Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New Year’s Recombobulation, Reorientation, Replenishment: One Month Update

We're one month into the New Year, so I thought I should update our progress on recombobulation, reorientation, and replenishment.

Recombobulation is a work in progress. We now have an organized bedroom closet, kitchen cupboards, bathroom cupboards, entry closet, and 90% of the kids’ toys have been moved from downstairs to the new upstairs toyroom. Sadly, there’s still soooo much more to do in this unruly farmhouse and my motivation is running out (I’m very much “Type B” in the homemaking department)….fortunately we have eleven more months!

Reorientation has also been a focus this month as I’ve tried to waste less time with meaningless distractions (ie: PINTEREST) and instead spend my free time moving in a direction in which I feel called (ie: blogging and a new opportunity that I will share in another post…) In parenting, too, I’ve tried to orient our family towards character development (we’re in the middle of a screen-free week right now—I’ll let you know how that goes!)

In the replenishment category, daily prayer was the biggest change. And was it ever. As I explained, I’ve always had a hard time committing to the “idyllic” prayer time: waking up before the kids to sit in silence with my Bible and a hot cup of coffee. What can I say; I just love sleeping too much for that! Instead, I’ve loosened up my all-or-nothing standards a bit to commit to praying as soon as I get the chance in the AM. Sometimes this is before kids get up, sometimes it’s when the boys are down for morning nap, sometimes it’s in the transition after I drop off the kids and before I begin work. There’s always time if I make it a priority.

The other biggest change in my prayer life has been the approach I’ve taken to prayer. I’ve never been much for formulaic prayers (gasp: Bad Catholic!), and yet my spontaneous prayers often drift off in distraction or self-absorption.

I found a happy medium in Michael Kelly’s book “Resisting Happiness.” Our parish handed out copies of this book as Christmas presents, and the urge towards daily prayer was definitely my biggest take-away. Kelly gives a framework for spontaneous prayer:

This framework has given me just the structure I needed to keep my mind focused on prayer. As silly as I felt at first, I’ve also found it helpful to pray aloud; not only does it keep my mind from drifting off, but it forces me to fully formulate thoughts that I normally wouldn’t, and often I find clarity in this. I also added a step in just before the Our Father at the end as I wanted to more clearly dedicate my day to God. I say: “Lord, I give you this day. I am your clay. Mold me, I pray. As a tool for Your Way.” Kelly suggests that you dedicate ten minutes each day to this prayer structure, but it only takes me seven….not sure if that makes me an over achiever or an underachiever!

In any case, the seven minutes have had an immense effect on the course of my days. Daily prayer has given me direction, peace, and a more intimate relationship with the Lord. I look forward to what the rest of 2017 holds!

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