I’m in a strange season of life right now. Four months ago we welcomed a little boy into the world and into our family. We also have a two year old toddling all around the house. Oh, and I noticed I have a few gray hairs popping up. I think that’s completely unrelated, though.
Two kids under two equals a life of clutter. My house looks disheveled. I look disheveled. The only one who seems to be wearing clean clothes is the baby – frequent spit ups mean he gets a fresh set of clothes every few hours. And, my toddler has a “fun” little game where he takes a random item (remote control, phone, etc.) and hides it somewhere special around the house. So, if I’ve lost my keys, retracing my steps is not nearly as helpful as trying to retrace his steps.
As a result, it often feels impossible to declutter in this chaotic season of life. Every time my wife and I feel like we clean, organize, or accomplish something, it feels like the needle barely moved. Or, even worse, other stuff unraveled.
Navigating Chaotic Seasons
We will all encounter chaotic times where clutter is unavoidable. Are you in one of those seasons right now? Whether it’s a joyous occasion like a baby arriving or a painful season with a loss of a relationship or a job, life can throw us for a loop.
Sometimes during these strange seasons, we try to keep living as if everything is normal. If we’re not careful, this can be overwhelming at best and paralyzing at worst.
Different seasons require distinct rhythms and expectations. Try sledding in the summer. Or, trying tanning in the winter – your skin will change color, but it won’t be golden brown.
Leading ourselves well means we recognize what season we are in and adjust accordingly. And so, if you’re in a chaotic season, sometimes the goal simply needs to be survival. We need to focus on a few things that keep us healthy.
Different seasons require distinct rhythms and expectations.Tweet
Andy Stanley once said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” This is especially true when it comes to our goals and our life during chaotic seasons.
We may wish we could accomplish all of our goals, connect with all of our friends, or organize everything in our house. But, in certain seasons, this can wind up being overwhelming. And, with a toddler in the house, sometimes it can just plain be counterproductive.
Understanding the One Thing Mindset
So, if you are in a chaotic season right now, take a deep breath. Life is crazy – you didn’t choose for it to be this way and you would change it if you could. But, for the moment, things are spinning. Which means, the best thing you can do is focus. Don’t think about all the things that require attention – think with a “one thing” mindset.
One Day at a Time
Most of the time it’s good to have yearly goals. But, during chaotic seasons, it can feel overwhelming. So, don’t think about next year, next month, or even next week. Think today. What does healthy living look like for me today?
One Space at a Time
When it rains, it pours, especially when it comes to clutter. Chaos in our relationships tends to translate to chaos in our house. Clutter at work typically leads to a mess in our cars. Chaos is contagious.
If you’re like me, nothing is more discouraging than going from one area of chaos to another. It’s overwhelming. Most of the time I just want to throw my hands up in the air and not do anything at all. Or move.
When this happens, focus is our friend. We probably can’t de-clutter everything in a chaotic season. But, we can get traction in one area. The whole house or apartment might not be clean – but I can do the kitchen, or I can tackle the workspace.
One Person at a Time
Sometimes when life gets crazy, we isolate ourselves. It can feel overwhelming to connect or re-connect with a bunch of people. But, in the process, we wind up removing ourselves from everyone – which is dangerous because chaotic seasons are where we most need someone to love and support us.
While connecting with everyone during these times is probably not realistic, is there one person who you need to reach out to? Who is one person you can keep up-to-date with the ups and downs you’re going through? What one person is most rejuvenating to you? Don’t give up on connecting with him or her.
I will admit my life is a bit out of whack right now. And that’s okay – it’s only for a season. One day soon I hope to get back to thinking through big goals, making long-term plans and establishing multiple rhythms to help me grow. But for now, I need to focus… and breath… and keep moving, one foot forward at a time. If you’re in the same boat, let’s make a deal – we can’t do everything, but let’s do one thing to stay healthy.