If you fly over New York City, Central Park kind of looks like this wasted green space. There in the heart of this bustling city is this lump of grass. Imagine all the buildings and commerce and innovation we could put on that space! But New York City knows that, without Central Park, it would combust. It would implode and collapse on itself without that space, that sanctuary. The problem is that most people have put buildings on top of every part of their lives. They have no Central Park in their day or their week or their month. That’s how you’ve been living. It’s time to knock down some buildings. You need to cultivate your own Central Park.
From Start. by Jon Acuff
Ummm, busyness? We work full time and have kids and spouses and family and friends, so of course we’re busy. Have you ever met a working mom who had a wide open calendar?
In the grand scheme of thing, this battlefield seems the most harmless. Looking back over this week’s series covering working moms battlefields of drinking and reacting and weight, busyness just seems inevitable.
That’s why it’s the most insidious.
This conversation from Jon Acuff’s tremendous book, Start, illustrates what we need most. Because we really do more than just go to work and parent.
I’m the absolute best worst-example. This year’s busyness was unintentional. I took a new job. One God totally led me to and I feel completely blessed and guided to this place. But you work extra hard at a new job because you have to prove yourself to a new set of people. Then I released a book this summer. Another opportunity that God opened up for me and one that has led to some incredible opportunities for this ministry. But my kids started a new school, my husband got a promotion, I was elected to a non-profit board, and my speaking calendar filled up. Central Park was losing acreage by the minute.
This is what I did. I stepped down from every other single commitment I had beside my job and the nonprofit. I stopped accepting speaking engagements through January. I committed to my family, and informed my Board, that I would be home for dinner all but one night a week. I cleared weekend commitments for the remainder of the year after this week so that I had from Friday at 5 pm to Monday at 8 am to spend with my family and to regroup. I also refused to enroll my kids in any non school time activities this first year they were in a new school (which was also their first time going five days a week).
It is not perfect. I am busy. And we working mothers are busy. But there are boundaries we can draw and there are opportunities we can defer and there are calendars that can be reordered to mirror our priorities. These are my priorities:
1. Knowing God.
2. Serving my family – kids AND husband.
3. Working diligently for my company.
4. Everything else.
At the top of that everything else is speaking and writing, so I do find time for it. But the time comes after the other priorities have been tended. Not always. I fail at this all the time and am constantly reassessing. And this doesn’t mean working moms get no “non work” time away from kids. I love my children and my priority is to raise them in a loving and encouraging home where they learn about the goodness of God. But I do make time to recharge (me and my marriage). I will be at Allume this weekend with my fellow Christian blogging girlfriends. Bray and I try to leave for the weekend for our anniversary and we go on dates. This is a unique decision for each woman. For me, I seek God’s guidance to make the right decisions, and apologize and do better next time if I mess up. Let’s offer each other a little grace?
My mom always says, “If you wear yourself out doing all this stuff then you’ll be of no use to anyone.” Well, the Bible says the same thing (good advice, mom!). It also offers hope. Look at your calendar. Look at your life and your priorities. If you see it’s time to unplug, know that God encourages you to come away and He will recharge you – make sure you have a Central Park in your life’s busy city.
Isaiah 40 – Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Jeremiah 30 – I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
Matthew 11 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
If I can close this series by urging that we encourage one another on in the faith. Let’s bear each other up and share each other’s burdens. Let me thank so many of you who walked through this series with me this week. It is incredibly difficult and painful to share imperfections. But hopefully by sharing struggles we can create a community of understanding and support that makes each of us individually better.