Get Out from Overwhelmed – Join Us for the Least Overwhelming Study Ever

Get Out from Overwhelmed – Join Us for the Least Overwhelming Study Ever

It could be just one more thing to pack into an already overwhelming summer.
“A Bible study? Whose got time for that?”

Welcome to the least overwhelming Bible study you will ever do.

No travel required – you are part of this study from the comfort of your own home (or on the beach, or locked in a car for eight hours going to grandma’s…)

No child care – you can do this study while the kids are asleep (or while they are hanging off you on the couch…)

No extra study guide to purchase – you just need the book.

No snacks to bring – you can just have a stash of your own favorite snacks at home to bust out when the kids are actually in bed.

Sound good? Here are the details:

Women’s Bible Cafe has chosen Overwhelmed as their summer Bible study! We’ll start the study the week of June 19th and finish the week of August 21, 2017. r

My very favorite partner in crime, Cheri Gregory, and I will be working together to bring you fresh insights and great tools to get you to a place of peach this summer. I can’t wait.

What do you need to do? Just two steps:

  1. Order Overwhelmed
  2. Sign up to join the Women’s Bible Cafe

It’s that easy.

Really.

Didn’t I say “least Overwhelming Bible study ever?”

Who is Setting Your Priorities?

Who is Setting Your Priorities?

Have you ever been frozen in indecision, wondering what to do next?

Me too. There are so many demand on us, it becomes harder and harder to stay true to our priorities. Sometimes it’s even hard to identify our priorities.

Maybe you ask yourself, what does God really want me to do? Especially when there are so many important needs out there.

If you can relate to that question, you’re not alone. There’s been a shift in society that’s silently affecting our ability to identify what’s most important. As I’ve traced this issue back a few years, the confusion seems to have started with email and accelerated with our cell phones.

Let me back up, and try to explain.

The growing competition on our priorities

Growing up, my family had a house phone. Just one. And it was connected to the wall with a cord. There was no call-waiting beep or answering machine. And of course, no email or texting. So if you wanted to reach me, you kept calling until you got through. Or maybe head to my house and actually knock on my door. Quite frustrating when “someone” spent hours talking to a friend!

Basically, the burden to communicate was on the person with the message to share.

Today the responsibility to communicate has shifted. No longer is it your burden to reach me; all you do is type-type-type a message, hit send and all the responsibility floats through cyberspace and lands firmly on me.

Multiply this by every which way people can reach me, and before I even wake up, I’m behind.

Starting out behind

This shift has silently affected all of us. A typical day starts with checking some sort of communication device to see who might have emailed, posted or texted. Then, before we begin to handle what’s most important to us, our day begins by responding to what’s most important to others.

Without a concerted effort to stop this pull, we are drawn into the day’s rushing current like a tiny raft on a whitewater river. And rather than being proactive, our days are spent in reactive mode.

Sound familiar? If so, you’ve probably also experienced the too-long to-do list that comes with it. After we’ve given the best of our time and energy to others, there’s little left to address God’s priorities for us. Consequently we put-off, delay and procrastinate our priorities.

After years of shortchanging myself and my family, and often dishonoring God, I realized I had things upside down! Things that mattered least replaced things that mattered most in my schedule. And work that would make the greatest impact on my life often fell to the bottom of my lists, then transferred to the next list until I either completed it with a fraction of my ability or abandoned it entirely.

Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to figure out our best work. It sounds so easy to say, “Identify your priorities, and do those first.” However, when we face multiple demands we can often feel helpless. And helplessness can lead us to escape, avoid or try and numb.

Pressing pause and reevaluating priorities

When those feelings start to overtake me and I don’t know what to do, rather than make a self-defeating choice, it’s time to press pause. Sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing … except seek direction and wisdom from the One who knows what our best is.

Given the chance, others will set our priorities for us. Yet God specifically has a calling for each of us that will only come from Him. To discern this, we need wisdom. Without God’s wisdom, we make decisions on facts and feelings. And the fact that I have 100 emails to answer and feel overwhelmed does not mean it’s wise to do so now.

To find wisdom, I need to silence the demands of many, to hear the commands of One.

God is faithful, and His Word promises we can receive wisdom. In fact, it’s a gift from God.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)

As my life becomes more interconnected with others, my priorities are harder to identify. There will always be new demands rising to the tops of my to-do list, giving me reasons to delay tackling my own priorities.

There is hope. When we take our tiny raft out of the raging river, and sit on the banks with our Heavenly Father, He will give us wisdom for what to do next. Sometimes it’s answering an email, but it might be something else He has planned for today.


Glynnis Whitwer is a wife, mother of five young adults and executive director of communications for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her latest book, Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day, is available through Proverbs 31 Ministries or wherever books are sold. Her next book releases July 4, 2017, and is called Doing Busy Better. Pre-order here. You can connect with Glynnis on her website: GlynnisWhitwer.com.

Cultivating Peace: Enjoy the Milestone Events and Don’t Let Stress Rob the Joy

Cultivating Peace: Enjoy the Milestone Events and Don’t Let Stress Rob the Joy

My first child’s high school graduation brought up a whole new set of fears and stress in me. Have I done enough to prepare her for adulthood? Will she make wise choices as she steps out from under our roof and into a world full of options?  Will she be able to hold onto her faith in college—at a time when many young people discard theirs?

Her graduation felt like a defining moment in my parenting. I knew I’d done all I could to train her well, to prepare her for success. But now, facing what felt like a Parenting 101 Final Exam, the stakes were high. I didn’t want to fail. I certainly didn’t want my precious daughter to fail.

This tension bubbled up in the days leading to her graduation. Of course, she was dealing with her own emotions surrounding this milestone event and pulling away from me, busy preparing for adventures to come. I was grieving the upcoming loss of her daily presence, knowing before long she would move from our house and pursue her education.

The entire month before graduation was crammed with activity. Prom, sports banquets, end-of-the-year awards, ceremony rehearsals, all mixed into a swirling vortex of angst. So many events, so many decisions.

As graduation neared, our relationship, normally characterized by mutual love, respect, and lots of laughter, became contentious. This culminated in an angry verbal exchange as we walked through the campus parking lot on our way into her Baccalaureate ceremony. I can’t remember what precipitated the argument, but I remember how I felt. Off-balance. Overwhelmed. Defeated.

I had let stress and fear steal my joy.

Have you ever experienced relational stress leading up to a milestone event? Have you allowed that stress to ruin the event for you? For your child?

Heightened emotions come with any life-changing event, but we don’t have to let them rob us of the joy of the occasion, whether it’s a move, graduation, wedding, or some other major event. We can have fun and create precious memories without regret.

When approaching a big event in your child’s life, you don’t have to get caught up in the swirling emotional vortex. You can cultivate peace through journaling or talking with a trusted friend. Speak with a life coach, counselor, pastor or mentor. Talking through fears and concerns with a mom who’s walked the path before you might mean the difference between white-knuckling it through the milestone and really enjoying it.

One of the most important things we can do to maintain our equilibrium during these emotional times is to get alone with God and pour out our hearts to Him.

Jesus demonstrated the importance of getting alone with the Father before ministry. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). As we prepare to minister to our children during their “big day” we can follow Jesus’ example.

Last year my son graduated and this year my youngest daughter will graduate. I’ve learned a lot going through this letting-go process. I’ve learned to be intentional about processing my emotions. I’ve learned to carve out time in the busyness to be alone in the healing presence of my Father.

Are you facing a milestone event?

If so, how will you cultivate peace and plan for fun as you prepare for the event?

 


Elizabeth M. Thompson is a writer and speaker who loves helping women develop meaningful spiritual lives. She and her husband have three children and will soon be empty-nesters. They live, bike, kayak, and hike along the American River near Sacramento, CA. Prayer is her passion. For a free download of “Jumpstart Your Stalled Prayer Life” go to her website: www.ElizabethMThompson.com.

Spring Fling #10: It’s Time to Get the Garage in Order

Spring Fling #10: It’s Time to Get the Garage in Order

garage

Day 10 and it’s time to get out of the house … and declutter the garage.

For years, my garage has been the dumping ground for everything. My business, my kids’ stuff, tools, craft projects, out of season clothes, out of season decorations, mid-project projects, suitcases, gardening supplies, games, puzzles, and the bike that never, ever gets ridden.

It Gets Better in your Garage

I’ll be honest with you: my garage is still a huge work in progress. The good news? There IS progress. When I went to go work on my 20 items today, I knew the corner I had to tackle: the “Camping Corner.”

garage

Roger and I love to go day camping, so we keep a lot of supplies. But this corner has been overrun by one too many “dump and runs.” There were out of season clothes, decorations (apparently, I’m obsessed with giant fall pumpkins), wrapping paper, books, and the results of too many Costco runs. We’re good on toilet paper for the rest of our lives.

So, I gave myself an afternoon to go through the corner, get my 20 items, and make sense of all of the stuff.

I was done in 30 minutes.

Why did it take so little time? Because after all my flings in the past, there really wasn’t that much to declutter—it just needed to be put away properly.

I know that as a clutterer, I tend to be overwhelmed by projects and think they’re going to take more time than they actually do. Starting off with only 15 minutes is going to help you break things down and get them into doable chunks. You can do this!

Instructions

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Pick one area to work on. One shelf. One corner. Don’t get overwhelmed. Start sorting and revel in the space that you are reclaiming!
– Set a timer and go for it. 15 minutes usually can do it, but if you need to put another 15 minutes on the timer, go for it.

Bonus

Some bonus things you can do in the basement or garage:

  1. Label storage areas. Make a big sign so everyone in the family knows where things go.
  2. Boy, can my garage get dusty. If there are items you care about, dust them or store them in a storage box.
  3. Speaking of storage boxes, can you get rid of a few now that you’ve flung so much stuff?

garage

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #9: Tackle the Extra Room That’s Driving You Crazy

Spring Fling Day #9: Tackle the Extra Room That’s Driving You Crazy

extra room

Day 9 and it’s time to earn some bonus points … by dealing with that extra room.

Got a kids’ room, linen closet, or a space under the stairs filled with clutter? If so, today is the day to tackle the room that’s making you crazy and get 20 things out of there, stat!

It Gets Better in the Extra Room

Oh, this can be so overwhelming. Even those tiny spaces, like the coat closet, can have you slamming the door and praying all the things will magically go away.

And if you are decluttering a child’s room? Well, may God have mercy on your soul.

But I promise you, peace is possible, and the only way you are going to get there is by digging in.

Instructions

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Pick one area to work on. One shelf. One corner. Don’t get overwhelmed.
– Start sorting and revel in the space you’re reclaiming!

Set a timer and go for it. 10 minutes usually can do it, but if you need to put another 10 minutes on the timer to fling your 20 things, by all means.

Bonus

Some bonus things you can do in that extra space:

  1. Label storage areas. Make it look like the aisles of Target where everyone knows where everything goes.
  2. Do an inventory. Do you need new Band-Aids in the linen closet? Or vacuum cleaner bags? A fresh supply of allergy meds in the medicine cabinet? Make a list so you can get it next time you’re at the store.
  3. Would bins be helpful in this space? The Dollar Store has some great bins and baskets for only $1, but make sure they work for your space. (Otherwise, those too become clutter.)

extra room

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #8: It’s Time to Reclaim Your Bedroom

Spring Fling Day #8: It’s Time to Reclaim Your Bedroom

Day 8 of the Spring Fling and it’s time to get some rest and reclaim your bedroom!

Is your bedroom where all your “stuff” goes to hide? Is this the place where the stash and dash gets “stashed”? If so, it’s time to reclaim your bedroom so you can relax.

I KNOW that I sleep better in a room free from clutter. I’m not distracted by all the things that need to be put away and dealt with. (And bonus! I have a lot smaller chance of tripping and dying if I need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.)

 It Gets Better: Reclaim your Bedroom

It does get better, the more you work on it. And you deserve better in your bedroom. You deserve a place to rest and restore without having to look at bags of Goodwill donations every single morning.

reclaim your bedroom

Make this room a priority. I want you to have a retreat — a place where you can close off the door and just be, in peace.

Instructions

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Make your bed so you have a clear space to work off.
– Set a timer for 10 minutes and FLING!

Anything that doesn’t belong in the bedroom, get it out of the bedroom. Don’t use your closet to store your kid’s hockey equipment. I want what’s in there to bring you peace. If you don’t use it, don’t love it, and wouldn’t buy it again, get it out of there!

Bonus

Bring some life into your bedroom.

We share a fence with a neighbor. About once a month, we have to cut back their hedges on our property. This has always been a source of frustration. (We have a hard time gardening for ourselves, much less our neighbors.) But now, I’m turning that frustration into an opportunity. I’m taking the blooms from those hedges and filling up mason jars around my house. Having fresh flowers in my room gives me a sense of peace.

Can you bring something new into your room? A new pillow, a picture frame, fresh flowers?

If you are really going great guns, I would suggest cleaning out your nightstand as well and stocking it with essentials: cough drops, Tylenol, lavender oil, a reading light and a good book.

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #7: Create a Clutter-Free Living Room

Spring Fling Day #7: Create a Clutter-Free Living Room

The living is easy …

Okay, depending on what you use your living room for, maybe the living isn’t all that easy. And whatever you call it (living room, family room, den), it can be a clutter trap. In many houses, the living room sees the worst of every family member’s clutter habits. It can become the dumping ground for All. The. Things.

And if you are the Clutter Monitor, it’s often a full-time job keeping the living room clean.

It Gets Better in the Living Room

I know you want a room you’re not embarrassed to host unexpected guests. And a place where you can relax at the end of the day without feeling all jittery from clutter surrounding you.

living room

We now have that kind of living room. When it came to finding my 20 things, I was frustrated because it was so hard. But then it dawned on me: my years of decluttering are paying off. I can be thrilled with the progress I’ve made.

So for all of you who have had a hard time finding your “things”? Celebrate – it’s working!

Instructions:

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Pick one area to work on. Maybe the TV console or the coffee table. Just pick one area, and if you run out of things to fling there, you can move on.
– Set a timer and go for it. 10 minutes usually can do it, but if you need to put another 10 minutes on the timer, by all means!

Bonus:

Maybe there are other rooms that fall under the “living” category. Your dining room, a den, your family room? Get 20 things out of that room if you have a little extra time and a little extra motivation.

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #6: Organize the Laundry Room

Spring Fling Day #6: Organize the Laundry Room

organize the laundry room

Day six of the Spring Fling and it’s time to come clean … and organize the laundry room.

It is my pit of shame. Oh friends. I can’t even believe I am showing you the before picture…

laundry room

It Gets Better in the Laundry Room

Yes, my laundry area gets CRAZY, but the good news is that I know it will not be an all day project to get it back to functional. This is a picture of what my laundry area looks like after 30 minutes.

laundry room

When you know it will only take 30 minutes to get back to functioning, it’s easier to not put it off for months on end.

Instructions:

  • Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
  • Clear off one surface at a time – first the washer, then the dryer so you have a clear space to work off.
  • Condense boxes. Have a place for single socks (we all have them).

Don’t let outgrown/old/nobody wants them clothes linger in the laundry area. This is valuable real estate friend. Make it as functional as possible.

Bonus:

Once you clear the space, put something inspirational up there. I’m going to print off a sign with this quote by Fred Rogers:

I believe that appreciation is a holy thing – that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.”

I mean, won’t that make cleaning socks for those we love a holy act of service?

laundry room

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #5: Organize the Office Area (Or Craft Room)

Spring Fling Day #5: Organize the Office Area (Or Craft Room)

organize the office

Day five of the Spring Fling and it’s time to get crafty … and organize the office area (or your craft room).

Oh, you crafters. I appreciate your talents and gifts deeply. But your natural desire to stash and hoard has made it so you can barely pull out a project and enjoy your creativity.

And those of us with offices. How is it that we can crush the business world by day, but fear a giant pile of papers crashing down on us at night?

It’s time for both groups to reclaim our creative space!

It Gets Better: Organize the Office or Craft Area

While my office is not what I want it to be, I can function in there (and that’s a lot more than I could say ten years ago).

organize the office

My mom, who is an amazing quilter, has taken her decluttering to a new level. She refuses to start a new project until she has completed five she already has. I’m so proud of her and the steps she’s taking to become Clutter Free.

Instructions:                                                                                                               

  • Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
  • Start with one area at a time.

For offices and craft rooms, the questions are: “Will I use this?” and “If I want this, where would I look for it?”

Bonus:

Want to stay Clutter Free when it comes to projects? Commit to finishing five current projects before starting anything new.

organize the office

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #4: Clear Books (And Other Media)

Spring Fling Day #4: Clear Books (And Other Media)

clear books

Day four of the Spring Fling and it’s time to hit the books …

Of all the things that people have a hard time getting rid of, I think books are at the top of the list.

As an author, that feels like a very good thing.

But as a woman who is working to make the world a Clutter-Free place, I need to stop being selfish, worrying about my residual checks, and challenge you to release some of those books back into the wild.

It Gets Easier to Clear Books

I have reduced the books in our house from twelve bookcases to three. Yes, in some cases it did feel like a crime. Books are wonderful and awesome—if someone is reading them. But just having books for the sake of owning them doesn’t improve your life or the lives of people who could be reading them.

I have a list of books that I will just keep. Books that I reread on a regular basis, reference books, my favorite writing books, a few cookbooks, and different Bibles. Some of the books I plan on keeping for the rest of my life (or until I change my mind…)

  • Celebration of Discipline
  • The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio
  • Wesley the Owl
  • The Good Good Pig
  • Entreleadership
  • Getting Things Done
  • On Writing
  • Born Standing Up
  • Yes Please
  • America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
  • The Betty Crocker Cookbook
  • Bird by Bird
  • More with Less
  • Several books my friends have written (which I will not list here because I don’t want to leave anyone out)

clear books

Instructions:

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Start with one bookshelf.
– Do NOT pull all the books out at one time (in some homes, this could be dangerous).

Do you love it? Will you read it again? If you haven’t read it, and want to, create a shelf for “To be read” books and put them in the order you want to read them.

Bonus:

Want to stay Clutter Free when it comes to books and media? Commit to reading what you have before buying new. My challenge is to read three books I currently own before buying a new one.

clear books

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So, share below and tell us about your fling.