Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls Podcast:
Scroll down to read it as a blog post!
I often talk about or write about things I read in self-help books that make a difference in my life. Two weeks ago I shared the Motivation Equation. Recently on Periscope, I shared a change that I made to my children’s clothing system that has helped us tremendously to cut down the confusion, fights and wastefulness of my daughters putting on several outfits per day. But the more I talk about these small improvements I make in my life, I realize that I might give the wrong impression about what’s important to me.
It is not my goal to be a MORE productive person. It is my goal to be more holy. When I save time by creating an effective system, I do not replace it with more work or more busyness. In fact, you’d find that for most of the day, I hang out in my living room with my kids. Sometimes we hang out outside. Sometimes we hang out in the bed of our guest room reading books. Yesterday we went to the park twice just to hang out.
I am striving for sainthood by trying to love all the people that God has put in my path. And right now, God has put three little girls in my path and my job, the work I need to do, is to love them and show them who Jesus is. Sure, it’s also to talk to them about who Jesus is but it’s mostly to show them who He is. I certainly mess this up all the time but I’m always trying to be better at it.
The other day someone said to me, “Wow, you must be really busy!” And I’m not sure specifically why this person thought that of me, it’s a fair assumption. Maybe it was because I have a blog and a podcast. But the truth is, I’m not that busy at all. Most weeks I have one or two appointments on my calendar. I often tell people I’m open for playdates almost everyday!
I write my blog and record my podcast one morning per week. The rest of the time I spend “working” on writing or speaking is usually dedicated to commenting and supporting other Catholic blogs. I interact with these communities while my kids nap and so it’s actually part of my rest time.
It’s true, I do wake up early so I can do my devotional, have coffee and do some free writing for a book I’m trying to finish but I also go to bed early so I can do that. I haven’t extended my awake hours, I’ve just shifted them. I try really hard to put my phone away at 7 p.m. and to spend my last hour and a half of the day with my husband. More hanging out, you see but that’s how I love these people. I spend time with them.
“Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.” Saint Augustine
Less is more. Prayer is better. Build your foundation on Christ.
I do not desire greatness on this Earth. That is not why I have a blog. I desire to be holy and to share my love of God with others. I have ended up doing that in a public way because the gifts God has given me have worked out that way. I think most bloggers will tell you that we simply desire to help others and our favorite emails are from people who say, “Thank you for helping me.”
If you asked me what my day looks like in any given day, it is true that I have it all planned out but most of those blocks include big chunks of time where I’m just hanging with my kids or my family.
I say this because it is not my goal to have you read this blog and create more systems and efficiency in your life so you can BE MORE PRODUCTIVE. I want you to create systems to so you can decrease your stress levels and find more time to just be.
I want you to stop chasing things that don’t matter. I want you to stop getting anxious about worldly things that you don’t even have to do.
There is a huge difference for me when I’m hanging out because I’m avoiding something and I’m hanging out because I’ve taken care of enough things that I can relax with my family. One is laziness and avoidance, the other is presence and love.
My work, being a stay-at-home-mom, is an act of worship. It is through this job that I am learning to be more like Christ and I’m trying to honor what God has given me. You can act like this in your mind and in your heart no matter what your job is. If you have to go to work, find ways to be more like Christ while you’re there. Ask yourself, “What does God want me to learn today? How can I be more like Jesus today?”
“The fundamental objective of the formation of the lay faithful is an ever-clearer discovery of one’s vocation and the ever-greater willingness to live it so as to fulfill one’s mission. …The lay faithful, in fact, are called by God so that they, led by the spirit of the Gospel, might contribute to the sanctification of the world, as from within like leaven, by fulfilling their own particular duties. Thus, especially in this way of life, resplendent in faith, hope and charity they manifest Christ to others.” – Pope John Paul II in Christifideles Laici
I am choosing to strive for sainthood in the work that I do. I am trying to become more holy through the tasks I complete and with the people I interact with. I am constantly working on my attitude and the state of my heart. These are the real battlefields for my relationship to Jesus and my relationship to the world.
I know my life will change. I know that as my children get older, we will probably have more activities that end up on our calendar. But when we choose what to sign up our kids for, I will keep in mind that my relationship with them, my desire for them to know and love Jesus is greater than my desire for them to be successful in this world. I will choose our activities accordingly.
I hope you take a moment and thank God today for the people in your life, for the things He has given you to take care of. You are being a steward of a great many people while you are here on Earth working on your own holiness. He has a plan for you. He wants you to slow down your mind and your heart, even if you look busy on the outside, to remember to pray and to focus on how you can be more like His son, Jesus.
Spend time each day reading the bible and you will become more and more familiar with Jesus so you can work on being more like him.
“You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” –Gospel of Matthew 5:13-14 and 16
P.S. One more quote!
The only true riches are those that make us rich in virtue. Therefore, if you want to be rich, beloved, love true riches. If you aspire to the heights of real honor, strive to reach the kingdom of Heaven. If you value rank and renown, hasten to be enrolled in the heavenly court of the Angels. – Pope St. Gregory the Great