My laptop computer has been sluggish lately — running slowly, working inefficiently, locking up doing basic functions.

In light of this concern, Saturday morning I snuggled in with my laptop, my bathrobe, and my coffee to delete temporary files and run a de-fragmentation program. Befriending my morning coffee as the kids ran around, I lounged, transfixed as my computer program de-fragmented my files. Wow.

During this process, two things occurred to me: 1) I’m feeling a bit fragmented myself and 2) I must be feeling seriously fragmented if watching my computer de-fragment can capture my fascinated attention for a full (no kidding) 50 minutes.

While incomprehensibly engrossed in the mysteries of my computer’s re-arranging process, I noticed a few things (interrupted briefly by a diaper change on my youngest). Please consider that these observations came before I had ingested my daily quota of caffeine—stay with me.

Running Slowly

We homeschool mothers often run ourselves ragged, and are often feeling stretched in so many different directions that we begin to run slowly, work inefficiently, and lock up doing basic functions.

Dentist appointments, broken toes, clogged drains, meal preparation, grammar lessons, correcting kids’ math assignments, 4-H meetings, returning phone calls, cleaning up messes, remembering everyone’s birthdays, scheduling field trips . . . no wonder we’re fragmented.

Nurturing our children, cherishing our husbands, and seeking God’s face all-too-often end up lower on my to-do list than scrubbing out stains, making sandwiches, and replenishing our cat food supply on a Costco run.

Maybe my computer had something to teach me this morning.

Unmovable Files

The green-coded section on my de-fragmentation progress bar is labeled “unmovable files.”I noticed that these files are represented by a solid-green bar that doesn’t move, hence unmovable. I imagine those are system files central to the computer’s function. No system files? No computer.

I noticed that all the “fragmented files” were red stripes interspersed throughout the bar. The red, obviously standing for stressed-out and scattered files, was gradually sorted out and placed into the calmer blue, “contiguous files.” The program worked its magic around the unmovable green bar. The end of all this activity was a green and blue bar of properly sorted files. No red in sight.

As I continued drinking coffee and gaining cognitive function, I wondered if there was a spiritual application to all this (which would also help me justify the 50 minutes I had just wasted mindlessly watching). I believe there is.

Fixing Our Eyes

We as Christian homeschool moms need those unmovable, green files in our brain more than we know. You know, the ones called God and His word. These “files” don’t move. They are central to our functioning, and are place-holders for all that goes on around. No God? No point.

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) says, in part: “. . .let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

We also need to reduce the number of those red, stressed-out, fragmented files that stand for all the peripheral stuff that takes over our brain space. Matthew 11:28 (NIV) says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, (and fragmented?) and I will give you rest.”

Free Disk Space

Interestingly enough, when my computer scan was done, I noticed that the amount of “free disk space” was exactly the same as when it began, but it all looked and “felt” more cohesive and peaceful —all that nice blue and green, and no red stripes.

At the conclusion of this little thought process, it occurred to me that I need to run a mental Mommy de-fragmentation more frequently so my “files” won’t get so scattered.

I’m no techie (in case that’s not already painfully obvious to those of you who are), but I imagine that as I focus more on the “green,” system files that make everything else run properly that perhaps I won’t have so many of those chaotic red stripes cluttering up my nice, serene blue files. In other words, rely more on God and His word and rely less on caffeine and my daytimer.

Maybe those thoughts will help this fragmented Mom to run less sluggishly and have more free brain space to nurture my children, cherish my husband and seek God’s face.

Copyright 2010 by Karen D. Koch. Reprinted by CHEA of California with permission of the author.

Karen Koch and her husband Monte are in their 10th year of homeschooling, with four children ranging from 2 to 14. Karen has degrees in journalism and technical writing. She is a 4-H leader and serves on her county’s library advisory board. Karen drinks her morning coffee in Northern California.