Back to Basics: A Simple Prayer for Strength

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on developing a flexible routine that tries to accomplish both routine household maintenance (including administrative tasks) and the necessary self care chronic illness requires. I have made more progress than I have in previous years–where I set my sights way too high and then crashed and burned–but I’ve been struggling with my old foe perfectionism and what I “should” be able to get done. Thankfully my therapist provided a much-needed perspective last week by reminding me that my overachieving personality was creeping back in as I was feeling better and so when I had some not-feeling-so-well days I was being too harsh with myself.

As a result, over the past several days I was able to be both more flexible on a daily basis and yet more productive 0ver the course of the weekend and beginning of this week. Of course I also asked for help when needed! I now am giving myself credit for what gets done and am not beating myself up for all that remains to be done, especially as I remained physically and mentally stable through a family member’s out of town birthday celebration.

Now as this week gets underway I’m rereading the chapters on simplifying one’s weekly and daily schedules in Marcia Ramsland’s book from which I’ve been sharing these Back to Basic posts’ prayers. As she points out, we need to organize our time both horizontally (“looking forward to the week and the month ahead to pace your schedule and energy accordingly”) and vertically (“accomplishing the day’s tasks in a time sequence from morning until night”). Marcia also says, “The key to successful time management is evaluating your time from both angles. When you plan horizontally and vertically, you control your schedule, rather than allowing life’s events to control you. Being proactive rather than reactive is a wonderful way to live.” I can personally attest to the truth of this statement from a lack of doing this for decades! She also advises “only plan up to 70% of your time with a 30% time cushion for the unexpected.”

Finally, whether or now we have less energy due to chronic illness we all need down time, transition time, and unscheduled time to handle the fact that Life is what happens to us while we’re making other plans” (Allen Saunders, Reader’s Digest 1957 but also slightly modified in John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy”). 

Here’s the corresponding prayer for this topic:

“Dear God,

You know my life, and You know how much I can handle in a day. Please help me to organize my time so I can accomplish all that is in front of me. Gently remind me in stressful times to quiet my heart with a quick prayer so I can draw upon Your great strength to help me. Amen.”

Marcia Ramsland, Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay That Way!



Thoughtful Thursday: Be at Peace

“The work that Mother Teresa could not get to she did not think twice about, nor should you or I, since God is not asking you to do what He does not give you the time (or health, or resources) to do. So be at peace.”

Fr. Joseph Langford

This comes as a great comfort when I juggle so many deferred tasks due to health, bad habits, and unforeseen circumstances and approach the Big 5-0 with excitement but also a sense of disappointment and frustration, like I have let God down. But then I remember that I often have an unrealistic idea of my limits and therefore my goals and He doesn’t. My wonderful husband also helps me with this when I fall into comparing myself to others. He provides a reality check while encouraging me to follow through with what is realistic and reconsider if I’m pushing myself, as he and I know I’ll inevitably crash and make my health problems worse.

So I take great comfort in the above words and I hope you will too!

Another Newman Quote of the Day

Another classic worth posting here.

Aquinas, Etc.

My first elementary lesson of duty is that of resignation to the laws of my nature, whatever they are; my first disobedience is to be impatient at what I am, and to indulge an ambitious aspiration after what I cannot be, to cherish a distrust of my powers, and to desire to change laws which are identical with myself. (Grammar of Assent, p. 347)

It’s hard to know where to begin in commenting upon this brief passage. It is just packed.

What is resignation to the laws of my nature? I think a good illustration would be to think of the madman who is convinced he has wings and tosses himself off a ledge with a false certainty that his powers of flight will deliver him from an inevitable sudden stop at the bottom of the cliff. So resignation to the laws of my nature would be…

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