What's on your to-do list today? Hayley DiMarco helps us reconsider just what's really important for our focus in our relationships and in life.
Too Much To Do and Not Enough Time
By Hayley DiMarco
I pride myself on doing my best. I always want to be the best at whatever I do. When I got married, of course, I wanted to be the best wife. I began reading a lot of books on the subject, and I got to work on what I considered to be my wifely responsibilities of taking care of husband and home; but soon my little-engine-that-could just couldn't anymore, and I ground to a halt. I was overwhelmed with my list of things to do, and I decided I needed my husband's help.
I explained to him I was overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it, and I needed his help editing my schedule. So, he got out his Mr. Fix-It red pen and started to mark up my life.
What debuted at the top of the list as far as his priorities were concerned?
Who's she? I asked.
Seriously, he wants joyfulness to be my number one priority? Doesn't he know me?
As he went on to suggest the next three priorities in order of importance to him, I was dumbfounded. They did not include a tidy house and good cooking; those he put at the very bottom of the list.
All this time I had based my to-do list on what I thought he wanted. Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly true. I was just doing for Michael what I would want him to do for me. (Although with that premise in mind, I'm surprised my to-do list didn't include giving him a daily massage and running him a hot bubble bath every night.) I had assumed his number one priority was my most coveted desire: a neat and tidy house with cute furniture, nice mood music and scented candles. I also assumed that he wanted me to cook a five-star menu every night. Boy, was I wrong.
All the stuff that overwhelmed me turned out to be stuff I didn't need to do. Great news, right? I had the wrong priorities, but no one can say I'm not a quick study. I got to work rearranging my priorities and schedule to make them more loving and kind to the one I had promised to love and care for, and suddenly my stress level plummeted. All that unnecessary responsibility I was putting on myself was crazy. I was like a flight attendant stressing over cleaning the tarmac when that wasn't even in my job description.
Thankfully, my husband had God's glory in mind when talking to me about his priorities. Generally, when we love another our goal should be to serve them before serving ourselves - as long as we are ultimately serving God. When that is the order of things then life is a lot less overwhelming.
Hayley DiMarco is the best-selling author of more than 40 books; her latest release is A Woman Overwhelmed: Finding God in the Messes of Life (Abingdon Press) and its companion Bible study. As the founder of Hungry Planet, DiMarco speaks regularly for women's groups and events. Hayley, her pastor husband, Michael, and their daughter live outside Nashville.
To learn more about DiMarco, visit her online home www.HayleyDiMarco.com. She can also be found on Facebook (hayley.dimarco) and Twitter (@hayleydimarco).