I am reminded how quickly life moves forward, and we are often pulled along what can feel like a run-away train.
The train our family has been on has been racing for many years now. In the last few months, it has felt like we are just trying to hold on with all we have. God has given us the strength to get through, and we are grateful for that. But as we look at this new year, I am aware that this pace, this feeling of anxiety that at any moment my grip could slip, is not healthy nor sustainable.
What do we do? The fact is what we are spending most our time on is necessary to complete this phase. Plans have to be made, packing has to be done, Jesh needs to invest in his work so he can pass his exam, and oh yeah, he also needs to study. Our children need to get to school, tummies full, and the never-ending list of household demands can't be ignored (at least not forever).
The irony is that as the schedules get tighter and the lists longer, I allow them take away what gives me the most sustenance. I trade my quiet time in the morning for a little extra sleep, my prayer time for re-organizing my lists. I run around trying to get things done, only to realize I have forgotten something and now the errand has to be done again. My days become chaotic and less-productive, my temper is short. It feels like at any moment the train is going to derail.
Over the holiday, I have been looking over a book I had previously read called "Ordering Your Private World" by Gordon MacDonald. As I have reviewed the many quotes and underlined portions, I am reminded of the importance of bringing order into my daily life. I am reminded that "not everything that cries the loudest is the most urgent" (unless, of course, we are referring to our 4 month old:).
MacDonald suggests "if my private world is in order, it is because I have begun to seal the "time leaks" and allocated my productive hours in light of my capabilities, my limits, and my priorities". He quotes C.S. Lewis' "Letters to an American Lady":
"Don't be too easily convinced that God really wants you to do all sorts of
work you needn't do. Each must do his daily duty "in the state of life to
which God has called him." Remember that a belief in the virtue of doing
for doing's sake is characteristically feminine, characteristically American,
and characteristically modern: so that three veils may divide you from
the correct view! There can be impertinence in work just as in drink.
What feels like zeal may be only fidgets or flattery of one's self-importance.
By doing what "one's station and its duties" does not demand, one
can make oneself less fit for the duties it does demand and so commit
some injustice. Just you give Mary a little chance as well as Martha."
I find it easy to be Martha, busying myself with all that needs to be done, but missing the point. Missing Who I am doing it all for.
The next 8 months are quite possibly the most demanding our family has experienced yet. I am sure there will be many days when slowing down feels like a luxury I can't afford. And yet, I want to remember to keep perspective. To prioritize, and not allow the distractions of the world around me to pull me in all directions. I want to remember Who I am living for.
The One who can ultimately make our plans succeed, in spite of us.