“My God, it’s only 7:30 in the morning, and I’m already behind!”
There are far too many days that I have allowed my calendar to become over-scheduled, and my to-do list to extend beyond my capacity.
“Mommy, our lunch account is low, can you make a deposit?” Hubby needs “a couple bottles of my 2-in-1 soap”. The floors need a good mop and polish. I need to pickup my clothes from the tailor. My latest post needs artwork. Finals are a week away, and tonight is my semester research presentation. Oh, I can’t forget to call the school counselor to confirm that Thomas’ college prep class application and recommendations are all in. At least I don’t need to cook dinner tonight because hubby and the kids don’t get to come home before their evening commitments begin. My days can easily become a little hectic, and a lot stressful. I bet I am not alone.
We manage so many obligations day-to-day simply fulfilling our life roles; each role is a tremendous blessing, and each carries its own degree of responsibility. It is way too easy to find your nerves rattled, your patience stretched, and your focus diluted.
As of late, the perpetual planning, scheduling, multi-tasking, and hurrying is getting harder and harder to manage. Constantly being on the go effects not only my mood, but can also effect my energy, the quality of my sleep, my overall health, and my relationships. It’s hard to face the day with joyful anticipation of all the possibilities ahead when I’m stretched to the limit by a to-do list extending far beyond the available hours in a day. It’s tiring. It’s worrisome. It’s downright fatiguing. As tempting as it may be to chalk it up to “being a responsible adult”, I believe it’s actually a predicament that our culture would have us to accept as the norm.
Paul warns us not to be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2). I usually think of conforming in a more negative connotation, for instance, in terms of immorality, unrighteousness, or injustice. Certainly there is nothing immoral about having a packed schedule…is there? After all, everyone is busy. We live in a culture that is on the move…go, go, go. Well, if being busy keeps me short-tempered, irritable, and impatient, can I really be representing Christ well? Worse, is my busyness keeping me from the things I’m truly called to do? How can I discern where God is working in my own life, let alone in the life of someone He brings across my path, if I’m so worried about making it to my next “thing” on time? Bringing it closer to home: My son is the one person in this house who will keep us honest. He may mention that we haven’t used the dinner conversation cards lately, which can be translated, “mom, it’s been a few days since we’ve all sat down for a meal together”. Or he might ask, “when is our next family game night?”, which I so easily receive in frustration as a judgement against him for always trying to have “free time”. Maybe I should take a page from his book and make “free time” more of a priority. He is the most relaxed of the four of us. Perhaps he is onto something.
God is really challenging me to re-evaluate what is driving my propensity to over-extend. The Holy Spirit has impressed upon my heart that I am to be anxious for nothing, but be prayerful in everything and with thanksgiving make my request known to Him. Then His peace will guard my heart and mind in Christ. I have never considered this verse in terms of the effect of busyness, but it does cause stress and anxiety, and it definitely robs me of my peace.
So what’s driving my busy? Currently, my weakness is regarding my children: I’m having to accept that I can not be worried about them missing out on opportunities.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I have bought in. In this season of my life, the one of my biggest struggles with buying into a world system involves the youth sports culture. There is no day or date off limits. It’s not enough to be on the team and work hard in practice; now there are private coaches, open gym times, tournaments apart from regular season games/competitions. With both of my kids in competitive sports, demands on our family’s time can be relentless. Couple that culture with my desire to help my kids be in the best position to compete, and here comes an added measure of busy! I wear myself out trying to get them everywhere they need to be, and on time! Somedays, it’s complete madness, and often requires the help of an additional driver! Unfortunately, youth sports isn’t the only place where I’ve experienced this kind of pressure as a parent. The desire to make sure the kids are academically challenged, prepared, and ready to compete in the global economy carries a similar burden…especially given my background in human resources! My heart’s desire is to raise well rounded, responsible, accountable, intelligent, God fearing young adults, but in doing so, I have to remember that I am partnering with God. And He does have a plan. Not only that, but He will establish it. Only He really has the power to do so!
The Lord reminds me, “LaWanda, it is not by (your) power, nor by (your) might, it’s by my Spirit (Zech 4:6). It is my Spirit at work in you that has given you the desire, and is giving you the ability to do that which you need to do (Phil 2:13).” My busy is birthed from trying to do (or even facilitate) a lot of really great things, but they aren’t necessarily all things that God has assigned for me to do (or facilitate) in this season. My busy is turning to burnout because I am trying to do in my own strength that which God hasn’t appropriated for me in a given day. And because so much of my busy involves my children’s commitments, I am having to take an honest look at those as well. As I seek to honor God with my time, I literally ask, “Lord, how can I honor you with my time today?” The challenge now is to listen closely and employ the strength and courage to make the necessary changes – especially those changes that impact my children’s schedules too.
Consider your own schedule. Are you too busy? Regardless of whether it’s with work, at home, in your ministry, or civic organization, consider the driving force. What drives your busy? Are you chasing the right thing at the wrong time? Are you trying to be Martha Stewart, and Rachel Ray all at the same time? Are you busy trying to manufacture what God has already planned and prepared for you if you’d just patiently walk it out?
Pray with me: Lord, I thank you that I don’t have to busy myself trying to create the life you have for me, or for my family. Rather it is you at work in me, giving me the strength and the desire to be effective in doing your will and good pleasure. Show me how to make the best use of my time, prioritizing those things which are necessary, and releasing those things that detract and distract from your plan and purpose. In Jesus Name, Amen.