Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Challenge of Becoming

I have a confession to make.  I have been making the same goals and creating the same amazingly futile to do list for years.  Literally the exact same list.  Often I have run across an old scrap of paper that was dated six years ago only to sadly realize that the super incredible woman schedule that I had written down for myself and commited with a passion to doing was the same schedule that I am now writing down and committing to try again.  The schedule goes something like this:

I wake at 5 am (refreshed and lovely) and spend some quiet time reading my scriptures and meditating.  I then run 6 miles, have scripture study with my kids, take them to school, clean the entire house, do a super fun activity with them, have story time and lunch time. Then I proceed to complete all my errands, perform some service to someone in need and have a fabulous after school snack waiting for my older children who will then clean their rooms, do their homework, and talk with me until I present an incredible dinner.  After dinner everyone will go to bed ontime and the house will be clean before they go to bed so I will spend my evenings relaxing with my husband and brushing up on some good reading and then I will write in my journal about it all before bed.

Along with these things I also plan to squeeze in some amazing projects, scrapbook my children's entire lives, and have all of my kids'working and contributing happily around the all times :), (I also aim to NEVER let my kids just watch TV or movies so that I can get something done)

It seems so doable when I write it down.  But here's the reality.... frequently my days look more like this:

I wake at 5:50 (because I planned to exercise at 6am and waking up before that seemed painful).  I stumble downstairs and try to eek out a few miles on a good day.  I then return home  and feed my kids and try to encourage them to get dressed rather than play and then try...try my hardest to have everyone dressed and me showered and have my hair done before it is time for school.  I drop the older kids off and return home to the natural disaster-like mess that somehow happened in between us waking up and leaving the house.  I eat my breakfast and then start cleaning up.  But mostly I spend two hours taking my toddler off the table that she just climbed onto and chasing her into the bathroom so she doesn't put one of the older kids' toothbrushes in the toilet again, and reloading the bookshelf.  By noon sometimes the house is clean again and we usually have story time and by the end of the day I have ALWAYS fed the kids...almost always...OK, a few times I've forgotten but that's unusual.  And by evening I'm lucky if half the stuff on my glorious schedule was accomplished. 

The schedule seemed so doable but in real life I could never quite cross everything off my list in one day.  At the end of the day either the house was a mess or  I didn't spend enough time with the kids or I skipped my scripture study or fell asleep before I wrote in my journal.  Sometimes I technically got alot accomplished but I was grumpy and frazzled so that didn't count either.  At some point I started to wonder if I would ever amount to anything considering the fact that I couldn't even cross everything off that list.  But gradually my views have started to change.

And last night as I was reading a talk from Elder Dalin H. Oaks it really hit me.  The point that he made was that life is not about a series of deposits that need to be made into an account in order to claim success. No, life is about what you are BECOMING.

Sure, what we do plays a big factor in what be become.  That's why we try to do great things.  But whether or not we accomplished everything on our list really has very little to do with whether or not we are becoming great. So, I stopped for a minute and I thought about that list and I wondered....what do I want to BECOME? Not what do I want to do every day so that I can check it off.

Hmmmm....I want to become a more loving and kind and patient person.  I want to become a person who is healthy and disciplined and spiritual and makes a difference in this world....and I want to help my kids to do that too. It doesn't sound that complicated.  I took a deep breath and thought about how my list should change.  Of course I still want perfect days full of blissful activities and a remarkably clean house...but maybe that's not what it's all about.

Maybe it's about focusing on being patient when it doesn't work out.  Maybe it's about showing my children love and attention even when the schedule says finish the grocery shopping. Maybe it's about happily continuing more than quickly completing. Maybe it's less about what I accomplished and more about how I treated the people around me and what I gave my energy and thoughts to. So, that's my new goal.  No complicated schedule.  No list of things that I must cross off in order to consider the day a success. Only this...What am I BECOMING?

Don't get me wrong.  I will still make to do lists and I will still cross them off as I go. But in the end it's the life I'm living and who I'm becoming that I will try to give the most credit to.  And if I am becoming the kind of person that I want to be....then I can check that off the list.  I sort of learned my lesson :)

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it weird how one little thing you hear can put it all in perspective for you? Thanks for posting this!