chaos of your mind. Another thing that can be done to help achieve calm in chaos is to take mini vacations throughout the day. Go sit on the park bench on your lunch break instead of attempting to work while eating. Stop everything and listen to your favorite song as it comes on to the radio.
If you can, dance while you’re at it. Step outside and enjoy the sunset that paints the sky while a perfect coating of winter snow clings to all the tree branches. Take a moment to listen to your kids, recognize the humor in their mini-adult conversations, and let your shoulders shake with laughter at what you overhear.
While waiting for that prescription, scrounge the car for change and buy a coffee, taking the time to just sip it slowly while waiting. In addition to the daily mini vacations, take time off every week for one day.
Oh, there will still be meals to fix, kids to love on, and phone calls that come in, but as much as possible have a day of rest. If you can afford it, don’t cook that day, but get takeout.
If that isn’t in your budget, make simple meals that don’t take a lot of preparation or serve leftovers. On this particular day give yourself permission to not work out, not go the extra mile in keeping your house clean, and don’t even open your email.
Purpose to spend at least an hour of your day doing something you enjoy: reading, crafting, or sleeping outside in the sun. A day like this every week will do absolute wonders for achieving a peace and calm as you enter yet another chaotic week.
Lastly, know what your priorities are. It helps to make a sort of purpose statement for your life and then live according to this statement. You will not take on extra projects that will only overwhelm you, if you constantly review and adhere to your life purpose.
Life purpose: finish my degree, establish my career, take care of my body, and give a portion of my time to helping underprivileged children.
With these clear cut goals in mind, when the request comes in to help organize the local Red Cross drive or take a second part-time job for the purpose of having some extra spending money, you can say no because it does not fit with your life purpose.
Another purpose statement may consist of:
I purpose to be a woman who maintains a close relationship with God, is a faithful wife to my husband, a fun and loving mom to my children. I will seek to be active in my church and invest in the lives of young women who do not have a mom to guide them, to the degree that I can without taking away from my first three life goals.
Whatever it is, write down what you feel you were created for. Not what you think you can achieve if you just try a little bit harder or what you should achieve, but what you feel specifically called to do.
While writing this down, keep in mind that it is better to give ten things 100% instead of one hundred things just 10%. It is crucial to decide what ten things you are called to do with your life, say yes to the events that coincide with those ten things, and cast aside the other ninety and everything that comes with them.
You may be pleasantly surprised to find out just how much this narrows your life down instead of feeling pulled and torn in multiple directions. Once this is written down, review it every day, and make sure that you do not add on anything to your life that does not fit under your life purpose statement.
Calmness in chaos –- it is possible!