(Note from Kat: Today’s guest post is from Jane Graham.)
There was a time when a mere sideways glance at our family calendar made my eyes blur. Scheduled days tumbled into frenetic evenings spent running from one place to the next, and I was missing my kids.
I tucked them in at night, wishing for more time. I considered letting them skip school, and fantasized about whisking them off to some secret tide pool at the edge of the ocean where we could sit and play and talk.
Despite my efforts to carve out a few small slices of sacred time, I felt like I was losing the battle. I felt as though this thing with little numbered squares—this calendar—was dictating a life that I didn’t want to live.
So this summer as leaves hinted at the autumn to come, my husband and I talked about our priorities and about the kind of home we wanted to shelter. We laid out his job responsibilities, my own increasing workload, athletics, music lessons, and church commitments.
Not surprisingly, we decided that something had to go. The tough part was finding consensus on where to let the scalpel fall when each item on the list seemed to be important and worthy of our investment.
Can you believe that at the end of the night we decided to step away from our Wednesday night church activities?
I’ll be honest—I struggled with that for a little while. I thought, how can we leave a Jesus thing? How can I pull my kids from this program? What about their spiritual formation?
But then softly, like the loving Father he is, God spoke into my fears and uncertainty, reminding me that the spiritual formation of our children, while aided and blessed by our church, was ultimately our job anyway.
He reminded me that what my husband and I say and do and model within the walls of our home will make a much more indelible imprint upon their fledgling hearts than anything coming from an outside voice.
He assured me that sometimes even good things are not always beneficial.
Our family needed that extra night to be together and not scattered; we needed to reconnect.
To do devotions after supper without rushing out the door to the next event.
To sit in the quiet and read a book together.
To model Jesus right in our own living room.
For us, this year has been the most peaceful and relaxed in recent memory. And while we’ve had to tweak and re-order other areas of our life, making this one decision has radically changed the pace and joy in our home.
Next time your calendar feels like it’s taking on a life of its own, reconsider your priorities. Shut yourself away from the world and the expectations of others and listen for that still, small voice guiding your every step.
Often, I’ve found, the hardest choices are looked back on as the sweetest.
Have you struggled to maintain a healthy calendar of family commitments? What have you let go of? Click here to join the discussion.
About the Author:
Jane Graham and her family enjoy sand underfoot and sun overhead. Her husband and three children keep her busy making cookies and giant water-balloon launchers. She blogs about faith at girlmeetspaper.com, and about intentional parenting at unofficialhomeschooler.com.