Last fall I went to one of my spiritual advisors asking for help.
I had struggled with a chronic cough – and I know many have struggled with viruses this winter – and was weary and overwhelmed. I thought I should be doing better!
One of the most helpful things she said to me that day was to map out my schedule in a prayerful way, and I can’t begin to say how much this has been a useful exercise.
I started out in my little journal drawing a map of the whole month and writing everything down…. and when I did, it really didn’t seem so bad! From the jumble in my head to a plan on paper was freeing indeed.
I also became more intentional about asking God for wisdom in my planning and what I should put on those pages. What was necessary? What could I say no to? Did I plan for self-care and time with my hubby and family?
Last week I had to put this into practice as I wanted to participate in a study of great interest to me. I also wanted to participate in a Eccumenical Lent series I was excited about. As I processed this, I felt that I could only do one… and I had to choose. When I did, I felt released. One can’t do it all!
I greatly admire (and am secretly jealous of) people with endless energy and high metabolisms. I work with limited physical resources… and I think we all do to some extent. Especially as we get older… ahem.
So part of my week now, often on Sunday afternoons is planning for the week ahead. It means reviewing my schedule, and I send this to my wonderful prayer partner who prays for me! I plan my menu, and somehow knowing what we will eat gives me freedom to enter the week feeling prepared and restful. A crockpot chicken dish on Monday can become a stir fry on Tuesday and soup on Wednesday… it helps me to manage my resources and be lest wasteful… another goal of mine!
I also need to create “empty” spaces… which allow for rest, creating art, reading and just “being”. These are “energy” blocks which fuel the work I love to do.
Yesterday I had some fun creating a weekly calendar plan which could be printed on a regular size sheet of paper, and even laminated for continual use. If you would like a jpg. of this, you can send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it.
On this calendar there is space for the every day appointments, but also places to reflect spiritually, to think of others, to create, and spend time with family.
There is a new buzz phrase, to live intentionally. I have a device which measures my steps and it helps me to be very intentional about moving! More importantly, I want to be intentional about prayer, about being aware of God’s presence and strength to help me through each day.
I also want to think of others… can I drop an encouraging card in the mail, or phone someone who is lonely? Even if I do this three times a week, it is a practice of giving that encourages those who might need it most.
I love the prayer from Psalm 19: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You!” I try to pray this daily…
Yesterday at a group I lead, we talked about breath prayers… and even setting reminders to stop and pray through the day as we breathe deeply of God’s love, of God’s presence. When we slow down, we are strengthened.
Perhaps scheduling well is already a part of your life, I would love to hear what is helpful for you.
May we live our days with wisdom, for each one is a gift.