Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘business’

Principles for freeing your life from worry

Recently, I’ve been battling with a very specific issue of faith. As I grappled, I was tempted to feel alone: as if this struggle was unique to me and my situation, and I was the very first person ever to have felt the things I felt.

Don’t we all get there, sometimes? We feel so alone in the midst of our struggles that we forget one of the greatest truths we possess: we’re never alone. Hebrews 4:15 tells us so beautifully how Jesus faced the same trials we do, yet never sinned. We can turn to Him for the strength we need.

Our business has been going through a rough patch these past few months. I don’t think it’s serious or long-term, but it’s stressful to be in the middle of, and we don’t really have the resources to weather it. Whenever challenges strike, I immediately become introspective. Through a combination of prayer, self-analysis and endless speculation with those closest to me (poor things!), I try to dissect the actions and decisions I’ve made to arrive at the tenuous position in which I find myself. (It’s a little exhausting).

As I search for answers, I inevitable turn to God’s Word to shed some light on the situation. I was baffled and confused when I read in Proverbs about the necessity of “look[ing] well to [one’s] herds” and “prepar[ing] the horse against the day of battle” – all verses which underscore the necessity of making plans, being involved, taking an active role in the health of one’s finances – and verses that speak about not worrying about what you’ll eat for tomorrow, since today has worries enough.

Peter teaches us to cast all our worries on His mighty shoulders, because He cares deeply and specifically for our well-being. How could we leave everything in God’s hands AND be prepared for the winter, so to speak? In fact, the next verse in Peter gives us a clue: be sober and vigilant.

In other words: be awake, in your right mind, keeping watch.

Be free from worryBe prepared.

And then it struck me (finally – I’m a little slow ;)): what better way to be free from care than to be prepared? And what better way to be prepared than to turn to the User Guide for Better Living for the guidance we need?

Proverbs teaches us the value of being ready for whatever is likely to befall. Obviously there are scenarios we cannot predict, and these we leave to God. But the passages that teach us not to worry or be anxious are not teaching us to abdicate our responsibilities, just as the passages that teach us to be prepared and diligent are not advocating self-reliance. A full surrender to God doesn’t mean we do nothing. It means we do everything we can – as best we can. We just do everything His way, in His strength. And what better Way is there, after all?

When people say, “let go and let God”, it’s misleading. It’s not saying enough. We do need to let go: of fear and anxiety and doubt. We do need to let God: we need to let Him show the way. Then we need to go the way; do what He says. It’s not a state of relaxed idleness, trusting in His provision while we do nothing at all. It’s a state of watchful faithfulness, trusting in His provision through the strength and skill He has given us by His grace.

In other words: it’s being prepared. It’s being ready for use, just like a clean dish and a tidy house. Let’s make ourselves useful, and trust Him to use us for His perfect will.

The ebb and flow of peace

We live in a cottage (not in a wood, unfortunately). It’s quaint. I think that’s the best way to describe it. Apart from a suffusion of yellow, it’s fairly featureless. However, it meets our needs (close to amenities and affordable), and it’s home. For now.

When we moved here, we were in the middle of an economic crisis. Our kids were in school all day. We spent all day in an office. All we needed a house for was a place to cook meals once in a while, and a place to sleep.

Then things changed.

“School” became the dining room table. “The Office” became our bedroom. Our bedroom moved into the en suite bathroom space, and our lives became compressed. As our business has grown, we’ve taken on staff, as one does. First we had a flexible and understanding lady two days a week. Then three. Finally, five. Then another lady – also flexible and understanding. Also two days a week, then three … Pretty soon she’ll be full time, too. I work with freelancers, who come in to the “office” from time to time to work – often with home schooled kids in tow. Friends come over for play dates with my children. And we still need a PFY (pimply-faced youth, aka tech assistant) for Papa Bear!

In other words, our cottage’s ability to meet our space requirements is being tried. Sorely.

A side effect of this is that we occasionally devolve into chaos. In theory, a small space is easier to maintain, but in practice, sometimes there just isn’t a place to put stuff! We’ve debated various options (moving, storage, rearranging), and finally settled on a combination of a space rearrangement, and a brutal clean up. Then we spent about a month psyching ourselves up for the task at hand. For some reason, yesterday, Papa Bear and I both woke up raring to go. There was nothing for it but to get stuck in. We gave our staff the day off, loaded the station wagon to the gills with junk, and moved things around. We raised a lot of dust, and we all still feel as if we’re encased in a light coat of cement. Not to mention the hayfever everyone is battling. But that’ll be over soon, and for now we seem to have a working solution. We have also managed to achieve a modicum of privacy (did I mention that until yesterday the office was in our bedroom – and we have no interior doors?).

So, to the title. It seems that I manage to instill and maintain order relatively well in my space. I have a sense of peace as things find and stay in (or return to) their  places easily and regularly. Timetables are established and maintained. Dishes are done – all the time. I feel good about myself as domestic diva, and happy to entertain stragglers.

Then I get busy. I finally realise that I need to actually work for a living. I get involved in clients and meetings and deadlines and late nights and early mornings. Before I know it, it’s been a week since the girls received focused education. The dishes are done on an “as needed” basis, and meals consist of frying whatever happens to be closest to the door of the fridge. Papers pile up, toys accumulate in flotsam eddies around the driftwood of disorganised furniture, and it’s hard to believe we haven’t just been the victims of a robbery. (Actually, I’m sure this acts as a deterrent to would-be thieves. They think we’ve already been hit!).

At the back of my mind is a persistent belief that there is some kind of balance to be found here. I am sure that it must be possible to achieve a reasonable degree of personal organisation AND a reasonable degree of business organisation at the same time. Surely I can do half as much of each as I ever do of just the one or the other, on an ongoing basis, and manage to maintain an orderly home and an efficient business, with happy, educated, adjusted kids? Is there anyone out there who is doing this successfully? Or do we all do what I do, swinging from one extreme to the other, with only intermittent applications of peace in isolated areas of our lives?

I’d love to know. But in the mean time, I am putting off the billing so that I can tackle this severely overdue pile of filing. Wish me luck!

A really rough day

No one said home education would be easy. And no one said trying to hold down a job while home educating children would be easy. To say nothing of running a busy and bustling business and a small but demanding household at the same time. I know that.

I wonder, however, if they said it would be this hard. I can’t recall. Wise words of sound advice are buried deep in the hazy mists of my exhaustion, and nothing makes sense right now.

I am sure it soon will.

As of the 1st of July we (and by we I mean me) are determined to be more organised and more disciplined. This means all the grown ups in the house have detailed and honest time sheets each day to ensure that no valuable seconds are being lost anywhere. It means that all the family income is managed centrally and strictly according to a well-evolved budget. In this way we should find that we can achieve a lot more and earn enough to live comfortably, all while getting enough rest.

When I look at that bright and sunny horizon painted above, replete with rainbows and kittens and small, nameless white flowers, I feel utterly overwhelmed by the sheer cliffs of work that stand between me and there, and I want to give up.

Today I once again dropped balls, missed deadlines, and spent far too little time with my precious angels. By the end of the day we were all exhausted and overwrought, and ended up sobbing into each others necks as we hugged and prayed before bed. It has taken me until now (10:20PM) to get them down and contented, and I have a whole day’s work ahead of me.

I don’t wanna!

Like a child in a toy store, I can’t be grateful for the generous gift of abundant work that I have. Instead, I feel like sitting on the floor, legs akimbo, beating my fists on the ground and wailing “Noooooooooo” at the top of my lungs. I want to paint and fly kites and hike up mountains and make hover crafts and plant vegetables with the girls. I want to, at the very least, minister to their basic physical needs. They need muscle toning and lower limb strengthening exercise, and if I don’t start giving it soon, they may be seriously damaged for life. I know it sounds melodramatic, but it’s not. I want us all to flop into bed at night exhausted but happy, flushed with the success of a day spent learning and loving, not shushing and shouting.

I certainly do not want to try to prop these drooping eyelids open for another 5 hours.

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