The Myth of Busy

I can't wait for June to be over. I hate saying that...but I did something I said I wouldn't do.

My husband listens to Chip Ingram. He's a great pastor and we enjoy listening to his program Living on the Edge. I tried to find the specific program I'm talking about in this blog post but I can't find it. Anyway, we listened to one of his program quite awhile back where he was talking about parents who put their kids in "stuff" - classes, practices, sports, groups, clubs - because their kids need to do all that, to be busy, to be fulfilled. They get stuck thinking they need to do all these activities or they're going to miss out and then everything starts falling apart. This isn't the *exact* quote I was looking for but it's close:

“I was beginning to experience this deep sense of passing in the night with the people I love the most — the ones under my own roof,” he said. “It seemed important that our kids participate in sports, church and music lessons. The more stuff we were involved in, the more I knew I needed more margin for time with God, for myself, for friendships, and deep family relationships.”

I'll admit, I was a bit smug upon hearing this program. I was proud to say happily that we weren't like that. I KNEW parents like that but thankfully, I was smart and we were content with our not-packed schedule. Ha!

Fast forward a year or two. My kids are a bit older. Opportunities arose. LOTS of them. And guess what?

I've got my kids in too many activities. I suppose to some it wouldn't be seen as too many but for our family it is. I was afraid they'd "miss out" and said yes to almost everything that came my way. Don't get me wrong - they're all good, meaningful activities. But we've got practices and games, classes, camps and projects, and a place (or multiple places) to be every single day. Morning sickness and my sinus headache probably aren't helping but the house is falling apart, the kid's rooms are disaster zones, they're so tired every night, I'm snippy, and I'm not sure when we last did devotions.

So last night after we got home from a ball game, when Zeke almost fell asleep standing up while trying to pick up his room before bed, when the baby was fussing because he was overtired, when Ellie said, "When are we going to read that book?" that's been sitting on the table unread for night after night...I thought, when do we get to have plain 'ol ordinary summer? Simple, unstructured, spontaneous summer! You know - popsicles, swimming, taking nature walks, reading books together on a blanket in the shade, having picnics outside, playing in the sprinkler....when does THAT get to happen?!

I tucked them all in and instead of collapsing in front of the TV and falling asleep like I have been, I put away my laundry and then laid down, read my Bible, and prayed. I prayed and asked God to give me direction. I confessed that I felt very worn out and oh so tired of running everywhere. Then I turned out the light and went right to sleep. And it has really made a difference today. Maybe not in my schedule but definitely in my outlook.

Today is still an insane day. Zeke has 4H camp all day, a 4H bike rodeo in the late afternoon, and a baseball practice tonight. I also have to run to the store, do dishes and laundry, pick up around the house, take care of the two other kids, make lunch & dinner, throw up from morning sickness, and whatever else I'm forgetting...but I've got a better perspective now. I know that (as cliche as it sounds) "this too shall pass" and this month will be gone. I also know that the "busy bug" can happen to anyone and that it sneaks up on you. Being busy for the sake of not being able to say no or because you think you NEED to do all those things does not fulfill anyone or make their life better.

So I'm taking it one day at a time now and spending time reading & praying each night before bed about the following day. I'm not making summer bucket lists or really planning much at all for the rest of the summer. We've got a family vacation to look forward to in July and my kids won't be scarred for life if they don't do every activity under the sun. I'm now looking forward to the rest of the summer.

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