Presently, I am in an extremely busy season of life. Our family life is full of the joy of a granddaughter, launching my youngest into the adult world and preparing for my younger daughter’s wedding. We are in the midst of our busier time of year at work and it seems that in completing one task, simultaneously two new ones are added to the list. My husband and I have launched our own little fledgling business in our spare time, and it seems to have taken off. Sometimes life is so busy that the goodness of it all escapes me. The busy-ness of this season is very much like the busy-ness of the homeschooling years.
When my children were growing up, I got caught up in the constant flurry of activity found in the homeschool community. Pressed in and put upon by this notion that my homeschooled children would be un-socialized, would lack educational opportunities or be deprived of some integral life experiences, we found at times that there was little time at home in our homeschooling lifestyle. It was busy and chaotic.
During this time, I also involved myself in several ministries that were near and dear to my heart. Most of them were places God specifically pointed me to and places where my spiritual gifts were well suited, but in a small church I often took on more than I could manage. The fallout of that over-commitment landed squarely on my family. When I began going to bed at night calculating the least amount of hours I could sleep and still get everything accomplished tomorrow, I realized it was time to make a change. I had left no margins whatsoever in my life for rest. Some of my joys in life, reading and writing, had gone by the wayside. There were days that buzzed by when I hadn’t spent one moment really connecting with my children – days that I’ll never get back.
In life there are times when we are busy in ways that cannot be helped. My daughter and her fiancée are buying a house and planning a wedding. This spot on the timeline of their lives is unavoidably busy. However, this will come to an end. Once the cake has been cut and the mortgage is in place, their lives will move forward to the next thing. The kind of busy-ness I’m referring to are the everyday things that we load ourselves down with that take the joy right out of living. When we create a life without margins, we are doing great things while often missing the best of what life has to offer. It took a long time, but I have learned to say no with grace to things that are not conducive to my goal of living an intentionally peaceful life. One of the best years we had while homeschooling was a year we took off of all outside activities – no choir, no soccer, no swimming lessons, no art class, and no co-op. I learned from that experience that my children didn’t feel deprived by the lack of formal activities, but released from the burden of them. They laughed more, explored more, created more and built closer bonds as siblings over that year.
In the same way that I learned back them, I’m intentionally creating some new margins in my life. I hope I’ve inspired you to do the same. Those margins are where all the truly good stuff is.
Photo Credit: Taken by Luis Llerena, graphic design by Charity Klicka.