I have an incredible girlfriend whose adult son was in an auto accident about 3 weeks ago. He has survived (although with traumatic brain injuries) and is having to slowly relearn the most basic of functions (like how to breathe) on his own again. Every time the son makes some progress, no matter how minor it might seem, my friend…his mother…rejoices at his progress. She praises God for his goodness with each small victory…because it is that…a victory.
While my girlfriend and her family are celebrating every nuance of her son’s life, I am struck by how much of my own life I am wasting…missing…allowing to slip past me in a blur. I’ve always been a busy social butterfly…flittering here and there…finding social interactions everywhere I turn but also able to “get stuff done.” Recently though, I started discovering more about my personality and found that I am a creative (Seriously, who’d have thunk it? Not this girl!) and I have been trying to test that side of me to see how it holds up: building things, tweaking or improving on already existing items, and creating art in order to discover what God would reveal to me within me. I have found that this is where real passion exists in me…I feel alive when I am doing it!
The problem? Well, I didn’t make any changes to my life other than adding in these new projects to an already full-to-bursting schedule. I kept adding on…more…and more…and there have been consequences…real tangible consequences: I have not yet eaten lunch with my children at their school this school year, we have gotten out of the habit of reading together as a family in the evenings, we haven’t had a family game night in months, writing has been something that I think fondly about but never get to do, and my mind doesn’t know how to settle down at bed time anymore. These may seem minor to you but they are big for me because they are things that I would consider to be among my priorities…but by looking at how I spend my time and energy, no one would guess that those are my priorities.
So, recently, I gave a talk in our marriage class about fun and connectedness and one of the big points that I made was about our out-of-control schedules…how every time we say “yes” to something, we are saying “no” to something else because time is a finite resource. I think we get stuck in a habit of saying yes to good things and we feel ok about it because we look at it and think “I’m doing what I should because this is a good thing.” Before we know it, our lives are full of good things and we end up missing the best things: sneaking into the kids rooms after they fall asleep and watching their chests rise and fall with their breath, snuggling on the couch in the quiet house with the pups while they each try to burrow in closer to me than the other one, taking the time to let my husband know that I am still excited to study him and learn who he is and what his heartbeat is about…these are the moments that make a life…accomplishing things is not a life…it’s a to-do list. (Yes, Bible studies are great but do you need to participate in 10 of them? Where is the cutoff?) The task before us isn’t to fit as much as we possibly can into our lives…the most productive person does not actually win…the American Dream of having and doing it all…is falling short (in my esteem.) I think my goal is to do less…to accomplish little…but to live more…and to learn to see and celebrate the little things that make it a life…the things that I take for granted every day…the things that my sweet friend is praising God for when her son is able to experience them for another day in that hospital room. It’s time to celebrate the every-day miracles: life’s breath, deep renewing sleep, fits of belly laughter that leave me out of breath and with a cramp, the warmth of my children’s bodies as they sit next to me on the couch, holding my husband’s gaze as we communicate across the room without moving or saying anything, and truth spoken to my heart by El Roi (God who sees me.)
How are you doing with this? Is your life flying by? Are you experiencing your life or missing it? What is your purpose? Does how you spend your time reflect your purpose? Do the people that you love know that they are a part of your purpose? Are they a part of your life or a part of your to-do list? We can’t change the past but we can absolutely make changes today…what changes do you need to implement in order to live in a way that shows what your heart beats for?
My prayer this morning is that we would slow down and look with honesty at our time and how we spend it. I am praying that we would feel convicted about areas of busy-ness that need to change as well as areas of neglect that need our attention. I am praying that we would not take for granted what my friend’s son is fighting to accomplish…that we would not waste the good gifts that our loving God has granted us…and that we would not trade in God’s best for something that is merely good. Much love friends,