Why you should take back your family calendar

Kelli Crawford

At the end of a typically crazy busy week, we look in the mirror on Sunday morning and wonder, Why are we doing this?

Though divorce, addiction, and depression may win the most headlines for defeating families, often there is an “undercover” predator luring us into these and other family struggles: busyness. We and our kids seem overtired, baggy-eyed, and irritable.

I was reading one article where the writer described how “ a life bulging with activity nearly became a trap for our daughter…” Most of us know well this “bulging activity” that threatens to consume our families, our sanity, and our health.

God’s best for us is not being crazy busy, but being peacefully still.

Schedule saturation and the resulting family calendar chaos has us zooming in all directions at break-neck speed, and we know we are headed for an inevitable crash. Life has become a NASCAR race with 500 laps but too few pit stops, so quickly we run out of gas and blow off our wheels from sheer exhaustion.

How Did We Get So Busy?

In the last 40 years, the pace and busyness of the average person’s life seems to have doubled. We now have more access to things to do, as worldwide communication delivers new recreation ideas multiple times a day. We see every activity being done by every people group on the planet, and we feel driven to be that versatile, that trendy, that competitive, and so on.

If we see 7-year-olds in Sweden playing rugby four times a week, we think, Oh! My kids don’t know rugby! Let’s start that with the recreation department, along with soccer, football, volleyball, baseball, Zumba, line dancing, yoga, pottery and canvas painting!

Our intentions are good, but we soon overload ourselves and our families with a frantic pace and major pile-up of places to be and people to see. This leaves us little quality time to just be with each other, rest, play outside, and have meaningful conversations. Though we don’t always see the connection, busyness corners us into traps which sabotage our relationships and our health.

How Do We Escape From Busyness?

1. Recognize and acknowledge — we are trapped!

When we are enslaved to anything other than Jesus, we are trapped (John 8:34-36). The first step to breaking free from busyness is acknowledging the ways it enslaves us.

2. Be still and listen for God’s guidance.

God will use the Bible, good counsel from wise friends, sermons, songs, and more to show us a way of escape, but we must be still and quiet enough to hear Him. God offers us stillness and rest, and He promises to give us what we need:

  • “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth’” (Psalm 46:10).
  • “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).
  • “Show me Your ways, LORD, Teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, For You are God my Savior, And my hope is in You all day long” (Psalm 24:4-5).

3. Resist and reject the lure of the trap.  

We may be viewed as “backward” or “old-fashioned,” but when God says we need to trim back our activities, we should accept His pruning shears and start cutting away the bindings of the trap. GotQuestions.org explains the dangers of busyness this way:

“Our culture promotes “bigger and better” and subtly challenges us to keep up. Whew! Who made these rules anyway? Satan loves to keep us running in circles trying to beat the clock. If he can distract us, he can minimize our usefulness to the Kingdom of God. Satan may be the Prince of Darkness, but he is also the Duke of Distraction.

As Christians, we cannot allow ourselves to be swept away in the undercurrent of the cultural stopwatch. Romans 12:2 says, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’”

Move Forward in Freedom

Taking steps toward a less busy lifestyle may indeed draw some criticism and/or misunderstanding from our friends and neighbors who are still in the busyness trap. Our best response is to invite them to join us in the freedom of escape, into the life with time for rest, meaningful conversations, and undisturbed thinking and prayer. Others may not understand our choices at first, but when they see us enjoying our freed-up lives, they may just ask us, “So, what’s your secret?”

You can boldly take your first step today to escape the busyness trap. Why stay in the trap any longer?  

God’s best for us is not being crazy busy, but being peacefully still.

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