Twenty Strategies for Busy Christian Women, Part 1

by Dr. Mom®


1. Identify what you value most in life, your highest ideals, and most burning desires.  (Luke 10: 27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”) Write an inspiring mission statement or mission prayer to guide you in prioritizing your daily actions and help you live more intentionally and in sync with your values. Then, deliberately choose to say “no” to some good things in order to open a space in your life to be able to say “yes” to your best thing. (Luke 10:42: “Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”)

2. Keep your relationships paramount.  Our deepest needs are satisfied by our relationships, not by our accomplishments or experiences.  Recall the e.e. cummings quote:  “Be of love a little more careful than of anything.” Acknowledge the toll chronic role overload takes on your cherished relationships.  Regularly schedule time with your partner, children, extended family, and friends, and maintain at least one volunteer commitment.  (Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”)

3. Distinguish the “urgent” from the “important,” and do something important every day.   Many seemingly urgent things aren’t very important, and the important things that characterize our lives often don’t have a timetable. Don’t wait for a space to open on your calendar to spend quality time with the people you love the most, make a service commitment, or pursue a long-term goal or life passion. Don’t let daily “urgent” tasks crowd out the “important” things that give meaning and purpose to your life.

4. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.   Focus on the many blessings and positive aspects of your life.  Remember that “happiness is being content with what you have.” Make fewer judgments about the events in your life, and look for the possibilities in every circumstance. Each morning and evening, name 10 things for which you are grateful.  (Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”)

5. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier each morning to allow an intimate encounter with God before starting the day.   Just as we savor spending time with the people we love, God longs for intimate fellowship with us. Read a Scripture passage and/or a daily devotion, pray and meditate, before setting your priorities for the day. When we strengthen our relationship and intimacy with God, we grow more confident in God’s steadfast love, providential care, and empowering spirit. Ask God for discernment in structuring your time and experiencing peace of mind as you go about your work.

6. Reject the burden of perfectionism.   Adopt the acceptable, totally respectable, standard of “adequate.” Repeat the mantras…“Better done than perfect” or “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” View most tasks as “pass/fail” assignments.

7.  Try “re-framing” a task or commitment to fit within your mission, so it feels less like a “have to do” and more like a privilege and a choice that resonates with your sense of purpose.   For example, tell yourself, “Watching my granddaughter feeds my spirit and makes my heart soar. This is exactly how I want to be a blessing today. The items on my “to do” list will get done in time.”

8. Review your diverse responsibilities and consider whether you can delegate some duties (including the ownership for them), pay to have some things done (like housekeeping or yard work), do some things less well (like cooking simpler meals), or stop doing some things altogether (like giving up certain holiday traditions).

9. Practice saying “no,” and notice the personal rewards that come from:  acknowledging your human limits; realizing that other people are more self-sufficient that we give them credit for; and discovering that we continue to be valued and loved even when we can’t always give everyone what they want.

10. Do not accept a new commitment when the request is first made.   Explain that you need to think and pray about the opportunity and will get back to the person. Evaluate the request in terms of your faith, values, passions, talents, current stress level, and need for the approval of others. If you truly feel called to embrace the new endeavor, choose a present commitment to “put back into circulation” before accepting the new responsibility. However, if you decide the offer is not an ideal match for you, promptly contact the individual who made the request, thank them for their invitation, and firmly–without hesitation or equivocation–explain that you are unable to accept this new commitment. Wish them well with their worthwhile project.

(Continued in Part 2)

Copyright ©  2011  Marianne Neifert, MD, MTS     May be duplicated if authorship is cited.