Tag Archives: stressed

The Best Laid Plans…

Me to my three kids last Monday: “If we get your rooms sorted and deep cleaned this week, we’ll go to the beach on Friday!”

Kids: *cheering*

Me to my kids Thursday afternoon, after witnessing much hard work but still no completed rooms and noticing the kids moping, assuming they wouldn’t get to go to the beach: “If you keep working hard and do your best, we’ll go to the beach tomorrow even if it’s not finished yet.”

Kids, eyes brightening with hope: “Really?? Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Cue a much less stressed-out home for the rest of Thursday as I secretly hi-five myself.

Do you ever set goals for yourself, only to get discouraged when things shift course and your goal can’t be reached as intended? As a homeschool mom, I do this all the time. I tell myself things like:

“My youngest will memorize her addition and subtraction facts by so-and-so date.” (What if she doesn’t? Or what if she does but learns to hate math for the rest of her life?)

“My oldest will finish her writing program by the end of the semester.” (What if she does, but she’s just going through the motions, not actually learning? What if she starts to hate writing?)

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. –Robert Burns

I think Mr. Burns was on to something.

Here’s the thing I’ve been learning lately:

Prioritize progress and learning over completion.

When we prioritize completing a specific goal, we pile on the pressure and make the journey to the end more grueling than it should be, and then feel awful if we never do actually obtain our goal.

When we prioritize progress or learning, we’re generally more motivated to embrace the journey, no matter where we ultimately end up.

For instance, ask any high schooler what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll likely hear “a millionaire.” Played out in reality, however, how likely is it? Not very. They might even work long hours at a job they hate, advancing and advancing some more, edging ever closer to their monetary goal and wasting their days away in pursuit of their goal.

Perhaps a healthier goal would be more along the lines of, “find a satisfying job, work hard, and move up in the business as often as opportunities allow until I’m financially stable.”

Do you see the difference?

Which type of goal setter are you? Do you set big, specific goals, only to be disappointed when life turns a corner and the end result isn’t what you were hoping? (And life always turns a corner, am I right?)

Or do you set the type of goals where you can feel satisfied with yourself and the journey you’ve taken, even if things veer off course from time to time?

Really it’s just a collection of moments, hours, and days that make up our lifetime. Are we spending those hours living a life we can be satisfied with, even proud of? Or are we dissatisfied as we go through our days, with our eyes so glued to the prize that we’ve forgotten to live the life that’s in front of us?

Whatever your approach to the future, I encourage you to do a little self-reflection to make sure you’re on a healthy track moving forward. Consider these quick questions:

Am I stressed all the time? If so, why?

Am I trusting God with my future or am I only trusting myself?

Will I feel like a failure if (fill in the blank) doesn’t happen?

God wants to pour his peace over us as he leads us through our days. Are we letting him?

Maybe God has given you big, divine goals. Go after them without putting your self-worth on the line.

Maybe he’s asking you to go a little easier on yourself in order to accomplish the deeds he has planned for you in the everyday (which maybe you keep missing because of your laser focus on what you’ve deemed most important).

A pic from our recent trip to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve in CA!

The point is, don’t miss the forest for the trees. Take a deep breath and embrace the moment, hour, and day you’ve been given. Take off the pressure you’ve put on yourself and feel the lightness that it brings.

 Being driven is a good thing, as long as your drive is submitted to God’s plan for your life. And oh, does he ever have a plan for your life. A good one. In his goodness you can rest assured.

What has been your experience? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Also, feel free to drop a suggestion for future blog post topics! Thanks for reading and have an awesome week!

Celebration Overload?

Easter is almost here! Time for special church services and Easter baskets; time for remembering Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, and oohing and ahhing over kids in fancy hats and sweater vests! I love this time of year. Spring is in the air (literally…I’ve been sneezing all day), the trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and it is birthday season at the Mattis house.

Yes, you heard right. I said birthday season. If I’ve seemed a little more MIA than usual, I blame birthday season. Four out of the five of us celebrate birthdays within six weeks of each other. Add my husband’s recent book launch party to the mix and that basically equals a party most weekends for months on end.

For me, this translates into countless trips to Target and Party City for party supplies and gifts, and lots of late nights making cakes and decorating after the kids are in bed (I tend to go a little overboard making my kids’ cakes…time consuming but super fun). Not to mention the paper lists strewn about my kitchen like some new form of recyclable countertop material. (I have been known to make a list of all the lists I need to make…is that weird?) Birthday season is serious, people.

Celebrating my family is a wonderful thing. What’s not so wonderful is when I let the task of celebrating overtake the actual celebration going on in my heart. That’s when things get overwhelming.

I must say, I have made strides in this department (if I do say so myself). I used to obsess over my house and the presentation of things to an unhealthy degree, finding it difficult to truly enjoy the celebration. Letting go of the Pinterest-perfect ideal was beyond freeing. Because, really. When’s the last time you cared if there was a stack of papers on someone’s counter. Never? That’s what I thought.

So even though these days I can maintain my sanity while we celebrate, I still have to take the time to guard my mindset so I don’t get burned out by all the fun. I think the issue boils down to this:

There is a difference between personal celebration versus God-centered community celebration.

If you read through the Bible for any length of time, you’ll quickly realize how much celebrating went on back then. There were festivals and parties to celebrate something-or-other every time you turned around! But the thing is, they had a pretty solid mixture of personal celebrations (weddings, banquets, etc.) and community celebrations which were God-centered.

There’s something different, more fulfilling in my opinion, about celebrating God amongst other believers. Whether it’s a Christmas Eve church service or a family Easter celebration, the goal of celebrating is to remember the amazing things God has done, praise his goodness, and do it alongside others who are likeminded.

Personal celebrations are super fun, and are a great way to break up the often-otherwise mundane days, but they’re just not quite as, I don’t know…rich of an experience.

God clearly lays out an expectation of celebration for us in the Bible. It is good to celebrate! Healthy, even! Celebrations remind us of our blessings and the goodness of God himself. They nourish and revive our weary souls! (As long as we go easy on ourselves with party prep…)

As Easter draws nearer, let’s do an honest examination of ourselves. Are we stressed out trying to make everything just so? Or are we excited to remember and celebrate Jesus’ powerful resurrection with our fellow Christ-followers?

If you fall into the stressed-out camp, let me encourage you. First of all, I’ve been there and I get it. There’s just so. much. to. do. Life can get overwhelming with everything else on top of planning a celebration. But if this is you, stop for a minute. Take a ten minute coffee date with God (or tea, ginger root beer, whatever). Tell him all your worries. Then ask him to steady your heart. Ask his Holy Spirit to fill you with the overwhelming sense of love and peace that only he can give. Receive it.

Then grab your party hat and head into the Easter weekend with a spirit of joy, knowing all that really matters is Jesus crucified and brought back to life as he conquered death and paved a path for each of us straight to Heaven. Happy Easter, friends.

What are your Easter traditions? Are you feeling stressed out or excited this year? Drop me a comment to let me know—I’d love to pray for you if you’re having a hard week!

Quick update on me: My manuscript, Power Up, is still in the editing phase. I’d like to say “final” editing phase, but I don’t want to jinx it. 😉 Let me tell you, this whole route to publishing has been a learning experience like I never imagined. The last word I heard from my publisher is that they were hoping for a May release date, but that’s seeming more and more unlikely. The cover artist is supposed to be working on the cover art this month, which is exciting! I can’t wait to see what they come up with. I’ll keep you posted. I can’t believe this book will soon be a reality—pray with me that it will be instrumental in changing the lives of 8-12 year olds! Thanks again for taking this journey with me.