It's very rare that I complete everything on my to-do list. Maybe that's because I'm a lofty-thinker and think that I can do more than I actually can, but sometimes it's because quite frankly, I am a poor time-manager (something God is definitely working through with me!). When I don't accomplish everything, I tend to be very hard on myself. But lately I've been feeling accomplishment because of something I've figured out.
Even if I do nothing else to clean my house for the day, I make my bed. It's the one thing that I know I must do. It's a decision I made and I'm not going to go against it. My mind is made up! It's my first step, I suppose you could say, to trying to be more time-efficient. And it's really amazing how good I feel! I've never been a bed maker because I figure I'm just going to be getting back into it that night, so why bother? The only time my bed every got made before was when people were coming over. Otherwise, it went unmade.
But for the past few months, I've made a decision to change that. My mentor once told me that if the bed is made, the room looks 70% clean, no matter how unclean it really is and I can honestly say she is right! The bed makes up 70% of the room and if that is made, it gives the illusion of clean and for some reason in my mind it makes me feel accomplished and I've been a lot less hard on myself as a result when I don't finish the rest of my "to-do" list!
I've applied this to my flossing, too. A week or so ago I went to the dentist and had not flossed the way I should have and the dental hygienist tore my mouth up and I was sore for days! I decided to apply my bed-making philosophy to flossing and be discipled in it and I'm surprised how focused I am at accomplishing that one task. Next time I go for a cleaning, I'm hoping it will be more pleasant.
I'm on to something here! Baby steps are all that are needed in making changes. I think I overwhelm myself with getting everything right instead of getting a few things right. I think I assume the whole house must be clean when really it's just a few things a day that will keep it tip-top. I can't believe it's taken me 40 years to figure this out! (haha)
It's like this spiritually, too. When we become a Christian, often I think we expect that everything will be completely different right away, but really God doesn't over-whelm us - He is patiently working in us but will do it one step at a time. Once that one thing is improved, He moves on to the next. It's a gentle and amazing super-natural thing that only He can do in us. When we put pressure on ourselves to get it all right at the moment we surrender, we end up discouraged and frustrated.
Yesterday I didn't make my bed. It was the first time in months and honestly when I went to bed last night I felt discouraged. I thought that it was the beginning of a downhill slide. But as I prayed as I lay there before going to sleep, I felt God whisper to me "Just make your bed tomorrow. Let it go."
In life there will be times when things we thought were improved in our life - like a bad habit, an ugly emotion or a destructive pattern - will come back to taunt us. This is not the beginning of the end! This is life. But the key is to remember that you wake up the next day with the attitude of "I may have messed up yesterday but today I'm back on track" instead of the natural human thought process of "Oh, man, this is the beginning of the end. I messed up so now I'm doomed."
Changing the way we think can work wonders. Don't allow discouragement keep you from moving forward in your walk with God. If you fall, just get back up again.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)