Clear: to remove (people or objects); to make free of confusion, doubt, or uncertainty.
Queue: a line of people, vehicles, etc, waiting for something.
Bear with me as I share what will at first seem a completely pointless glimpse into my life.
Some time ago we subscribed to Netflix. Through Netflix we could stream videos to watch instantly. We could also add shows to our Netflix queue to watch at will.
Netflix offered some great shows that I loved using for school on those days when I would fall asleep while reading out loud to my children. (Let’s just keep that last bit between you and me, shall we?)
After the children were tucked in at night, I would often attempt to preview a show for school or occasionally completely relax and watch an old favorite. Notice I said “attempt.”
I never actually watched anything. Ever.
I spent my limited viewing time filling our queue with great shows that we couldn’t miss. There were over 400 “can’t-miss” programs in our queue. The queue was so full that it was difficult to find anything. Yet, instead of watching some of those carefully selected goodies, I only added more to the queue. I was so afraid of missing something, that I missed everything.
My life had become like my Netflix queue.
It was too full of “can’t-miss” programs. Too full of great ideas. Too full of projects. Too full of plans and schedules and curricula. Too full of expert advice for health, faith, education, parenting, marriage, and fun. Too full of everything it took to live up to everybody’s expectations. Yet, instead of implementing those carefully selected activities, improvements, and experiences, I only added more to the queue.
I was so afraid of missing something, that I was missing my own life.
It was a harsh lesson. A painful lesson.
It was hard to accept that all the time I spent researching and planning for the benefit of my family was in reality a detriment to them. It was difficult to admit that I was doing what I ungraciously condemned other parents for doing: I was doing “for them” instead of doing “with them.” What made it even more humbling was that I have always preached “family first” and honestly thought I was putting my family first, but I wasn’t. I was putting my queue — my agenda for my family, my preaching of family first, my self-improvement on their behalf, my research for their betterment — ahead of my family. This preacher needed to heed the preaching.
My family would rather have my attention than my expertise. They would rather have my time than my theories. They would rather have me playing shortstop with them in the back yard than chopping veggies without them in the kitchen. They would rather have me laughing on the couch with them than micro-managing their futures. They would rather I formed a united parenting front with my husband than with the parenting specialists.
They would rather have me enjoying life than figuring out how to extend it. They would rather eat a few preservatives here and there with a happy mama than eat everything from scratch with a haggard grump. They would rather hear what’s on my heart than listen to my recitation of the latest parenting guru publication. They would rather have the honest, dorky me with all my foibles than some unnatural replica of the “experts.” They would rather see grace than perfection.
In short, my family needs me–the imperfect, unpolished, simple me.
Accepting this crucial truth in my life was the first step to clearing my queue, to releasing the baggage and expectations, to putting my priorities back where they belong.
It was the first step to living a simple life and truly loving my family.
Welcome to my journey, as I continue to release the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical clutter that was in my queue.
Do you need to clear your queue? Join me, and return to a simple home, simple faith, simple life.