Are you busy? Doesn’t it seem like everyone is busy all the time? Life seems a bit like the blur of background of the merry-go-round. Every once in a while it slows down enough that we can look around and ask “where has life gone?” Have you ever asked yourself, “Who is keeping the merry-go-round spinning?” and “Why do I stay on?” Let’s break it down and see if we can slow it down long enough to figure it out.
Let me ask you a question. While life is whirring by, are you merry? (Other than at Christmas?!?!) When life is whizzing past me at mach 2, I am anything BUT joyful. Frazzled would be a more apt description. When I’m harried, I’m certainly not spreading any merriment or good cheer in my family. You? Well, when it comes right down to it, WE are responsible for the speed of the merry-go-round, but most of the time, it doesn’t FEEL like it.
So, if I am in charge of the merry-go-round and I don’t like it spinning wildly out of control, then why does it? Like I was telling my daughters just this morning, “I want you to have heard satan’s lies ahead of time so that when he tries to use them on you, you will recognize and reject them as what they truly are.” Well, the same needs to be true for me and for you. If I’m letting my schedule, my commitments, my LIFE, whirl OUT of control, that means I’ve handed over control- whether consciously in surrender or unconsciously.
What lies have we listened to that have eased our grip on the control of our lives? “The more I DO, the more important I must be.” “You can handle one more thing. Nothing will suffer.” Or a biggy for me, “But if I don’t do it, no one will.”
I read an email forward years ago that stuck with me. It used the word busy and made an acronym out of it. Being Under Satan’s Yoke. (You can read the whole thing here.) That alone is enough to have me grabbing for my red sharpie and the family calendar! But read it a couple of times. Can you think of anything in Scripture that would give you the idea that busy-ness and out of control are part of His plan? A few of you may be saying, “But the diapers have to be changed, the baby fed, dinner started for the family, and… no one has any clean clothes!!!” That season, my friend, is a tough one. It is one for lowering expectations and doing lots of training of the “helpers” so that the season doesn’t last any longer than it has to! But for those of you in the season of running to and fro, it’s different. There’s still dinner and laundry, but they aren’t what have you feeling frazzled. It’s the pull. The subtle cranking up of the speed on the merry-go-round until you realize life if whirring past again.
A deacon said to the pastor one day, “I’ve discovered how satan keeps me from God.” “How?” the pastor inquired. “He just speeds up the merry-go-round.” The more he said yes to opportunities for activity in his family, church, and job, he found he had to say no to time with God.
(Read more of this great sermon outline by C. Gene Wilkes at Lifeway.)
Let’s sit up, take notice, and decide to NOT let satan hold the remote control on our merry-go-rounds! What can we do to take the remote control back?
- Grab that red sharpie! Sit down with your calendar and pray about what you see on it. Ask the Lord, what things that we do are actually BEARING FRUIT in our lives? Helping us grow in the Lord, grow as a family, or grow in a needed skill. Anything that’s just so so, gets a slash.
- Intentionally create some SPACE! If you need to write it into your calendar- date night, relaxing afternoon, extra long quiet time- do it. The truth is, most things take longer than we think they will. Commitments require more preparation and activities end up dragging on. Let’s stop booking back to back and find space for the still small voice to get in a whisper.
- Recover and guard your margins. If you struggle in this area of overloading and you’ve never read Margin by Dr. Richard Swenson, you should! (Disclosure: that is an affiliate link. Should you rush over and buy the book, it would support this ministry. :-)) Dr. Swenson points out well how we fill up every minute and use up every last dollar. It’s like writing from one edge of the page right on over to the other edge without leaving any white space around the edges. No buffer.
- Recognize time as a fleeting resource- a gift given by God. As the quote on my shelf says, “Enjoy life. This isn’t a dress rehearsal.” We don’t get this time or season back. Be sure you’re reading stories, tucking in and giving kisses, having time to start those important conversations, and paying attention to the messages left between the lines.
God bless your efforts to dial down the speed on your merry-go-round so that you can enjoy the passing scenery.
Keeping it purposeful,