Monday, March 28, 2016

Lenten Lesson: Rearranging Priorities

At the end of this Lenten season I came to one huge, defining moment in my life: after being constantly plugged into the online world since I was 16 years old, I have come to realize that I don't like being plugged in. Not only that, I love living life away from it because I've come to realize what's important to me. I do still need the internet -- for schooling and to keep up with friends who find it easier to email -- but I'm so much happier and less stressed without it. I know I've already written a lot on this (unplugging) so I'm just going to move on onto other big changes.

I'm well known for procrastinating when I don't like doing something. This is one of the biggest changes I made during Lent. If it feels like a tedious chore or if I'm tired and lazy, I'm going to put off on doing it until I "feel like it." I have to be "in the mood" to do something or else it's not getting done. I think this is my version of rebellion since I didn't rebel against my parents as a child or a teenager. I kept doing it until I remember that St. Therese did little things even though she didn't have to or want to do them. She offered up these little acts for others. Inspired by this, I started doing the same.

Okay, I'll admit that I was also inspired by this audiobook I listened to a few weeks ago called At Home with Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott. Between St. Therese and the books (yes, plural) by Mrs. Scott, I realized what I needed changes and what I was okay with. Procrastinating and not doing things until I "felt like it" will more often than not result in anxiety or even a panic attack, especially if time is a factor. Not doing things because I "don't feel like it" is no longer an option for me. I do things because they need to be done. No excuses, unless I'm sick and incapable of doing them. Even then, I try to do something while sitting down, even if it's time in prayer. If something feels like a burden, I offer it up for souls in purgatory or for anyone whose prayer intention I remember in that moment but I do it anyway.

I'll be honest, the majority of what I worked on were things that as a single lady works but as a future wife and mother wouldn't. I didn't start Lent wanting to change a lot of things that revolved around my vocation (big V) but that's how it ended up. God would show me things about myself that I didn't like and knew I needed to change and it would automatically be connected to my future vocation. I didn't sit and think about it; the connections would automatically pop up in my mind. When I have a husband and children to look after, I can't not do something just because I don't feel like it. I'm going to have to do them whether I like it or not. My priorities will be taking care of my family and helping them in any way that I can so it can't be about my own selfish wants and needs.

I learned that I loved doing housework. Correction: I learned that I wouldn't mind being "stuck" in the house with a family if we could afford it and/or was necessary. I wouldn't mind being a working mother either (I've sort of expected this because that's all I knew growing up; my mom's always been a working mother) but I always worried that I would get bored being a housewife. Silly but there you have it. I found a real joy in cleaning. Washing dishes, vacuuming, cooking, baking -- I love the domestic life. The former "feminist"/"independent woman" side of me is officially dead. My former Sociology/Women's Studies professor would undoubtedly cringe and mourn the death of my former self if she ever found out. lol.

Another huge change was my prayer life. I tend to get bored doing the same routine (as the same time) every day so I switched it up. I added the Litany of Humility and the Chaplet of St. Michael to my usual routine of daily consecration to the Virgin Mary, daily Rosary, and daily morning, evening, and nighttime prayers from the Little Office. While it may seem overwhelming (and it can feel that way if I have to do most of it at night after a busy day), it's not. My time in prayer adds up to maybe an hour every day. God gives me so much more so why can't I take an hour (albeit broken up throughout the day) to pray and just reconnect with Him every day? I pray the Rosary at different times of the day so I don't get bored with the routine. Not that prayer is boring -- it certainly isn't -- but my mind wanders so easily when I have a lot going on. I need those random breaks to refocus on God (and I'll write more about this in another post.)

My faith is important to me. My mother is important to me. My future husband and children are already important to me and this is something I don't even have to worry about right now. Keeping my house (well, apartment) clean, having dishes washed, every person in the house rested and fed, doing things that need to be done first and relaxing/having time for myself second have all become important to me. All the changes and the rearrangement in priorities were much needed. Instead of wasting time online and then rushing to get everything else done at the last minute, I have a more fulfilling life offline doing what I like (or, sometimes, don't like) for those who are most important to me.

It may not seem like some huge, life altering change but it is to me. I'm the kind of person who likes routine and feeling comfortable doing her own thing. At the same time, I've been very selfish with my time. I've learned that I can't always do that. I can't be selfish all the time but I also don't feel guilty watching something on Netflix once everything is done and taken care of. If I can spare an hour or two to watch a movie or a TV series I like, I will. Balance and moderation (as I wrote in the last post) goes hand-in-hand with where my priorities are now. Self-care is important, too, y'all. ;)

I start the Spring quarter in exactly one week from today so it'll be interesting to see how I rearrange other things to fit this new start into my life. I know that my schoolwork will be a priority over watching another Monarch of the Glen episode for the millionth time but I'll also have to remind myself to balance that with my home life (i.e. keeping the household clean) and self-care. I'm going to try my best to not make schoolwork my priority over eating and sleeping again. No, don't want to fall down that rabbit hole again.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'm going to watch another episode of my guilty pleasure show (which is only 24 minutes long) before I get back to do some self-care. I've ran errands, bought groceries, and cleaned the house, so I can watch another 24-minute episode (my second one, thankyouverymuch) before I do something else. ;)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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