By Denae Jones –
It never fails. Aside from a wandering teenager sneaking back into the kitchen for snacks, I’m always the last one to go to bed. With eight people in our house, there are so many waves of duties just during the time between making dinner and tucking kids into bed. I check that their chores are done, homework is completed, and delegate work to the ones who tried to take short-cuts. I make sure showers are taken, teeth are brushed, jammies are on, clothes are set out for the next day, and lunches are packed. I always try to spend some individual time with each of them to talk about their day, go over the schedule for the next day, and say prayers before bed. This is the point where I try to sneak in a glass of wine on the back porch with my husband before he says, “I’m going to bed.” And, like any normal person, he does.
I say I’m going to bed too, but there is something in my brain that doesn’t let me sleep if the kitchen is not clean and the house is not in order. I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen! So I scan each room, just to make sure nothing else needs done. I do things like put lids on toothpaste, wring out wet wash clothes, wipe down the counters and bring stray socks to the laundry room. Then I see a load of laundry that is still in the washer, a dirty uniform that someone needs for a game tomorrow, and wet gym shoes that need fumigated. When I finally feel like I’ve gotten to the point where the rest can wait until tomorrow, I go in to bed. Until I remember that I forgot to write a check for someone’s school and know I won’t remember by morning, so I get back up to take care of that. This repeats until I’m too exhausted to get back up, and I figure whichever kid has a paper I forgot to sign will remind me. Or get in trouble at school. At this point, I don’t even care. I just want sleep.
The next day is like déjà vu. A repeat of what I just did the day before. I realized what great lengths I go to in order to make sure the house and my family are in order each day. I’m sure many of you are the same way. (I hope I’m not the only one!) But do we go to the same lengths to make sure the other areas of our lives are in order?
What about our relationships? Have we attempted to build bridges instead of walls? Have we connected with friends and family we haven’t seen in a long time, but have been meaning to? Have we let the ones that are close to us know how much we care about them?
What about mentally? Do we need to eliminate stress? Is it time to re-assess what we let into our minds on a daily basis through television and social media? Have we managed our schedule well so that we have time to relax and de-clutter our mind?
Then there are our finances. Have we taken time to get a will made? Are powers of attorney in place? If something happened to us, is there anyone else who would know how to pay the bills, or have access to our information to do so? Is there anyone else on our safety deposit box? Do they know where the key is?
What about physically? Are there any doctor appointments we need to make for those things we keep putting off? Is our diet what it should be? Do we need to get more exercise?
What about spiritually? If we died today, could we say that we used our gifts and talents to help others? Is there anyone we need to ask forgiveness? Anyone we need to forgive? Are we at peace with God? Are we at peace with ourselves?
If the answer to those questions isn’t what we thought it would be, we might have some work to do. We might need to pause in the midst of getting all of the daily, busy things in order so that we can work on some of the bigger things.
The thing is, we don’t usually know the value of things until we lose them. Our phones. Our keys. Our jobs. We put such importance on those things, but our lives are so much more important than that. Let’s not wait until the day we think our family might lose us to start getting things in order. Let’s start now.
Have a blessed week, friends!
You can find Denae’s new book titled “Love, Joy, Peace” on Amazon and LifeWay. It is a devotional/journal on the fruit of the spirit, and how we see God working in our everyday lives. Signed copies will be available at local book-signings, coming soon.