Five things: in practice

One of the things Kendra noted regarding her own list of five things really struck a chord with me. In Part 2 of her series, she writes: "...what was most important for me at the time was the ability to dismiss all of the things that don’t fall under those categories."

My list of five things was very timely. A couple days after I had made my own list, we went to small group. [A little bit of information, here: Our small group is made up of several families, and we all take turns in hosting, leading, bringing snacks and supervising the children each week.]

A sign up sheet made its way around the room on this particular evening, and I had the following thoughts:

-We haven't been doing any hosting/leading/snacks/supervising kids since Audra has been born.
-Everyone else (specifically, two families) have been shouldering most of the load.
-I should try to fill up a bunch of these open slots.

The sign up sheet covered the next five weeks. I promptly signed us up to host, twice. Lead, once. Bring snacks, twice. Supervise the kids, once.

I didn't think another thing of it until the following morning, when I was filling in all those new responsibilities on our calendar and burst into tears as I did so. All of a sudden I felt completely overwhelmed with all I'd taken on to do, and sort of went into panic mode.

By the time Mark came home for lunch that day, I was slightly hysterical.

Tearfully, I launched into: "Seriously: what on earth was I thinking? I can't do all of that. I can barely do the very basics at this season in our lives- and, quite frankly, I don't think I'm doing it well- let alone signing up for extra! I can hardly manage to get dinner on the table each night, let alone get dinner on the table AND clean the entire house for company AND make dessert!

...I need you to be my advocate/gatekeeper/buffer
[insert appropriate word, here. I'm sure I used them all] and say a resounding "no" when I do things like this... because you're logical and make carefully-thought-out decisions and I'm just, not. And don't."

More crying.

At a bewildered, but patiently listening Mark. [Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure he had the slightest idea what I was even talking about at this point.]

I finally finished with an emphatic: "And NONE of these things are even ON my list-of-five-things! These things aren't even remotely my priorities right now!"

What I know about myself is this: I'm a pleaser. I like to say yes when people ask if I can do something- especially service-oriented things. I may regret it and/or grumble about it later, but in that moment of asking, I say yes. I'm also a very can-do type person. I can do that! Sure, I can fit that in! No problem. And yet, sometimes even if something can be squeezed in, it shouldn't be, for the sake of my sanity and overall peace in our home.

I also know that this is a difficult season in our lives, with our two youngest (heck, they're all young, every one of them!) in addition to one of our boys who has some challenging special needs. There will be times in our lives where these types of "extras" won't throw me into a weepy mess, I know that. But that time is not yet here.

So. Mark, being the wonderful husband that he is, called our small group leader-person the very next day and informed him that "all those slots Stacy filled in? Erase our names." [He gave a little more explanation than that, but he got the job done.]

Then when we showed up at small group the following week, Mark shared that we had signed up, but have since taken our names off the list (Except for a snack spot. Because we can buy something at the store and that's do-able). He said that we felt bad about it because we knew it created more work for everyone else, and we also knew that they had all already been shouldering the load for awhile, and while we *want* to, it is simply not the best season for us to be taking on more. (To which everyone nodded vigorously, because it's quite apparent to everyone who spends any amount of time with us that we have our hands full. :)) He asked that they would be patient with us, and carry more of the load now and we will be able to carry more sometime in the future. (And because they are our friends and love us, they were completely understanding and said of course that was fine.)

All that to say that I was thankful that I had made my list a few days before. [Yes, I'm a little slow on the uptake and should have maybe considered my list of priorities BEFORE signing up, but I'm learning.]

Now if I can just stay away from any and all sign-up sheets.


  1. Your heart was in the right place, and that is what was important. You will get there. ;-)

  2. Hooray for wise husbands! Erik is really good about this too, and slowly, I'm learning to trust him when he says that something will be too much.

  3. Wish I would have been there to nodd vigerously. Good job for listening the the Holy Spirit speak through your calendar, tears and your husband. Good job.

  4. I can sooo relate to this post, Stacy! I am a see-a-need-and-fill-it kinda girl too. And Tim has had to pull me back a lot lately. He even went to the church secretary and asked her to erase my name from some lists too. It was pretty humbling and I have been really thinking through my priorities a lot more BEFORE taking on new things lately. It is hard to hold yourself back when your nature is to serve.

  5. I can really relate to this too. I tend to sign up for too many things and then feel really overwhelmed about it later, even though I really want to help.

  6. I have been right there sweet one and I was the same way. I never said no. Never could..

    Now that mykids are grown, I have the time and energy to do those kind of things and really enjoy it. I know that you younger women with small ones have your hands FULL!. Enjoy and your day will come.

    You are a blessing,

  7. I love your heart and your husbands too.

    Love your babies are doing a fine job.

    Just ran through all the posts I missed...glad your mom is doing better. That must have been scary, as I know you are very close.

    mama to 7
    one homemade and 6 adopted

  8. You go, girl.
    There might even be a season where you don't go to small group! :)

    I have always been a girl who signs up TOO much for EVERYTHING. Because I know there is a need, I know I need to serve, I know I have the gifts or abilities or resources. And I want to be obedient to what God wants me to do; serve others and demonstrate love... It took my health going out on me to see that the world doesn't stop spinning if I don't do it all.

    But of course right now I'm thinking that if I can make it to mid-May, maybe then I can start feeding my family again. :) Too many "YES! SURE! ME"s this spring. :)

    Good for you, good for your wise husband, good for your understanding friends.

  9. Teri,
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    You can say that again. (Hooray for wise husbands!)

    I would love it if you had been there. :) We really miss you guys!

    Yes. It's tough. Sometimes there's so much pressure to DO things, too- outside the home. I'm learning (slowly) to pull back.

    And good for Tim to have your name erased from the lists at church! Woo hoo!

    Missing your blog, girl. :)

    Thanks for your encouragement, Beth!
    I love it that you said that: that we have our hands full and will have much more time and energy for these types of things... later. :)

    Thank you, sweet friend!
    And yes, mom is doing better- trying to eat and gain her strength.

    Yeah. We've considered it. (Not going to small group!)

    And just think: you're a few days into your crazy month-of-May already!

    (((love you!)))

    Thank you for commenting, all!


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