The Struggle to Juggle
I just finished a 8500 mile, three-week, twelve state, road trip to visit with over 35 different churches. It feels really weird to not be moving today. I’m tired and numb from the relentless schedule. But finding it hard to slow down…
Rushing from one commitment to another and holding hard to the responsibilities that I have been entrusted: father, husband, pastor, leader, friend. The balls seem to ALL be in the air at the same time and the number of hands available to catch them has not increased! Yikes. Starting to sound familiar?
Today’s family lifestyles are CRAMMED with really good activities, commitments and personal responsibilities that crowd out our margins and engulf our days from crack of the eyelids in the morning to the breathless collapse on our beds at night. Life is moving…. FAST!
Kids, work, marriage and relationships, ministry and after school sports, all find a place on our calendars…but personal time and devotions get shoved way down the list in our weekly race, usually near the bottom of the pile of laundry we know HAS to get done.
The seemingly endless list of “to – do’s” maintains a steady & aggravating rhythm in our aching heads as we struggle to juggle the life we realize we’re already inside of. How do we get out without dropping it all?
Couple of practical thoughts from a fellow juggler…
1- Slow Down – Way Down. Simplify – cut out a few things, pull back from the hustle a bit and make some space for doing “nothing." Rest in the evening over a bath and a book, plan to eat with the family, go on a date, read an uplifting book or spend time in the word reviewing the daily reading of scripture… go to bed at 10pm.
2- Ask for Perspective from God and Man. Pray. Yep, just ask God to show you what is a non-essential in your life. Ask your spouse, best friend and pastor to consider with you. Help find the items that are “extra” and just need to go. You cannot do everything and do it well. Life is more than a checklist of accomplishments.
3- Reset your priorities and guard your time. Take the things you heard from God and your friends/spouse etc, and do some shaving of your commitments and responsibilities. Don’t feel like you’re the “only” one who can do something. God is God, you are not. He can handle it. Others will step up to fill in, I promise. Once you cut, don’t refill that space in your day or week, guard the margins of your life well and make sure you place a priority on your own health and exercise.
4- Recognize the patterns of life and don’t FREAK out! Seriously so helpful. There are times of our lives when things get way crazier than usual, it’s okay. Roll with it for a period of time, but realize the need to get off that ride when the opportunity arises. Understand that life will cycle a bit, there will be a need to repeat this process every so often. Maybe twice a year if your anything at all like me.
If you can accept that life will naturally continue to speed back up to a frenzy all on its own, the practice of pulling back now and again to re-set and refresh should provide you/us with the space in life to keep us all from going over a cliff, from generally losing it… you know, totally Freaking Out!
The environment facing a modern-day parent and/or spouse is radically different than what we grew up with. The constantly changing landscape of technology and media, values and pop culture are significant and stressful. We can’t alter that, but we can make sure it doesn’t change us or our families.
The struggle to juggle it all, can in itself become a relentless stress that can pound us into an early grave if we’re not careful and intentional about defusing it. Jesus spoke to juggling life in Matthew chapter 11…
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 – Message)
God has designed us to be dynamic and interactive individuals, not exhausted and overwhelmed refugees of our lives. Thank goodness for that….