Room at the Table

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This may come off as a brain dump or random rambling. It might come off as venting. If it does, that’s because it is. The delicate balance of managing what you need to do, what you should do, and what you want to do is difficult. However, somehow, you make the choice of what to fill your day with. Yesterday I filled my day with work, cleaning, and child raising. While I was cleaning my child threw a chair over and broke it. I wasn’t upset. The table is older and we’ve talked about another move meaning we’d replace it anyway. I moved the chair aside. There was less room at the table. Is that true though?

Hear me out. Yes, it’s true that the broken chair means less people can fit at the table. But now there is more room for the people that are sitting there. Take your life. For the sake of this example let’s pretend you have six chairs at your table (We have four and bench but still). I’m willing to bet you can name six things that fall into the categories of what you need to do, what you should do, and what you want to do. As you try to balance those six things, one (if not more) is not getting proper attention but it’s still getting enough of your attention to have a seat at your table. Now that thing has broken. You can replace it. You can fix it. Or you can have one less thing taking your space.

I didn’t know the lesson my chair was teaching me when I moved it from the table. We can still fit my family (the important stuff still stays) but they each have more space, typically in the form of leg room. So if you have 6 things taking up your time and attention (I’m willing to bet you have more), what can be moved from your table. What can go to allow you more space for what matters. What can’t stay because of the season of life you’re in? My child forced me to look at the space. He is my season of life. I have four young children that need my attention. As much as I want to be all the things, do all the things, and put more on my plate, they need more.

It’s also possible that there is something on your list that doesn’t have a seat at the table. The chair breaking doesn’t make this a bigger problem. It serves as a reminder to adjust who and what is taking up space in your chairs. I’m not looking to shift my husband and children off of my space. But I do know I need to make room at my table. Right now it’s filled with family, fitness, work, baking, writing, running a house, watching too much tv (ding ding ding) and scrolling too much social media (ding ding ding). You know who doesn’t have a proper seat at my table – God. I’m hurt to even put that out there. Every month, every list, every goal of each year I say I’m going to start reading my Bible daily. I’m going to make God a priority. I pray every day. I pray every night. But I don’t make time to sit and read the Bible – something I find extremely important for my relationship with God. So something(s) has to move from my table. For you it might be date nights with your husband, family game nights, time to yourself, or just making space for something in the future.

Your priorities adjust, your focus, needs, wants, everything is changing. Sometimes someone (something) leaves the table and you don’t even notice it walk away. Sometimes you have to make the decision to remove it. But how often do you take a look around your table (life) and make the decision of who (what) needs to go, and who (what) do you need to invite to stay. I’ve been trying to find the balance. I take care of the house in the background (bills are paid) but I clean between rounds of getting snacks, filling waters, and playing games (chasing my son around the house is a great time to put away laundry some days). I bake after everyone is in bed. I wake up and write and workout before everyone is awake. My day is full. But as my son got angry and pushed over his chair (breaking it), I realized I need to revisit my table. Am I spreading myself too thin? Was my child being a two year old? Did he need more space at my table? Honestly, its probably a little of all three.

So yesterday I started making adjustments. Starting “cleaning” the table. I noticed that not only was my table full of taken chairs, it was also cluttered on top. What’s the saying? “Outer order, inner calm”? More on that next time. But checking off what I could from my to do list allowed me to start clearing the table. Creating space. I never have a clean house. I always feel like I should be cleaning my house. It’s taking up a space at my table that I don’t want. It’s the clutter on top. It’s the dishes from dinner, the homework my kids left, the toy my son was playing with. I need to tidy everything up to give myself space. That’s item one on my list. I went to bed with a clean kitchen. I woke up able to create, not dreading the baking I have to do tonight, and knowing I can focus more on the kids today.

Clear your table. Empty chairs, or take them away. Decide who/what gets a seat. It’s okay to say no, even when you want to say yes. It’s time to look around your table. Is this what you want to give your focus to? What needs to go? Who needs to stay?

God Bless!

EAM

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