“Don’t let the speed of society be your pace car tempting you to speed ahead of
yourself in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses’ busy status updates.”
(from page 144 of “Let.It.Go.” by Karen Ehman)
Just as eating too much ice cream can cause us to gain weight, an over-busy schedule can also weigh us down. I’m thankful Karen has provided her readers with several tools to help trim the fat off our schedules. These are some that have helped me through the years:
Consider setting number limits:
My daughter was 6 when she wanted to take both soccer and t-ball one spring. Soccer practice was one day a week with games on Saturday, my son had karate twice a week, AWANA was on Wednesday nights and church on Sunday. At her first t-ball practice, my then 10-year-old son wisely proclaimed, “Mom, we’re already busy and now we’ll have something every day of the week. Why can’t she just choose one thing?” Wow….out of the mouths of babes! After practice I asked my daughter to choose, and we gave her t-ball registration fee to a needy child. From then on my children chose just ONE activity outside of church. It helped our family’s stress level then, and I can tell it’s helped them in their adult lives now.
The less you’re involved in, the less your schedule will scream, and the less you just might too:
I’m very ashamed to admit that there’s been times that I’ve taken on way too much. I was a stay-at-home mom, heavily involved in PTO, head classroom mom, Sunday school teacher, AWANA leader and VBS director. Halfway through the 6th grade, we felt led to take our son out of public school to home school him. We kept our daughter in public school since she was doing very well there and I didn’t want to leave my obligations in the middle of the school year. What ensued was one VERY stressed out mama who yelled a lot. It was awful. I was awful. My schedule was so bad, I actually asked my husband if we could hire a housekeeper for a few months as my Christmas present (he agreed, and that helped immensely). When the school year was over, I stepped back from some things and even declined a PTO officer position.
Dare to be different:
I used to decorate the exterior and interior of my home for every season. After a lady at church explained to me how she started decorating her home for Christmas as soon as Halloween was over, I looked at how much time I allotted for decorating. Now I just hang different wreaths on my front door that I change 5 or 6 times a year (if I remember!), and I decorate just a little at Christmas. This has not only saved me time and money, but also from the unnecessary stress. This works for me, and I don’t allow myself to feel guilty just because my home isn’t decorated to a Martha Stewart-like perfection—I have more time now for serving and gardening.
Say yes because you feel called, not because you consider yourself capable: I became a Christian at 33, so it took me awhile to recognize this one. Having the gift of helps, I honestly felt led to help where I thought I could (notice the emphasis on “thought”?). Now, when someone asks me to do something, I tell them I need to pray about it first, and then do so before I give them an answer. Just because I think I can help, doesn’t mean I should. God is God, and I am not!!
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (NIV)