7 Secrets for a Mindful Christmas – Cap Your Commitments

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.  Socrates

Ask anyone how they are and most often the answer will be, ‘Busy.’

And this seems to be especially true during the build up to Christmas.

On an unprecedented scale,

Our generation seems to have mastered the art of procuring a busy life,

And in the process, forgotten about leading an intentional and meaningful one.

So I’ve been on a war path to Cap my Commitments!

As mums, wives, employees and so on,

We need to exercise wisdom in our current culture so that we don’t get swept along with the tide of increasing busyness that so often robs us of our energy, and even our joy.

Busy doesn’t have to be the new normal,

And no where does ‘being constantly busy’ equal being successful.

I am making fairly dramatic attempts in my own life to replace the busy with calm, calculated decisions, that reflect a sober minded view of my life and the things that I really want to invest in.

I am trying, as Craig Groeschel points out, to say NO to many small things in order to say YES to a few big things.

Why don’t you try it with me?

Instead of constantly running around fixing the urgent,

I want to be seen as someone who prioritises the important.

The urgent will always be present.

The important is what we need to begin to seek out and identify for our own lives.

What’s important in your life?

During the lead up to Christmas,

Why not reflect on whether what you are actually doing is urgent or important?

You only have so much time allocated to you in a day,

In a lifetime.

Are you using it to invest in what is important (the long term, the big picture, the meaningful?)

Or is your time being devoured by the urgent (the trivial, the temporal, the small?)

To say no to many small things requires self discipline and making hard choices sometimes.

Yes, you will let people down.

Yes, it can be an unpopular choice.

No, you can’t please everyone or do everything.

But when you look at the alternatives that equal frantic and over committed,

That steal time from your family, your top priorities and your mental and emotional health,

You really have no other choice.

Instead of stressing yourself out and attempting to juggle multiple tasks,

Perhaps it’s time this Christmas season to focus on 3-4 things that you can do well.

Perhaps over these next few weeks,

As the year is drawing to a close and we begin planning for another year,

It’s time to begin saying NO to many small things in order to say YES to a few big things.

Big things that will leave a legacy not only in your life but in the lives of those around you.

Big things that will mean you are more centered and fruitful,

Instead of being found running after your tail all the time.

And remember,

Saying yes all the time won’t make you wonder woman, it will make you a worn out woman.  Lisa Terkeurst

My 4 steps/questions to help you Cap your Commitments today are these:

1. Write down as many commitments/values you are currently involved in. eg. worship team at church, housework, mother’s group, job, writing a blog, making an album. Be warned, this list can get really long 😉  But that’s ok

2. Then, create a ‘To-Don’t‘ list.  I want you to take 5 (or more!) things OFF your current list of busy goings for ONE WEEK and see how you go.  Be ruthless for a week.  Take off those things you don’t have time for anymore, that no longer fit in with your current season or that are no longer needed or relevant.  At first this is a daunting concept, but once you’ve done it and then actioned it, it’s very freeing.

3. Next, list your top 5 commitments.  What 5 things rank as your highest values? (normally it will be those things that you think about just before you go to sleep every night 😉  eg. family/marriage/cooking healthy meals/friends/your kids/your career/God.

4. Lastly, schedule in to a weekly calendar, how you will give attention to these newly recognised commitments/values/priorities.  Write in each of your 5 values/commitments, nothing else right now.  Write realistically how long you will spend doing each thing.  eg. date night with husband 6.30-9.30pm Tuesday night.  *Need a babysitter.  Be as specific as possible so that you can see that in a week, you have made time for the 5 values dearest to your heart.

Cate x

Cate is a mum, wife, singer, song writer, pastor, teacher and blogger.  She is the Founder of The Inspire Collective – a creative network for women in Perth and is one of the writers for Kinwomen and 98five Sonshine FM.

Cate singing




How do you make your dreams a reality?

Craig Groeschel, author of a number of christian books on leadership and influence,

Says that your best ideas happen in the margins.

A margin is a space you intentionally set aside from the daily goings on that fill it,

To seek out the life that you were born to live.It’s like down time or a deliberate zoning out period,

And it becomes a priority in your day as much as cooking the meal or driving to work.

The margin is where creativity soars and where dreams come into being.

The margin is where you reflect and re-posture your heart.

The margin is when you gain the big picture,

Touch the deeper reason for your existence,

When you become most inspired.

Margins are where dreams are created.

For the creative, the margins are where songs are written, books are penned, paintings are crafted.

For the entrepreneur, the margins are where ideas exist, where innovation sprouts, where seeds are gathered into harvest.

For the leader, the margins are where direction crystallizes, where vision is captured and where new horizons are birthed.

If you don’t allow time for the margins,

You will never reach your full potential or discover the depths of what it is you were put on this earth to do.

Are you running from one thing to the next,

Overwhelmed by a busy schedule but never actually kicking goals in the areas that you dream of?

Are you too busy to create?

Is the dream that you have had on your heart still not eventuated,

But you are hoping that one day it will?

These things rarely find themselves.

Dreams particularly are elusive creatures,

And they happen to be found in the margins.

If you have things laying dormant in your life that you keep saying to yourself,

‘One day I’m going to do this,’

‘If only I had time to invest in that,’

Realise that it’s not going to happen unless you intentionally map time out to make it happen.

You will get busy,

You will get sidetracked with the daily goings on of life.

And that in itself isn’t a bad thing.

It’s when you get so immersed in the routines that you forget to look up and see the bigger picture,

That you forget to switch your dreamer back on,

And that makes for a dull existence.

We all need to see the grander scheme that surrounds our lives.

Are you aching to touch that?

Some keys that Groeschel talks about that I have begun implementing in my own life to free up more margin time are as follows.

  1. Create a ‘To-Don’t List.’

As your life increases in busyness,

Some of the things you once did you won’t be able to do anymore.

Groeschel recommends saying no to many small things so that you can say yes to a few big things.

If you want to live a life of influence,

If you want margin time so that you can do what it is you’ve been dreaming of doing,

You have to stop doing everything,

And learn to say yes to the things that you value most that you aren’t doing.

Write down 3 or more things periodically that you can take off your ‘to do’ list and place on your ‘to don’t’ list.

Yes you may offend people,

But learning to respectfully say no to some things is part of growing in maturity and wisdom.

2. Another tip he suggests is scheduling your values.

So often we fill our days with the necessary, but mundane and routine things first.

He recommends putting in your calendar the things that are most important to you first,

Making sure that they’re the things that fill your tank,

And that are high on your value list.

Things like,

Family time,

Marriage and date nights,

Holidays & spontaneous trips out,

Time to work out,

Time for hobbies,

Time with God,

You margin time,

To name a few.

Each of these areas will be different depending on who you are,

But make sure you schedule them in before putting the rest of your life on the calendar.

You’ll find that it will encourage you rather than drain you and this in turn will create a life that is more inspired.

You’ll notice that these two tips in themselves,

Once applied,

Will begin to free up your life.

We are called to be good stewards of our time,

And being intentional with how we spend it is critical if we are wanting to have the space we desire to dream and begin actioning these dreams.

Dreams happen in the margins.

We need to create more margin time and we do this by scheduling our values and saying no to the small things so that we can say yes to the things that matter most.

Hope this helps.

Cate x