Just Say No! (To Commitments)

Summer draws to a close. Sounds of laughter and splashing water are being traded in for morning grumblings and pencils scratching paper. Lazy mornings sleeping in and meandering the house in pajamas transform into rushed mornings of dressing, feeding and herding littles ones out of the house at obscene times.

September feels like a restart. I feel refreshed and oh-so-ready for routine after a busy-but-lazy summer. This is a potentially dangerous condition for my soul.

The beginning of school and fall sports is a catalyst for an overloaded schedule. The possibilities to fill my calendar are endless: parent-teacher organization, homeroom mom, school volunteer, church volunteer, sports, activities, team mom, MOPs, Bible study, women’s group, MOMs club.

It is hard to remember I don’t need to sign up for everything on a whim. Maybe you can relate?

The 2014-2015 school year stands out in my memories as a chaotic year. I spent the summer prior on bed rest. . , unable to interact with my kids in any meaningful way beyond couch cuddles. My oldest started first grade and my middle child began pre-k. I signed up for anything and everything! After a “lazy” summer, I desired routine. I believed I could overcome the guilt from the summer by becoming über involved with my kids. My newborn daughter accompanied me to the schools most days, where I read to classes and photocopied papers. We went to Bible study and prepped preschool classrooms for Sunday school. We spent hours in the car driving my older kids to practices and activities. Busyness took its toll on me; I felt depleted and clueless about how to fix it.

I lost sight of what really matters: quiet time with God. This had simply become another box to check on my never-ending to do list. I participated in Bible study and attended church, but my soul craved more. I tried to find fulfillment in the world, forgetting Christ alone is the Prince of Peace.

When time with God becomes another box to check, I need to check my heart.

God taught me a life-changing lesson through another difficult event. When we moved to a new city in a new state, a wonderful thing happened: parent volunteers were discouraged from bringing younger siblings in the classrooms. I lost the option of busying myself with school-related activities. Deafening silence surrounded me. I became angry at God and wrestled with Him. Why would He isolate me like this? 

I needed rest. My soul finally received the nourishment it craved in the quality time I spent with Christ. I had to say no to people in order to say yes to God.

Radical peace follows me through a second move. A new school year is about to begin, in another new state, and I remind myself to think before I act. I will be tempted to sign up for everything without considering my schedule. However, I am determined to hold firm to Christ through the chaos of the school year. I need to let go of the desire to “do it all” and hold on to Him.

If you can relate, may I challenge you? Consider your schedule before automatically committing to things. A lot of little responsibilities easily turn into an overwhelming schedule. By December, you’ll feel exhausted and stressed. As Christians, we are encouraged to seek wisdom from God, knowing He will generously give it (James 1:5). Don’t allow worldly commitments to intrude on your time with the Lord.

In pursuit of Him,

Jennifer

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