Learning to keep calm …

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Without bragging, I’d say I have the art of multitasking down to a science. I have been a work-from-home mom for the past 15 years with a variety of jobs – sometimes more than one at a time – from owning my own daycare, to transcription work, to administrative assistant, to writing. I have had to learn how to tune things out while focusing intently on editing, proofing and also sometimes writing clear, concise ideas that don’t sound like gibberish to the tune of music blaring, dogs barking, and children crying.

However, even the best of multitaskers have a point where one more noise, intrusion, or event tips the scales in the wrong direction and everything comes crashing down.

One spring I had overestimated my ability to multitask. In the span of two months, we were approaching the end of the school year and the many additional activities associated with that along with additional ministry opportunities, additional sports activities, graduation and subsequent planning and executing of a graduation party, and helping to care for an ill relative. Some of the additional output was mental, some spiritual and some physical but it all took its toll and tipped my multitasking ability completely over. I ended up crabby and far from calm, despite good intentions.

This summer I chose to spend three weeks fasting and praying, seeking God’s will for my schedule for the remainder of the year. I wanted to write what He wanted written, participate in activities He invited me to, and life my life according to His dreams, not mine.

The answer I received was I felt a nudge to focus more on work and my jobs in this upcoming season and less on other pre-scheduled activities – good activities, but to stick closer to home and finish strong these commitments.

Because I had asked for His guidance, I chose to obey that nudge. I made myself available for various activities I thought He wanted me to do, and He slowly closed some of the doors and opened others. The activities that He kept on my agenda are small commitments – a few hours for one day here or there instead of weeks or months in length.

This has made me available to help family more, be available for my kids who still need me, and take advantage of the last year our oldest will be living at home full time under our roof.

Sitting here today I realize something else. The period from April through June, earlier this year, was so busy I didn’t have time to think, relax or look up and enjoy the moments that were speeding by in a blur while I rushed from one activity to another.

However, as I looked back that September, we have been out of state two weekends out of four, I’ve been working on getting a book ready to be published before the end of the year, we’ve adjusted to the beginning of a new school year and had many doctor appointments in between, as well as car shopping, scheduling a tour at a university, and other out-of-the-ordinary activities.

However, this time, I’ve been able to keep calm. While still busy, allowing God to adjust my schedule has made all the difference. I’ve had time to take care of myself physically, spiritually and emotionally, the ability to work during the day so every night isn’t spent playing catch up, and making time to spend with my husband and kids regularly.

The ability to multitask is great. However, in order to multitask to one’s best ability, it’s better to ask God ahead of time what activities He wants you to multitask with instead of continuing to add more and more until calm has left the building and you’re left wondering what happened to your peace.

Have you ever had that problem – where you overschedule to the point where all calm goes out the window? How do you get back to the place of “keeping calm” in your life?

Please respond in the comments below so that I can learn from you and your life.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018; re-posted to offer encouragement

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