Many years ago, our family left the city where we were living, all the stresses, duties, chores, tension of living in close quarters with too many sinful people, .....We left our life amongst the world of responsibility and the closer we drove into the cool, refreshing mountain air, away from traffic, noise, our hearts began to rest and breathe.We had piled in our car to drive up into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to have an evening exploring the stars with beloved friends in the backyard of their mountain home that bordered the national forest. I have written the story in a chapter in Own Your Life.
The grandeur of that evening still lives in my heart. The spectacular views of the twinkling stars above contrasted with the sparkling city lights below, and viewing an amazing sight in the lens of a telescope looking into the heavens, gave me a different perspective of my life. I was so hyper-focused on the mundane, the immediate, the work of life, and yet there was so much more of beauty, light, life to be tasted, experience, enjoyed every day, but I could not see it because the false lights of the world and the noisy voices of others had drowned out the beauty of God.
Bible stories really are amazing. We identify with the characters that lived, we struggle with the same things, we have the same excuses.
"But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.' But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." -Luke 10:40-42
How did I get to this seasons of my life? I meant to enjoy each day, to remember each funny antic of my darling children, to memorize the golden moments that had made the love in our home so special to my heart.
howMuch of my life was lived at such a pace, however, that I felt like I was always in a hurry to get some place or to complete a task. Perhaps in some ways, I was also trying to prove myself--to justify my decisions, to perform well.
These overcommitted times turned me into more a drill sergeant than a loving companion. How easy it is to focus on all of our "to do's" and to miss the magical moments of childhood and celebrating it together rather than gutting it out in frustration. How easy it is to focus on all of our "to do's" and to miss the magical moments of childhood and celebrating it together rather than gutting it out in frustration.
I am more aware than ever that life flies by. The most important investment I have made in my life is to seek to love deeply, when I took the time to do so. Learning this took time and a heart to learn to see what really mattered.
Loving my children and husband has required sacrificing my schedule and expectations in order to have time to listen, to be a friend, to share mutual joys and to cry together. Taking time to love well usually requires a simpler life that has the flexibility to cultivate "best friendships" with those are most dear. But, we live with such piles on our shoulders and feel so strongly the "Oughts" and "Must do's" that we work and work and work and exhaust ourselves and miss so much of life.
Statistics show that 88% of mothers feel severely stressed and overcome with anxiety due to poor time management and difficulty prioritizing. In a hectic world that is over-stimulated on our phones, computers, social media, and Starbucks addictions, are we losing sight of what is truly important in the midst of the balancing act? My mind ponders the fact that we were simply not designed to multitask to this extent. We often try so
to juggle one million ideals, and once we drop one of them, we feel defeated.
As mothers and wives, it is absolutely crucial that we learn to breath, relax, and focus in on what should be prioritized. Life is short and ideals are constantly interrupted, so be sure to focus on the most important. The people in our lives should be the priority. Do the priority people in your life (your children, your husband, your friends) feel that you are often distracted by all the things you do? Do they comment on how much they appreciate your ability to give full attention to them or do they complain that you are not listening?
Are you so stressed about making your home squeaky clean that you don't make time for game night or a stroll at sunset? Is your mind so preoccupied with getting back to the kitchen to clean all the dishes that you forget to actually enjoy dinner with your family? Did you fill your day with so many errands and "have-to's" that you ran out of energy to extend a kind word, an affectionate kiss and warm greeting to your husband? Are you so busy noticing the immature antics of your toddler or noisy boy or girl, that you have forgotten to really look at them and see the wonder of their unique personality and heart?
Indeed, we must learn to stop and smell the roses. God even made them smell like perfume, so that besides giving the vibrant reds to please our eyes, he gave them a fragrance that would engage our senses.
Psalm 90:10,12 tells us:
"As for our days, they contain 70 years or if due to strength, 80, but soon it is gone and will fly away. So teach us to number our days that we might present to you a heart of wisdom."
Worst of all, busyness is the neglect of our Father. He is so ready to give peace, to guide us in wisdom through His gentle voice, but if we do not still our souls, we are likely to get into a snit as Martha did. We create our own snits by refusing to take time to be comforted in the presence of our living, loving Father.
We must make time to sit at His feet so we don't get into a huff. If you are too busy, the consequences will be grumpiness, frustration, and missed opportunities.
What is causing you the most stress and depleting your life? What can you do about it?
Being women of wisdom means setting realistic goals so that we don't become drained. When we are constantly operating on a tank of gas that is almost empty, we have little in our hearts from which others may draw. It is so easy to listen to the voices of others and feel the guilt of performing up to other's expectations, instead of committing to the limitations and strengths of our own puzzle of life.
Make a list today of what you can reasonably accomplish and cut out those drainers that are unnecessary. What do you need to cut out? What do you need to add to your life to give your children more of a sense of love, peace and affection? Getting our priorities in order enables us to be better mothers, wives, friends, and women of God.
Today, each of has a choice--will we take time to celebrate the joys that God has provided? the beauty that He wants us to explore? The sweetness of intimacy that comes from investing heart time with those we love.
Take time to experience His pleasure. Remember: "Taste and see that the Lord is good."
The chores and responsibilities will always be there, but the time to invest in the ones we love, will soon be gone.