Is your life all over the place and upside-down? Do you struggle to get everything or even anything done in the day? Are you exhausted in the evenings? Are your expectations for the day ever (or never!) met?! Do you feel like your day is a little bit out of control? Being in control of our time means that we do not become victims of happenstance. We need to match up our priorities with how we actually spend our time – it takes time to be holy. A schedule teaches us self-denial – something which is absolutely essential in character building. Self-denial is saying no to self and yes to God. A schedule helps us to serve God instead of self.

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works. Titus 2:7

Remember that in heaven there is no disorder, and that your home should be a heaven here below. Remember that in doing faithfully from day to day the little things to be done in the home, you are a laborer together with God, perfecting a Christian character. CG 110.3

Here is a work for mothers, in helping their children to form correct habits and pure tastes, to develop moral stamina, true moral worth. CG 407.1

Habits

So, it’s all about habits! A schedule is simply a tool that we can use to help us form good habits! Remember, our choices determine our habits, our habits determine our character, our character determines our lifestyle and our lifestyle determines our destiny.

Occasionally things don’t go according to schedule and that’s fine because we’re more interested in the habits that are being formed. However, when its normal (or habitual) for there to be no order or routine, we miss out on the opportunity to learn the beautiful godly character traits of orderliness, discipline, self-denial and regularity.

It must be remembered that the youth are forming habits which will, in nine cases out of ten, decide their future. The influence of the company they keep, the associations they form, and the principles they adopt will be carried with them through life. 2MCP 598.4

Too much importance cannot be placed upon the early training of children. The lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and childhood, have more to do with the formation of the character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of after years. MH 380.2

Am I the only one who feels a little nervous about the not-so-good habits I’ve allowed to form in my children and myself already?! Mothers, take it to the Lord! Allow Him to show you a better way.

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5

If we want to advance in our relationship with the Lord, if we want to be His shining light for the world, we need to begin working methodically and purposefully.

You must ever be growing and advancing in grace and knowledge. You will be able to do nothing acceptably in your school life without practicing habits of system and order. Haphazard work will bring certain failure. FE 302.2

There must be men who will begin a work in the right way, and hold to it and push it forward firmly. Everything must be done according to a well-matured plan, and with system. God has entrusted His sacred work to men, and He asks that they shall do it carefully. Regularity in all things is essential. Never be late to an appointment…. They press too many things into their life, postpone until tomorrow that which demands their attention today, and much time is lost in painfully picking up the lost stitches. Ev 649.2

There are some young men and women who have no method in doing their work. Though they are always busy, they can present but little results. They have erroneous ideas of work, and think that they are working hard, when if they had practiced method in their work, and applied themselves intelligently to what they had to do, they would have accomplished much more in a shorter time. By dallying over the less important matters, they find themselves hurried, perplexed, and confused when they are called upon to do those duties that are more essential. They are always doing, and, they think, working very hard; and yet there is little to show for their efforts. Ev 649.1

Out with the old, in with the new

OK, so maybe you don’t quite have a good daily schedule as of yet. Or maybe your schedule could use a little tweaking to emphasize certain priorities. Or maybe you already have an absolutely beautiful schedule, but are struggling to follow it. Maybe somewhere along the way, some disorderly habits have crept in! How do we better this situation? How do we stop these bad habits?

1. Pray about it.

Come to the Lord with a humble, willing heart. Lay all of your plans at His feet and allow Him to lead you through the day. Pray for the patience, perseverance and gentleness that every mother needs to help her children (and herself) embrace healthy changes. Remember:

A person plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

But I trust in you, LORD. I say, “You are my God. My times are in your hands…” Psalm 31:14-15

2. Prepare your heart for change, perseverance and inspiration!

It’s not going to be easy to change, but know that perseverance and divine help will help you to be an overcomer! Take it hour by hour, then day by day, then week by week until your new habits are established. Do not forget you have a best friend in every emergency, ever-present, ever-willing to help! All of heaven is watching your attempt with anticipation!

The power of self-restraint strengthens by exercise. That which at first seems difficult, by constant repetition grows easy, and right thoughts and actions become habitual. MH 491.3

The angels are commissioned to minister unto those who are striving to overcome every wrong habit, and stand clear from the devices of Satan. MYP 27.2

Great truth can be brought into little things; practical religion must be carried into the lowly duties of daily life. And in the performance of these duties, you are forming characters that will stand the test of the Judgment. Then, in whatever position you may be placed, whatever your duties may be, do them nobly and faithfully, realizing that all heaven is beholding your work. OHC 228.4

3. Draw up a basic schedule

To begin with, you will need to draw up a basic schedule. You may even need multiple – one for yourself, one for your children. There will be tasks that you need to get completed which will differ from your children’s tasks. Depending on the ages of your children, you may even require a different routine for each age group. For example, if you have an infant AND teens in the house, they will most definitely not follow the same schedule. Begin with a very simple schedule with set times to important events during the day like waking up, worship, meals and bedtime. More about this in Part 2 and Part 3 still to come!

It is the duty of all to observe strict rules in their habits of life. This is for your own good, dear youth, both physically and morally. When you rise in the morning, take into consideration, as far as possible, the work you must accomplish during the day. If necessary, have a small book in which to jot down the things that need to be done, and set yourself a time in which to do your work. Ev 652.2

4. Follow the schedule!

Sometimes this is easier said than done! Take note of where in the day you are going off track and what the core reason is behind it. One of the best tricks I use to enforce a new routine is to set up the schedule as various alarms on my cell phone which prompt me whenever a new task is about to begin. My girls enjoy it when we set a different ring tone to each event!

Persons who have not acquired habits of close industry and economy of time should have set rules to prompt them to regularity and dispatch. 4T 411.1

5. Make adjustments

Keep tweaking your schedule until you have something workable. It may take a few days to accomplish (or even weeks!) but persevere! Be assured that you will not get it right the first time round. Often we don’t notice or realize how long a task can actually take us when children are involved!

Also know that schedules change as life progresses and circumstances change. There may be a new addition to the family. Children mature and become more responsible and things get done a bit more quickly. Even different seasons can require a different order during the day.

Remember that attacking a bad habit does little good – instead replace it with something better. For example, instead of insisting that the tv gets turned off in the afternoon, simply replace the habit with a new one – an exciting nature walk!

Always keep in mind the bigger picture that you are working towards: establishing good habits, order and methodology.

 

Now is the time.

So, start today. Start reflecting on the current pattern of your day. Is there order and routine? Is there a need for improvement? Are there bad habits that need to be overcome? Remember that God is with you!

Youth is the time to establish good habits, to correct wrong ones already contracted, to gain and to hold the power of self-control, and to lay the plan, and accustom one’s self to the practice, of ordering all the acts of life with reference to the will of God and the welfare of our fellow-creatures. MYP 233.4

The Lord will be with you, mothers, as you try to form right habits in your children. But you must begin the training process early, or your future work will be very difficult. Teach them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Bear in mind that your children belong to God and are to become His sons and daughters. He designs that the families on earth shall be samples of the family in heaven. 2MCP 599.3

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