This is Day 31. Thirty-one days ago we started school. My house was clean. My freezer meals were prepped. My desk looked like a professional organizer stopped by. And, our routine was rock solid. I made a schedule and we stuck to it. This is what homeschool moms do. I was thriving.
For thirty one days.
Then, today, everything fell apart. I had to teach an early morning class. I got home at 7am and felt great. I showered, made breakfast for the family, and then decided to lie down . . .just for a minute.
I woke up at 9:45am. An hour and a half later!
Sure, we have flexibility as a homeschool family, but not on Thursdays. No, on Thursdays we have activities. We needed that morning time to get school done. The whole rest of the day was booked–all the way until 9pm. There was no extra time for a morning nap. Especially not for me! Schedule, blown!
I felt discouraged–down on myself for “messing up” today. Then I remembered. Today is Day 31.
The 31 Pattern
There seems to be a pattern in my life. I can only hold it together for 31 days. I make resolutions–vows to myself of ways I will improve, change, or propel myself to greatness. I start exercise plans. I begin fabulous “routines” with the children. I get totally organized and stay that way . . .
For 31 days.
This summer, under doctor supervision, I had to do a medical cleanse. The rough part lasted 31 days and then I was done. I wanted meat, chocolate, and something other than the disgusting shakes I had to drink four times a day. I didn’t just step off the wagon–reintroducing one new food every few days, as the plan suggested. No, I jumped off that wagon and headed into the pantry.
My husband and I decided we’d start working out together. We woke up early three times a week, we’d take turns using the weights. Guess how long this fantastic routine lasted. I’ll give you a hint. It’s just about one more than thirty.
Thirty one days is my limit. It’s all I can sustain. I feel like a failure admitting that. But it’s true. After thirty-one days I fizzle out. My stamina’s gone. I go back to my default settings. After Day 31 . . .I just can’t keep it up.
It’s a pattern.
Day 32: After Day 31
I love the grace that God shows us in his gift of “mini-cycles” in our lives.
We only have to make it one minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time. We don’t have to wait a decade for a fresh start, he gives us the opportunity to seek him for renewal each morning. Even when we get into coast mode, we feel the jolt of the change of months and the change of years, giving us even more opportunities to wipe the slate clean and try again. The sun will set, the sun will rise, and we get another chance to start over.
But today, as I’m tempted to feel down because I’m falling short of my own expectations, I am encouraged by one thought: It’s Day 32 where I have to depend on the Lord.
It’s Day 32 when my strength runs out and I know anything I accomplish is through him alone.
It’s on Day 32 that I have to surrender and say, “This is all I have. Please use it.”
I wonder if on Day 32 the Lord looks down and smiles and says, “Finally, do you want me to help really change you? Or you going to keep trying to do it yourself?”
Perhaps we all need to embrace Day 32.