I am no expert in this area, and I certainly don’t have everything together, but I can share what I’ve learned from my experiences and my mistakes! I am sure many of you can relate to this scenario: you look at your schedule and you realize with a sinking feeling that you won’t see much of your friends or family in the next three weeks. You have a wedding to attend this weekend, you are working three evenings the following week, and the next weekend you have to attend that stupid volunteer event that you signed up for two months ago. Not to mention your folks are coming into town the week after. You wish you could just crawl into a hole – or maybe a nice cabin in the woods – and hide from all of your appointments and obligations for the next month. Sound familiar?
Life comes at us fast, and sometimes it’s difficult to find that place of rest that God calls us to. Rather than feeling like we are spinning a hundred different plates or trying to balance all these different categories of life, we have to realize the following, as W.P. Young writes in The Shack: “Rather than being the top of a pyramid, I [Jesus] want to be the center of a mobile, where everything in your life is connected to me but moves with the wind, in and out, back and forth, in an incredible dance of being.” It was this realization that transformed my outlook on busyness. Busyness is not a bad thing as long as it doesn’t distract you from that One Thing – being One with Jesus. Your church life, your personal life, your work life, your family life – these may feel like separate entities to you, but God intended these to be connected to him as a sort of mobile where every function, every thought, every action comes from and reaches back to Him.
“Rather than being the top of a pyramid, I [Jesus] want to be the center of a mobile, where everything in your life is connected to me but moves with the wind, in and out, back and forth, in an incredible dance of being.” – W.P. Young, The Shack
So what do I do? Well, I pray. Without ceasing. That is a start! I ask God what I should and shouldn’t do, and I present my requests to Him with thanksgiving (Phil 4:6). I am also working to keep the following guidelines:
- Keeping my time with God sacred. Those first few moments of each day should be filled with scripture and worship, not Facebook and emails.
- Prioritizing time with family. Life gets busy; that’s a fact. But I always have a choice. It’s not that I don’t have time, it’s that I don’t make time. My wife and I have made this our goal: one night per week is a night of worship where our family worships God and reads Scripture together. At least once per month, we go out on a kid-free date.
- Being ok with saying no. This is really hard for overachievers/over-committers such as myself; but I accepted this challenge at the beginning of this year, and it has been one of the most refreshing seasons in my life and the life of my family. We brought every opportunity to the Lord before making decisions on whether or not we should participate, both income-generating opportunities and volunteer opportunities. We focused on things that we could do together and that would not take away time from family.
We are by no means the “perfectly-balanced family,” (is there even such a thing?) but we have really enjoyed this season of refreshing. Even in the midst of situations that were outside of our control, we were able to find peace and joy amidst chaos. I pray that we would continue to build these habits as our family grows, and that you too would be able to find rest amidst the busyness.