If you aren’t reading Conversion Diary – you should. Jennifer Fulwiler is an atheist to Orthodox Catholic convert, a mom of six, a writer and a hoot. She recently posted this brilliant matrix on her blog:
I love this. I love it when someone is able to take a complicated subject and simplify it, then make it visual.
I lived for years in the red box. Some days I still live in the red box. But back when I had three kids under four, a full time job and we were volunteering as children and youth pastors for a church plant… yeah. Red box. Want to hear a funny story? We used to store a bunch of stuff for the church in our garage (we met in a school) so our pastor would come by on Sunday afternoons to drop it all off. I worked Thursday through Sunday, so by the time he got there the place was, well, trashed. Then we had him over on a Tuesday or something and the first thing he said when he walked in was, “Wow. Your house is so clean!” It wasn’t, actually, it’s just that by Sunday the chaos had managed to take over, and he’d never seen our house not engulfed in crazy.
The red box is not a happy place.
I’ve lived in the orange box, too. When I’m pregnant, it’s all orange box. I hate being pregnant. For me it’s nine months of nausea, heartburn, exhaustion and wanting to die. The really frustrating thing about the orange box is that there’s generally very little you can do about it. The orange box is the result of illness or injury or circumstance. The best thing you can do if you’re in the orange box is to accept it as best you can and ask for help. And pray that it’s temporary.
Then there is the yellow box. That’s where I live right now. From 5:30 am to 10 pm I’m in constant motion. Even my ‘me time’ is productive – either blogging or reading nonfiction or showering. We run full octane all day, every day, with a half day off at the end of the week. But things are running pretty smoothly – my work level is high but my stress level is relatively low. I’m ok with the yellow box.
The green box may not actually exist. I think maybe a few people live there, but some of them have dementia. The green box is where I imagine other people live. People with nannies.
Just kidding. I aspire to the green box, and I believe I’ll get there. We’re closer than we used to be.
What I really love about the Crazy Matrix is that it shows so clearly where we all really need to be. We’ve got to stay out of the red box if we want to effectively do whatever it is God has called us to.
Homemaking is holy work. Caring for your family is valuable and honorable. But even those who feel called to full time homemaking understand that sweeping and laundry are not the focus of that call. This is why we need systems to keep our homes running as smoothly as possible – so we can live in the green box and focus on God’s work in our lives.
You are here for a reason. You have a gift to give to the world that no one else can give. I recently heard someone say, “Your gift will make room for you.” So true! If you have a passion and talent for something, God can open doors of opportunity for you. But first you must find that gift and make room for it to flourish in you. That’s why I’m so passionate about great systems – because I’m passionate about making room for the gift.
More on those systems soon!