“We live in a culture that glorifies busy. Our culture equates busy and fast with importance and success.” This is what Shauna Neiquist told my women’s Bible study group a couple of weeks ago, via her video study, “Living Life Together.” Well, this is paraphrased from the notes that I took from the video. These words really resonated with me.
But, it’s the truth, right? We live in a face paced, barely a white space on the calendar, kind of world. We are stay at home, work at home, work outside the home mamas, trying to keep it altogether. In addition to the jobs, we are cooking, cleaning, shopping, quality timing it with the kids via vacations, staycations, and Pinterest-cations. We are running them to school, sports, clubs, the library, dance, the park, museums, Harry Potter festivals (Hello! It’s been 20 years since the first book…of course, we are trying to squeeze in Harry), sleepovers, VBS, art camp, theater camp, theater practice, horseback riding lessons, Apple computer coding workshops (yes, that’s a thing, people), and the Y to the M, C & A for swim lessons.
We are making sure, for the love of Pete, that homework, projects and volunteer work are being accomplished. Not to mention, we are staying up late working on our novel or our blog, our current mission project, our home school lessons, or a PTA fundraiser. Perhaps some of you are also squeezing in that mythical “Date Night,” every now and then. Or, it’s crazy counterpart, “Girl’s Night Out.” Doctor visits, combatting bullies, taking care of loved ones, taking care of the pets, Neighborhood Watch, gathering our world news via Facebook, and then, in the three hours left of the day, sleeping.
What else could we possibly fit into our days? Who knows? Nevertheless, we are master multi taskers, and if something comes up, we will fit it in. Because that is what we do, right?
However, mamas, let us look at what is missing. It should be blatantly clear. Where, in all that busyness and limited white space, are we fitting time in to study the Word or be with His people?
I keep hearing and reading that there is a seismic shift occurring in the American church. Churches are struggling to survive because they are competing with the world and culture around them. Worship attendance is low, Sunday school attendance is virtually none, volunteers for missions and even the super fun VBS are just plain hard to come by. Youth groups are having trouble with attendance, and when you directly ask someone to fill a need, you are told, “Let me get back to you on that, I am not sure what may be on the calendar.”
Here is the thing, though, that we need to remember. Yes, it is true that times, well, they are a changing. The world is changing. Culture is changing. We, as Christians, are feeling that tug to change with it, and keep up with it. Especially when it comes to our kids. We scroll down Facebook or see a pic on Instagram of all the other stuff every other kid is involved with or every other family is doing, and the mom guilt creeps in. “Maybe, I am not doing right by my kids. Maybe, I am not giving them enough experiences. Maybe I should enroll them in one more thing. I do not want them to feel left out. I don’t want them to get left behind.” I get it; I have been there, too.
A few years ago, there was no white space on my calendar. There was none. None. Every single day had something written in. I thought I was being a fantastic mom, giving my kids all sorts of life experiences and opportunities. I was the greatest soccer/PTA/room mother/4-H leader/Sunday school teacher/children’s ministry leader/summer reading program mentor/school volunteer/Joy Club leader/mom/wife you could find. I was proud of being involved and having active kids. When I think back on all that wasted time, it makes me a bit sick to my stomach. Not that any of those things are bad, they aren’t. They are all wonderful things. They just all did not have to be wonderful things for my family. The Lord and my children’s exposure to Him and His love were getting the short end of the stick. It took me becoming physically ill and being forced by the doctor to give things up, to actually free up space. My health was literally at risk and I still had trouble letting go of stuff, because who, if not me, will ever do it all? My kids will miss out!
While the world and culture changes and moves at breakneck speeds all around us, guess what? The love of Jesus and who He is and what He has done, that has not changed. The truth found nestled in between the pages of the Word of God, that has not changed either. It never will. And boy, oh boy, we need to cling to His truth. That is the only way we survive this culture shift occurring all around us. That is the only way our kiddos are going to survive growing up in this tumultuous climate.
If we are not prioritizing a relationship with God in our homes more than we are prioritizing our jobs, sports, activities, vacations, etc., than neither will our kids.
As our kids grow up, and they see us prioritize everything else first and give our leftover time to God, then that is how they will prioritize God in their own families someday. Matthew 6:33 is very clear that it is God we should seek first above everything, so we need to strive to do so.
“But seek first (my emphasis) his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
I think we sometimes think that we have to do all these things in order for our kids to succeed someday. However, Matthew clearly states that when we seek God first, then all our needs will be provided for, including the needs of our kiddos.
That tug we are feeling to keep up and keep our kids in everything, it probably is not coming from the Lord. He is not going to lead our family or us into anything that is going to take us away from Him. Satan will though. He loves that the busier we become, it creates that much less time we have for the Lord, reading His Word, attending church or even praying. That is a win in Satan’s playbook.
“When you let busyness win, you don’t have time to spend with the Lord.” Another Shauna gem.
These days, there is much more white space on my calendar and my kids are only involved in one thing weekly, and once in a while, something extra a month. I strive to make God a priority in our home, talking about Him as we have family devotions and prayer together. We are actively involved in an awesome, Bible believing church. Our Pastor is someone who not only preaches God’s Word weekly, but also is someone who lives God’s Word daily. We are far from perfect, and need grace daily. Things tend to be chaotic and people tend to be cranky when I lose my focus or my priority on the Lord for my kids and myself.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads, Write them on your doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (NIV)
I pray that you will be encouraged to pray to God about your family and His will for them when it comes to prioritizing time and commitments. May you always remember He loves you, He loves your kiddos, and He always has your back.