Wow, friends! I wasn't exactly expecting this level of response to a post I quickly typed out in 20 minutes. I'm humbled, and grateful, that so many of you resonated with our deep need to choose peace in our days...and the challenge it can be to do so.
The message I felt coming across in the comments ran the gammut from "Yes, I want this!" all the way to "Right, but I can't just sit around all day now can I?"
I think Kelly summed the struggle up well when she said:
"Peace is certainly something I long for and anything that can be done to achieve it is considered. However, is it peaceful to have clutter all around? Or not be able to find clean clothes? Or have to order pizza because nothing has been thawed for dinner?
Maybe that means I need to do this more so than others, but I'm still searching for that balance between "getting it all done" and enjoying the day to day challenges. In my mind, once it's all done, I can relax and have peace."
Kelly brings up very good points, so just to clarify...
Here's what choosing peace does NOT mean:
- staying in your pajamas all day
- reading blogs when you should be playing with your kids
- feeding your children chicken nuggets every night
- spreading piles of laundry around the house
- leaving dishes to pile up in the sink all day
- ignoring your children because you just can't take the bickering anymore
- letting mess accumulate while you chant "I'm peaceful, I'm peaceful."
Choosing peace does mean:
- That people are more important than tasks
- That you have adequate expectations of yourself, depending on what season of life you're in
- That you try to stop what you're doing to look your children in the eye when they interrupt you
- That you have a reasonable to-do list for the day, that includes only your most important, essential tasks
(Mine for today: Read to the kids, Laundry, Stir fry & rice for dinner, Begin Monday's post for Simple Homeschool, start this post for you, and spend 15 minutes catching up on emails.)
- That you invest a little time, as you're able, to streamline and declutter your home (Clutter is not and never will be peaceful!)
- That you smile at those you love...even when you don't feel like it
- That if any of the above make you feel like you're going to lose it, you stop and come back to it later. (This means being willing to release control.)
- That you understand that in 15 years your kids will nearly be grown and what you'll remember most will be the moments you spent with them
I loved what Chris shared in this comment:
"My oldest son is home for a few days and I asked him about your post. In a nut shell this is what he said. "I remember the day that we made snow angels, drank hot chocolate and warmed our toes in front of the wood stove. We talked about how snow was formed and a lot of different stuff. What I learned that day that had the most impact on my life was "take time out to love."
We will not find peace at the end of our to-do list. That effort has a name: striving. It promises peace, but in the effort required it steals the very promise away.
Choosing peace over productivity means that we accept our work with contentment, we do what we can, we let go when we should, and we discover that life is about joy and service, and that we can have both!
Progress, not perfection--the peace-seeking mama's mantra.
"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
What have you learned about what does and what does not lead to peace for you and your family?