Do you set boundaries for yourself – not boundaries for others – but boundaries for you?
Make your bed.
— What God told Patsy Clairmont
I confess, I don’t make my bed every morning. Nor do I sweep the kitchen floor every day. Heresy, I know. But I do OD – overdo – in many other aspects of my life. And I’m beginning to think that it’s time for me to set boundaries on all that OD-ing. Let me explain how I arrived at this conclusion – and why the admonition to “make your bed” propelled me there.
On Friday evening I was playing channel roulette – searching for something on cable TV to entertain me as I relaxed after a day of OD-ing. Mind you, I’d accomplished quite a lot simply by returning over and over to the looooong list of assignments (business, personal and household) that had accumulated over the past five days. This is how my week had gone:
- Monday I didn’t get as much done as I wanted so the leftovers were heaped upon my Tuesday list.
- And, you guessed it, I didn’t get as much done as I hoped to on Tuesday so the remains of the day were pushed forward onto Wednesday…
- You can imagine what my Friday list looked like!
Yep – despite my determination and resolve, despite my persistent crossing-off of completions – my Friday list had lots left over for… what? Saturday? Sunday? Next week? What???
My to-do’s weren’t done but I was done in. Then, as I mindlessly clicked through the too-many-channels of Friday night not-prime-time-blah-blah-blah, I happened upon a program I’d never seen before: The Amazing Women Tour. And, feeling most un-amazing, I wondered who these Amazing Women (AW) could be and what they’d done to deserve the title.
One Amazing Woman
The first featured AW was Patsy Clairmont whose charmingly hilarious account of her bout with agoraphobia – an abnormal fear of being in crowds, public places, or open areas – turned out to be just the respite this un-amazing, weary woman needed!
Author of Stained Glass Hearts: Seeing Life from a Broken Perspective, Patsy related how she had begged God to give her a mission, something wonderful to work on so that she could break agoraphobia’s hold on her. And, as told by ChristiansEngaged.com, here’s what happened next:
What she heard was “Make your bed.” This didn’t make any sense. She asked again and heard the same reply. She wondered “What kind of mission is that”? You see, Patsy had been spending a lot of time in her bed – physically overcome with various fears. When she asked God for a mission, she expected something of significance. “Making your bed” was definitely not what she would call significant. The mission God gave her may have seemed insignificant but it was necessary. It was the first step for her…
Patsy herself explained that making her bed became her way of “doing the next thing you know you should have already done.” It became her way of marking boundaries for herself – starting with getting out of the darn bed and then making it so that she couldn’t crawl back into it in despair!
Ellie’s Aha Moment
Which brings me back to my earlier confession that I don’t make my bed every morning but I do overdo. And, thanks to Patsy Clairmont, I had an aha moment: Limit your list! Enough of this pushing leftover to-do’s onto tomorrow. Bound each day with its own few but high-priority line-items. Get them done or moved satisfactorily forward. And, tomorrow choose a few, new, high-priority line-items.
Focus. Do. And be done.
Meanwhile, back in the bed-making department, I have an announcement: Hear ye, hear ye:
According to a new study made in Kingston University, unmade beds are better than made beds because they kill house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies. So when someone complains to you why your bed isn’t made, you can reply because of your health.
With that happy news, I conclude that I’m still not gonna make my bed every day. But I am going to work at heeding Patsy’s message – do the next thing you know you should have already done – set boundaries that mark a new way of moving through your day. For Patsy it was agoraphobia, for me it’s a simple case of OD-ing.
Encouragement of the day: If you want to do great things for God, start by doing small things for God. Often God doesn’t have to tell us what those are, there are little missions all around us. Try to do one each day this week.