Being MOM-- Good Stewardship of My Time & Energy (Trail Blaze #6)

 Johannes Vermeer, c. 1662-1665
Being a mom of a small tribe has taught me certain things. 

One of those is that I am not a limitless person. I used to feel that way... like I could do anything, go anywhere, pile on the commitments, handle anything life could throw at me, and accomplish it all with strength, skill, and passion.  

But I am learning that there is a limit-- that I have true human limitations-- and that once certain things are used up, they are used up. 

And (taking it a step further-- to the practical level) once it's used up, there are people in my home who will suffer if they have needs that I can not meet because I have spent myself, my time, & energy elsewhere.

I am responsible for being a good steward of my own energy, time, and life. There is no one to blame but me if my time and energy are ill-used. But God can help, and is helping, me to change.

Once I realize that I have used my time or energy in ways that are unwise, I can ask myself:

  • IS IT SIN?-- sometimes I am willfully using my energy in ways that God never asks me to do, or even tells me not to do, and I am responsible for that. In this case, I need to confess that and choose to walk in ways that will be a wise use of my resources... seeing myself as a steward of *me*.
  • IS IT NEGLECT?-- sometimes I am carelessly, unintentionally expending my energy on things that are not fruitful. In this case, I need to be more purposeful, examining where my time and energy are going, and living with intentionality.
  • IS IT KNOW-HOW?-- sometimes my energy is poorly used because I don't know what I should be doing, or because I don't know how to do what I do in a way that helps me to steward it wisely. In this case, I need to learn and acquire skills that help me to use my energy in a more reserved way. (Things like freezer cooking, meal planning, arranging a closet so clothes are better accessible and kids don't end up going through more outfits than they should in a day, and learning to keep up with dishes more quickly could fall into this category.)
  • IS IT SOMETHING ELSE?-- talking about these things with Doug helps me. He sees my life from a different angle and can reflect back to me what he's seeing. It's usually encouraging, in that he sees way more good than I do, but occasionally it's challenging, and he points out something I'm doing that is not fruitful. Either way, it's helpful to think through life with intentionality, and to specifically ask my husband for his input.
Whatever the case, ultimately I am responsible for how I use what God has given me-- my time & energy in particular. 

I can spend my time & energy fruitlessly, or I can live with purpose, according to the guidance God has given me. (Click here to tweet that.)

What about you? Please share in comments--
  • Do you push yourself too far and try to do too much?
  • Where in your life do you need to seek balance and stewardship?
  • What would it look like for you to see yourself as a "steward" of YOU?


Anonymous said...

Hello Jess,

To be completely honest, I think I use my time extremely well. I'm currently on bedrest but prior to this it had been years since I spent time reading and commenting on blogs. Or crocheting, or writing, or otherwise being creative.

Only in the last year (prior to this pregnancy) was I able to regularly commit to a bible study that didn't happen during the day.

I'm beginning to suspect a huge difference between the distribution of work between my household and others because every so often I come across a mom with similar or greater responsibilities but the ability to go surfing, throw at party, or build a chicken coop. ;)

A few stats: I don't regularly watch Tv or have a Facebook account. We currently rent a small 2 bedroom house where myself, my breadwinning husband, our 14 year old son and 5 year old daughter stay. I'm currently pregnant (a miracle!)

I'm also the one who wondered how you had time to build your chicken coop, in case you were wondering. :)

I might also mention that I first came across your blog while on bedrest with my 5 year old and went searching for it again this time.

There were many posts that ministered to me, but the one about one of your kids eating dirt tickled my funny bone and encouraged me deeply.

Thanks for the honesty.

Amber L.

Hearth said...

Yes! I do overdo. Constantly vacillating between "I must use every second" and then frying my circuits and goofing off. :p

Definitely a season of prioritizing.

- Hearth

Jessica Connell said...

That's great, Amber, that you feel good about how you use your time. :)

I think we all have different emphases and priorities within our homes. Doug & I are both messies, and thus our tolerance for visual chaos/clutter is higher than a lot of people's would be. We also have lived overseas in cramped, not-so-visually-pleasing situations for nearly half of our 13 years of marriage, so all that to say, we're "OK" with a lot of visual unpleasantness and it truly doesn't bother either of us up to a certain point.

Now, when people come over, look out, cause it's everyone-run-around-and-tidy-like-crazy-people mode... LOL, but I'm sure that contributes to how we use our time (because we're not spending it keeping the house spic-and-span).

I'm glad the dirt-eating baby (who is now 5.5 years old) made you laugh. He still makes me laugh.

Jessica Connell said...

Hearth- it's tough to find balance. I have lately found myself zoning way too much.

Like Bob Newhart says, I've gotta "STOP IT!" :)

Catie said...

Well, up until a few months ago (before my third trimester), I would say I was getting *better* at being a good steward of my time. It took me a good 4 years though, to really get a handle on it. (Since having my first child.)

I was spending WAAAY too much time on the internet. WAAAY too much. Things that have helped me in that area are 1. Setting time boundaries for myself (I rarely go on the internet before naptime anymore.) 2. Changing the settings on Facebook and deleting a lot of the "friends" I had and 3. The simple motivation and conviction to be a better wife and mama. I can't really be the best mama when I'm staring at a screen for half the day.

I will say, that since Baby #3 was born, I've been spending more time on the computer, but as life gets back to "normal" (whatever THAT is) I know that will change.

Great post!!

Jessica Connell said...

I hear you about time on the internet.

It is a constant readjusting for me... some seasons I've cut it out almost entirely, and others, I spend WAAAY too much time (to use your phrasing). ;)

I have found that between my Lord and my husband, I have good guidance about whether or not I'm using my time wisely and whether or not I'm on the internet too much.

As a writer, I definitely have a personal drive to spend time putting words on the page, and so that drives some of my time online. Nonetheless, I can poke around and browse with the best of them, and I really have to watch that and rein it in when I see that those have become my tendencies in a given season.