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Last spring was an extremely busy time for me. It seemed that I was constantly running this child or that to an out of town activity, somebody to therapy, a dentist or orthodontist appointment, or myself to a job When I had a minute to breathe I was wading through the details of graduating my oldest from high school. Guilt was ever present as I periodically checked in on my mostly independent homeschooling children, hoping they were still learning something without me. The harried schedule and demands on my time and focus left me flat, bruised, and exhausted with nothing left to give anyone. I was finding myself forgetting appointments and responsibilities. But it was when I had to say no to the opportunity to bring a meal to a new mother (something I always liked to do) that I started questioning my current lifestyle. Were all the aspects of my self-inflicted full schedule necessary? Was this really the abundant life God intended?
The culture tells us that being busy makes us important; that our worth is found in our to-do list. But these words from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians tell a different story, “For now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.” Also his words to the Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” His worth was bound up in Christ and his calling to spread the gospel.
It appears that abundant living is discipleship-centered,but how did my schedule reflect that? Some drastic changes had to be made. I couldn’t keep up this life. The effects were detrimental to both my immediate and my church family.
I was in survival mode, scraping in a subject here and a subject there to get in the necessities of homeschooling in between points on the agenda. Oh yes, they were learning what they had to in order to pass on the the next grade level. But there was a level of interaction that was missing. My 14 year old daughter could tell you the she felt neglected, that I was never there; that even when I was there I was distracted. My calling is first and foremost to care for my family and teach them. I was failing at that endeavor.
So what did I do about it? Well, first I waited for all my current obligations to come to an end, which happened to be in June. And then I let them end and didn’t seek something to replace them. I have since made myself more aware of my families needs and am decisively protective of them. For example, I know that morning is the best time for my kids to do school. It is difficult for all of us to focus on schoolwork in the afternoon. So when I’m scheduling Dr. appointments or meetings, or am asked to help someone, I always make sure it is done in the afternoon. In addition, I have blocked out mental time to focus on them. My attention is, first and foremost, reserved for them from 9-12 every morning. I have determined that this block of time must be for my kids and their needs.
My Church Family
Since when did I let my level of busyness dictate my level of service? And since when did my life become all about me? The church, as a body of believers, was created to build one another up but I had placed myself in such a state that I couldn’t participate.
From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16
How am I loving my church family? 1 John 4:11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” How can I show love to the mom who needs an emergency babysitter or the family who, because of medical emergency, needs ministering to? How can I respond to them when I don’t even have time to breathe? The truth is I can’t! A drowning person can’t help someone else. I had to get my life in order so that I would have time to make to show the love of God to others.
I am not saying that I shouldn’t have boundaries; that there aren’t times when I should say no to a call for help. However, what I am saying is that my life shouldn’t be so busy and hectic that I can’t even consider serving others. Walking in Jesus footsteps in part means helping people when called upon. To show them the love of God. This is a priority for me and I need to build my life around it.
This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. John 15:12