What does it look like to live life with purpose in uncertain times such as these?
What would the Proverbs 31 woman say?
Let's take a look at Proverbs 31, my current favorite inspiration for my daily living.
- Her marriage is filled with trust and goodwill towards her husband. (Proverbs 31:10-12).
- She willingly seeks work, rising to the challenge of each task. Her household is always cared for first. Her work is valuable and she knows it.
- She “considers a field and buys it”. I don’t think this was some random Target purchase just for pleasure. This was a well thought out purchase that would better her and her family's lives. And she considers the purchase before she buys it.
- She makes herself strong. The word that is used for strength means being strong in material, physical, personal, social, and/or political settings. This woman was not weak in her mind, body, or spirit. She prepared for what was ahead in every facet of life. She “laughs at the the time to come.” She laughs not because she is careless and naive, but because she has prepared for what is to come and her mind is at ease.
- She is beneficent, bringing clothes and food to those in need.
- She is never idle. She doesn’t peruse Instagram for hours, or allow herself to waste daylight with trivial things when work can be done.
- “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” A constant challenge to be wise in my speech and always kind.
There is so much more in this passage of Scripture than can be absorbed right now in this short read. However, we can study her. As you study her ask God to bring these qualities to our lives. Be careful though, when asking God for wisdom, patience, and any of the virtues held by Mrs. Proverbs 31. Don’t be surprised when he brings things your way that cause you to lean into Him and His grace.
What does this look like in day to day life.
A few things that help me be organized and productive are good sleep, lists, and a consistent routine. To flesh this out in our daily lives I’ve compiled a list of actions that will help bring organization to our daily lives.
1. Put your phone to bed an hour or even two before you go to bed.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends staying off your phone a minimum of 30 minutes before bed. Blue light from your phone interrupts your circadian rhythm. Checking emails or scrolling Instagram before bed can cause increased alertness and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
2. Write out your list for the next day.
Writing out your to do list the evening allows your mind to rest rather than race when going to bed. Some have found it helpful to keep a notepad and pen beside their bed to write down anything that comes to mind while falling asleep.
3. Prepare for the next morning
This may look different for each person. For me this includes, loading the dishwasher, feeding sourdough bread, packing R’s lunch, etc. Doing these small tasks cuts off time spent in the morning as well as stops racing thoughts when I climb into bed. The less that is on my mind when I lay down, the quicker sleep comes.
4. Go to bed and wake up at consistent times.
Keeping your circadian rhythm balanced like this allows for more restful sleep and being less tired on waking. For us this looks like bedtime between 8-9:30 and waking between 4:30-6:30. What is crazy is that on vacation our bodies won’t even let us sleep in past 7:00 a.m. Over Christmas I tried to sleep in and my body was wide awake at 7. Trust me on this one. Your body and mind will thank you.
5. Have a morning routine
No matter what you do, do it every morning. This cuts down on the time that you stumble around mindlessly. At least your stumbling with purpose when you wake up, rather than walking around aimlessly for an hour.
What this looks like for me.
- Put on comfy clothes to do my morning workout. Workouts get done about 3-5 times a week. They are more likely to get done if I get dressed for them right away.
- Fix bed.
- Unload the dishwasher.
- Start a load of laundry.
- Let Leeroy J. the dobe out.
- Make a cup of tea.
- Read my Bible.
- Get dressed and ready for the day.
- This is what works for me. Find a rhythm that works for you and stick to it. I promise you will enjoy mornings more even if you’re not a morning person.
6. Pick the Top Three
Write a list of three things that are top priority and rate them in order of importance. Then start on them and don't waiver from the list. Reward yourself with a walk outside, a 5 minute Instagram break, a fresh cup of coffee or tea. Whatever motivates you, do that!
Don’t get discouraged if your Top Three don’t get done. Roll what you didn’t get done into the next day. Some days you’ll get all three done plus some, and other days will be slower. It’s okay, just keep going.
These six things help me to keep a routine that does not bog me down or make me feel overwhelmed. They will probably be different for you and that’s okay! All that matters is that you do the best you can with what you have in front of you.
Dealing with interruptions
There will be interruptions from kiddos, phone calls, the neighbor lady, or even your husband. When this happens do a quick assessment in your mind and ask yourself who or what is more important. Your husband or the phone call. Your children or a text from a friend. Your work deadline or your families meal for the evening. Once you have assessed the situation ask God to help you discern what He would have you to do. In this post I talked about praying about everything. When it comes to interruptions this is so very important. Allow God into the inner workings of your day. He is faithful.