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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

What goes on the plate?

I call this the honeymoon phase of our semester.
We have completed the first two weeks of the Bacak Nation Academy, and while I've been dropping in bed each night, exhausted (literally exhausted...once last week I fell asleep at 9:15pm. I haven't done that since I had the flu. And obviously too tired to blog!) we haven't had TOO much on our plate.
That sounds weird. Getting into the groove of a new semester, and especially teaching three kids, is plenty on my plate. So let me clarify.
My days are very full and I am full-time schooling, parenting, horse-Momming, cooking, hosting, etc. HOWEVER, some of the other things that tend to make my calendar threaten to explode, and me feel like I'm too busy to breathe, haven't really started yet.
The first two weeks of a semester, our nightly activities are up to our discretion, not pre-scripted and mandated.
So here's a question:
What are we going to put on our plate this semester?
If you are like me, it tends to be too much.
And I know me when it's too much. I'm not the best me. We're not the best us. And I'm not protecting my family and this home from OVER doing like I should.
As the manager of this home, I deal with scheduling our "stuff" most of the time, running questions by Rusty when needed.
And I think activities tend to multiply, don't you think? I think it's just a little thing, and then our activities started making babies like bunnies and it's out of control before I know it.
So I think we have to look at the bare minimum, and decide where to go from there.
The last two years have flown by so quickly, so busy, so hectic, that I don't think I enjoyed life, or savored it as I should be.
I think I gobbled it down whole and didn't even chew.
I don't want to do that! My kids are growing right before my very eyes. There are opportunities to share Christ, practically touching me, and I've been too busy to see it.
I don't want to live that way.
One challenge we face (and experienced Moms, help me out!) we have a lot of kids. And as they are growing, so does their level of activity.
Also, because we are homeschoolers, I want them to have opportunities to engage their peers, and for us to develop intentional relationships with lost people. The avenues opened up to us naturally for this are soccer, horses, 4H, for example.
So those things are important for more than one reason.
I don't want to strip away all activities.
Therefore, I think a conversation that would be helpful for me, and maybe some of you too, is how to be in something without doing everything. Every fundraiser, every class, clinic, every little thing that we put our names on sign-up sheets to do.
This is what kills us. Is this okay?
Is it irresponsible to be in something, and not do it all?
Or should we learn to say NO to things for the sake of our sanity?
I appreciated our pastor challenging us this week by asking us to stop and consider: What are our motives in saying YES to all we do? Is it recognition, or a true heart of service? And he even challenged us to have self-control in saying NO to good things, when they may not be for us. (I hope the "Rev. A. Diddy", as we affectionately call him around here, real name- Allen Duty, would not feel misquoted in this, but just in case, go to our church website and listen to a GREAT sermon from 9/6/09 called "Own the Vision." You will be so glad you did!)
So if you too want to ponder this, let's talk about what we put on our plates, and even hold eachother accountable to not having "eyes bigger than our stomachs" as we fill it up.


Brooke said...

weird.... i was JUST thinking about this whole idea yesterday.... granted i'm not a mom and don't have a full house to manage... but there's plenty of "good stuff" i could fill my time so much that i could go psycho in the process. i read somewhere recently that whenever we try to fill someone else's shoes in order to do a good thing... we're taking away their opportunity of service. since i just started a new job in a new city, making new friends.... it makes this whole idea easier to reconsider as i'm just beginning the making commitment phase to people/programs/priorities here. what got me thinking about it was when i was reading acts 6. the NLT says is in a way that kinda made me laugh out loud....
"2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word."

The apostles recognized they weren't there to do it all... even the good stuff (like the food program comment)... HOWEVER, that wasn't meant to be a low blow to the others as if they were too good for food programming. If you keep reading down the passage you'll see one of the one's called out to that "program" was Stephen (who the Bible says was full of faith and the Holy Spirit, grace and power... that's a bunch of cool things to be filled with!) And yet he wasn't too good for food programs either.

that's all i got for now. :) still trying to work out what the "God stuff" is in my life instead of just a bunch of "good stuff"

Anonymous said...

I have 4 kids about the same age as yours and I have learned over the years that I just can't do all the things I think we should do. I plan VERY FEW things- do the events that are required and even that can overtake our precious free time. I think if we fill our schedules with activities, the chance of staying above water are slim.

Jen said...

This is something our family, as most, wrestles through every Fall. There are so many wonderful opportunities for our families to be involved in, so many difficult choices to make. We are called to listen to Him, cling to Him, and ask Him to guide us through these choices. I was reminded of this last week in reading Mark 1:35-39. Jesus went out to a solitary place, early in the morning. After prayer, He moved on to a new town- though there were still unmet needs in the village He was staying in. I definitely need more of those solitary places in my life to pray and meet with God. There, He gives us wisdom on how much to put on our plates.
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Jen, and for the wisdom you model in bringing each decision to the Lord. Its so encouraging to see your transparency as you make big and small decisions for your family.