The other day I was walking into Walmart with my children when I said with a smile to my oldest daughter, "Guess what? I have a list! And it has everything on it!" My children smiled and laughed with me. You see, I don't often have a list with me. I keep it in my head--or at least try my best to. I do have a smart phone and I put some notes on it, but not as many as I should.
As I walked into Walmart, I looked at Autumn and told her that many people think I'm very organized. She burst into laughter and my other two children smiled. I laughed along with her. I knew what she would think when I told her.
Often our family sees us very differently than our friends and strangers do. Autumn sees me every day. She sees that I struggle to stay on time and that I always have so much to do and so much that I want to do. She sees my piles of papers and the pressure I put on myself.
But, she is a child. That night I told my husband the story. His response was a smile with the acknowledgement that I am organized by that I have a lot going on that I'm keeping track of. I'm not a perfectly organized person who lives by a calendar and is always on time. But, I would describe myself as "organized". I think I'm not as organized as people think I am, but I think I'm also a bit more organized than Autumn thinks I am, you see...
My daughter is a child and so she doesn't see my planner with my monthly menu that is my own way of organizing. She doesn't realize that I can always find things in my home when my family needs them. She doesn't realize that all of their school books and folders are organized. She has seen me organize bit by bit, but doesn't know yet that organization is a process. I take one step at a time. Last summer, I organized and labeled the bins in my school room and our school supply drawers. A few years ago, I made my mom notebook. This fall, I made a medical notebook with pages of information for my husband, myself, and our children. And yesterday... I was given a drawer organizer by a friend and I took everything out of my desk drawers. It's finally organized.
I've realized that organizing my home and my life is a process. To do everything in a day would be overwhelming because it would make me feel like such a failure! But, tackling one thing at a time makes it doable. Because life keeps on going. You can't just take a week and stop everything to organize things. But, the biggest thing that I've learned about organization is to compensate for my weaknesses.
When I see a weakness in my organization that I'm not able to manage, I consider how to cope with it. Can I change my weakness? Usually not, I've found. Can I put a routine in place or make something that will help? Do I just need to simplify and get rid of something? This is how I cope with my life.
This is why we have laminated checklists for setting the table and cleaning the house.
This is why my oldest daughter helps me by getting up in the morning (she's highly motivated). Once she's going, she helps the rest of us get on track. The Lord blessed me with her!
My middle daughter loves to organize her room. She's also my child that leaves everything everywhere. But, I can count on her to redo her room when it's needed--she has a knack.
My children help me get out the door by helping and taking responsibility for what they need wherever we are going. I prep them as we're getting home about what we need to do and about what we need when we go certain places each week.
If I need to take something to church on Sunday or another place during the week, I put it in my church bag by the door or straight into the trunk of my car.
The music bag sits by the piano and gets filled every Wednesday morning and then put in the car so we won't forget it for lessons in the afternoon. (I've found myself two blocks away from my house several times without the bag...)
But, that's my life. We each have families that need different things from us. We're all wired differently. I am amazed at how much some of my friends tackle and keep track of. I realize that we're all in the trenches together. In the end, we love our families and our friends and we just do the best we can.
I just watched a movie titled Paradise Recovered and it was interesting. It was about a young woman who was in a cult-like church and two young men who try to help her see her way out of it. The main character has a very skewed sense of grace and what it means to be a Christian. The theology of the church is very twisted. Being a Christian doesn't mean that we are perfect or that we can be perfect. It means that we are forgiven. We try to glorify God in our lives because we love him, not out of obligation and guilt, but out of love.
I get excited when God helps me see a different way to be organized or keep track of things. I'm thankful for the times when I get to purge my home and pass things on. But most of all, I'm thankful that I'm a work in progress who knows God's grace.