Granted its just Day Two! But my agenda is nearly filled for the entire month with summer slipping between my fingers. On one hand, I am mourning the lazy days of summer that I hardly even had. On the other hand, I’m ready for a schedule again; the predictability and routine.
Ready or not, August brings change. In some ways August gives hope for the new… in other ways it ushers back the busyness that just a couple short months ago we were longing to escape.
A predicament that leads to some questions to consider:
- With this new school year and resumed activities how can we keep our lives in balance?
- What shall we prioritize?
- What do we say “No” to?
- How can we protect our marriages and family time?
These are questions I begin thinking through each year on our drive back from Colorado. I have found if I don’t ask these questions to help me schedule in what I want to prioritize, it is too easy for my days to fill up without ever getting to the things I say are most important.
My starting point for my calendar in what I want to prioritize revolve around the only two things that are eternal – God’s Word and God’s people.
Most of you know my husband is a pastor so Sunday worship is a given. But the fact that he is a pastor is not why Sunday worship is the first priority on my weekly to-do. Sunday worship should be the highlight! It is where we step out of the world that knocks us down to be filled back up again by the Word of God so that we are ready to face again the broken world we live in. And then come the next Sunday, we will need to be put back together and filled up again by His grace.
But I also need the Word all week long! This means for me getting up early before my kids so I can have focused time in His Word and in prayer. This is different than the time I also set aside as a Bible study teacher and writer to prepare my lessons. By trial and error I have learned that even though this is not a job in the sense that I get paid, it must be scheduled as if I were.
Otherwise, if I’m asked to volunteer or do some other “good” thing it would be easy to say “yes”, but would take me away from my first priorities. Of course, there are always exceptions, but generally I need to treat those other things as extras that if they can fit in here and there, great. If not, no guilt!
Now, my husband and kids. This school year my husband and I are committed to a weekly date. We’ve been bad about not fitting one in, not because we haven’t wanted to but the reality of where we are in life! Every night is filled with kids’ activities and Saturday nights is out as he must work on his sermons. This leaves Friday; however, Friday night is the only possibility for dinner with friends or supervising/driving our children to be with their friends! So this year, something that will work for us – a weekday lunch.
As for our kids, they are the ones that take up most of my calendar. But shuffling them to and from activities or watching them in their activities does not necessarily count for prioritized time with them (though car time is a great time for conversations!). No matter what though they each need our time; time for intentional talking, teaching and fun. For this to happen regularly, sometimes it means telling them “NO” to their social life with friends or even youth group type stuff so we get enough quality time alone with our own kids!
I also want to invest in friendships, old and new. This happens by purposefully planning time in to my calendar to be available to grab lunch, coffee, a workout, a run or even knitting with a friend.
While I am primarily a stay-at-home mom (with a fun very part-time job at Anthropologie) just the above mentioned things fill my calendar; often still too full. I share this with you because I hear so many moms feeling stressed and trying to do it ALL. All the while feeling like they aren’t doing any of it well and often neglecting what they say are their most important priorities. So if this helps you think through how you want your school year to go or be different than the past, great. At the very least I’ve given you a glimpse in to why I don’t do the many things I could and what drives me to do what I do.
Many blessings as you too begin to prayerfully consider this August what will shape your year!
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