Thursday, March 14, 2013

Slow Down


  We are all so busy with various things every day. Paying bills, keeping up with basic household chores, family obligations, grocery shopping, let alone adding young children to take care of in the mix.  We are also presented with so many options for activities, so many things to do. So many classes we "have" to sign the kids up for. So many things we "have" to be involved in. One thing I have realized in my personal journey with "busyness" is that I don't have to do a lot of these things, I have a choice.

We are made for a lot of activity and to enjoy the things God has put on earth. We want to help our children develop their talents and for them to learn. A lot of these things are great. But how much is too much?

As mothers, when we have young children, our daily life in the home can be busy enough. Add in getting the kids diapers changed before we leave, getting them dressed, packing their snacks and getting ourselves ready to get out of the house and you are ready for a nap.

I have fallen into the busyness trap so often. Thinking I have to be "doing" something always, or I'm not useful as a person. So many things were idle and time wasters. It leads to burn out.

God really pressed this on my heart. Slow down. Don't ignore those I've placed right in front of you. I began to realize that first and foremost my time should be given to my family.  They are placed right in front of my nose! Why would I overlook them for outside busyness? They come first, other activities second.  Even activities that are for the kids can take away from the peace of the family. I am not bound by the outside busyness trap of the world anymore. 

I reevaluated our schedule and eliminated the unnecessary. We still have activities, we still have things we are involved in and I will still sign the kids up for a class or two. But I am careful now to judge carefully what will raise our stress levels as a family or run us ragged. I will think carefully about each social event presented and whether it is worth the time, effort, possible money spent and possible stress to me or my children and family. If it isn't necessary, it is given a no.  No? What? Yes, I said, NO! That is the hardest part, saying no. You can't please everyone. Yes, it is sometimes necessary to make extra effort for a wonderful friend or for family and sometimes it will even cause stress. But we can judge if that extra is worth it. Some things are just time fillers, busy activities. We need to look closely at those. Those activities are the ones stressing us out and probably stressing our kids out. They are also distracting. What are they distracting from? God and those He has placed in front of us. Do we have quiet time with God? Do we stop and teach our children about Jesus? How can we have that time and instill those things in their hearts if we are busy all the time? We can't. Here's where that cheesy saying comes in:
B. U. S. Y. "Being Under Satan's Yolk". Busyness binds us. It distracts us from God. Too much can be a spiritual hindrance, a block in our walk with Christ.

I can't have time outside with my children, to play with their toys and enjoy the sunshine if I am always busy. I won't have time to sing hymns and songs with them and teach them scripture if we are always running here and there. I won't have time to play chalk outside with them or read to them, or play our own made up games. They won't have time to play with their trains. We can't enjoy the house we've worked to make into a home, a refuge. My husband and I can't take a break during their naps on the weekends if we are so busy!

The Lord has been speaking to my heart lately. Maybe I put things on my plate that were never meant to be there! Maybe He did NOT call me to all this busyness?! Revolutionary! So I've begun to focus on what He has called me too. And everything is falling into place  There will be busy days still, simply with the things that ARE worth doing. But I have no problem having a day without "activity" outside the home. (all of us mothers know that even those days are still busy tending to young children) I've begun to pray about what activities should be on my plate and where God wants our time as a family and where we need to find rest.

You will also notice that the removal of constant busyness then produces a more peaceful home. It's restful, peaceful, and a place of growth. A place where Jesus dwells. Because there is time to dwell in Him.

The Bible is not full of people who ran here and there filling their days with endless and sometimes useless activities. They were busy for God, they were living life, and they were growing in Christ. Nowhere does it suggest that if we are not busy always that we are letting God down. Nowhere does it suggest if we don't sign our children up for every sport or church activity that we are failures. In fact the Bible states the opposite:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17

We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. Psalm 39:6

Mothers, we all know we need to train our children, and be their nurturers. This takes time, it takes quality time. Our kids don't need every class, every social event, every activity. They need us and they need Jesus, and they need us to show them Jesus. So slow down, for your children and for yourself. Need to take a bath during the kids nap? Do it! And add some bath salts in and bubble bath! Take time to put lotion on yourself afterwards and don't feel "bad" about it! Schedule in some time for self care too! Read the Bible during the kids nap, even a Psalm or two. You will feel refreshed. Schedule a few days per week (if you can) of just being at home with your children without the rush of getting out of the house. Teach them a scripture, take a walk and sing songs, look at the leaves and the sky. Hug them, kiss them and have the name of Jesus on your lips and slow down. 

  We need to not be so focused on accomplishments and be more focused on relationships.  With God, our husbands, and our children, our friends and our extended families. There is also a difference between feeling tired at the end of a long day and feeling burnt out with busyness. Too much busyness is toxic to the body, soul, and your relationships.

Ask yourself, if this concept of busyness and slowing down scares you, "what am I so afraid of?" Is it that you will have to spend time with God and truly listen to what He is telling you? That you'll truly have to spend time with your children and husband? What are you blocking? Issues within yourself? WHY is your time so filled in an unhealthy manner?! Are you afraid of societal pressure and that you'll actually have a "free" day and what others will think? Why do you keep yourself so busy? Do you have any time amongst all of your busyness to reflect, to work on yourself, to pray? Do you have time to rest in Christ?

I have learned to take this lesson on busyness with me throughout my life. I no longer have to live as a slave to the worlds busyness. I want to enjoy the gifts God has set before me, not be too busy for them, no matter how old I am!

Pray and ask God what He intends to fill your days with and what His purposes are for your time. Be willing to listen and obey and drop the unnecessary. Then embrace the peace that comes from getting rid of busyness.

"Even the sparrow finds a home there, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young-a place near your altar. O Lord Almighty, my King and my God! How happy are those who can live in your house, always singing your praises." Psalm 84:3-4

"This is what the Lord says: Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel it's path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, No! That's not the road we want." Jeremiah 6:16

"If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." Proverbs 3:24