Christmas is my favorite time of year. But all the opportunities can overwhelm us if we try to do too much or put unreasonable expectations on ourselves or others. Doing too much can leave us empty instead of full. This week I’m enjoying some time off with my daughter so I’m resurrecting a former post that addresses the benefits of doing less.
Are you doing more and enjoying it less? Growing up, I often heard, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” It took me a while to realize the devil also uses busyness to steal and destroy.
When Larry and I were raising our children it was easy to let others’ demands determine how we spent our time instead of carefully protecting our schedule. The fear of missing out, disappointing someone, not doing my share, or depriving our kids taunted me when I tried to cut back.
One night after sharing a new opportunity I was considering, Larry gently said, “When you are over-committed the whole family suffers.” Internally, I balked. If I could fit it in my calendar, why wouldn’t it work in life? But inside I knew he was right.
Life and relationships take time. We need to be still to tap into the deeper issues of the soul.
That became clearer one night after Larry and I enjoyed some meaningful conversation. I realized how distractions had robbed me of companionship with my best friend. It wasn’t that we didn’t spend time together, but I was often pulled by what needed to be done.We decided to limit our family's activities. Choosing less helped us choose better. Click To Tweet
We enjoyed life and each other more. We lingered over more meals instead of swallowing them whole. Our lives weren’t perfect. I still heard myself telling our children to “hurry up” way too much, but it helped.
New Testament Martha had the same problem. “She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’
“But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV).
Everyday we choose between meaningful activities and a life stretched thin. Time spent connecting with God, my spouse, children, and friends is time well spent. Saying “no” to the non-essentials is saying “yes” to what matters most.
Question: What helps you slow down and drink deeply from the well of life? If you’ve found a way that has enriched your life and helped you unplug a little while from the madness, please share it.
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