It’s my son’s senior year. He’s an athlete and his final football season was quite demanding. This is also the year where school decisions are being made, standardized test (ACT) scores are undeniably critical, and senioritis is a real threat. It just so happens that my husband and I recently experienced promotions that we’ve both worked toward for years. God-given appointments where we are certainly called to use our gifts to make a positive difference. With these come responsibilities and added time to adjust and train. There are a host of other things going on in our world that we are ever so grateful to be a part of like being leaders in different ministries in our church. All wonderful things that we love so much! Take all this and add some things I haven’t mentioned, and mix in the holiday season. A word comes to mind that most of my friends have exhaled so much lately: busy.
My dear friend Mande shared a provocative question this morning as she poured her heart out to our church. I would love to pose that question to you:
Are you honoring God in your current season?
Life will not slow down unless you slow it. I assure you, the enemy of your soul would love nothing more than to keep you busy. Tie up your open moments with social media and an endless to do list until you are burnt up, burned out, and altogether snappy. Loves it.
And you want to know why he loves it? Because if you are too busy then you won’t notice the important stuff. You won’t notice the moments all around you where you have the perfect opportunity to be fully present and connect with the ones you love the most, right in front of you. Where you may give your best in the day at your job or out in public and bring what little you have left to your home. Where you get to a point that you are so spent you can’t think of anything that can bring you peace because you see no end in sight. Anxiety takes over and all you want is to numb the pain and stress of it all or to wish the days away.
You were meant for more. You are worth so much more. Hear me: YOU are so valuable that you owe it to yourself to learn a beautifully difficult, but at times very necessary word:
If you need to hear it from someone, then hear it from me: you have permission to slow down. To say “no, I can’t make it” to a precious special event you’ve been invited to because you need to return sabbath back into your week. Because you need to prioritize time in your home that allows you to soak up your loved ones and not feel as though you are rushing off out the door to an endless list of demands.
You have permission to free up your time and say “no, I’m not available to attend ___ but thank you for thinking of me” with no further explanation. Sometimes you will need to say no to good things that will undoubtedly be fun, but you need to recharge. Not everyone will understand this but it’s okay to say you have plans to have no plans with your family because you are busy and unavailable. You have already blocked that time off to be with your spouse and children or to replenish your soul alone with the Word. Keep some “whitespace” on your calendar so that you aren’t suffocating from life’s demands. Do this so that when God interrupts your plans you are not so spent that you miss the opportunity to be Christ’s hands and heart extended.
This holiday season, I not only challenge you – I urge you. Pray about every opportunity you are so kindly given to connect and choose wisely. There’s nothing wrong with bringing peace and moments of sabbath into your days so that your family remains strong and you are able to take time to fill your own cup. Remember, you can’t pour anything out of an empty vessel.
When was the last time you spent privately reading the Word, seeking His presence, slowing your spirit? If you can’t remember… Go ahead and close that laptop or phone browser and block off some time to hide away. Do it now – if you can, but no further out than in the next week – you have permission to say no, and slow down. Enjoy this season. Enjoy these days.
Your family and your future self thanks you.
Love in Christ,
P.S. – Please read this with all the grace and love that our sweet Savior has for you! Don’t beat yourself up or feel like you’re too over-extended to slow down. Just take a moment to ask that He help you begin to make healthy choices in the coming days and weeks, and trust Him when He nudges you to say no and of course, say yes when you feel you’re supposed to say yes. But don’t say yes out of what Lysa Terkeurst calls a “disease to please.” You don’t owe others so much of yourself that you give them your peace, too. No condemnation. No guilt. xoxo (And check out Lysa’s book The Best Yes – it will change your life.)
(note: these images are not mine, they are borrowed from Lysa’s ministry Facebook page’s posts with the hope of inspiring you by her words from her book as you read what my heart felt led to share with you about fighting the “busyness” of this season. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram – she and her ministry team are such a blessing.)