Busy can look differently to different people, but it’s probably safe to say we are all busy. Parent busy, student busy, work busy…Maybe it’s something we are trying to work on, or maybe it is something that we don’t even realize is taking over our life until we are completely burnt out. In any case, if we are running on fumes, missing out on being present with our friends and family, or struggling to fit prayer in to our day, I imagine that God had something different in mind for us.
Here are three ways that I have learned can help…even though I may have learned the hard way and am still working on it daily!
1. Be Realistic
When you are planning things ahead of time, it can be easy to say yes to a lot, without being realistic about it. It might seem plausible a week or two away to book several things in one day, or to think you can sneak in a visit with someone before an appointment, but life can throw all sorts of things at you. It takes practice to not say yes to everything. I always fail to remember that an 18 month old can definitely throw a curveball into my plans. I need to realistically remember that I’m not getting as much sleep as I once did and so I need to adjust accordingly. I would rather do a few things well than feel that I can’t keep up and that I’m wasting people’s time by being late, or doing a half way job. God wants us to thrive, not just survive.
2. Be Intentional
When we finally do get some down time it always seems to fly by and we don’t come out on the other end feeling more rested or accomplished. Try to figure out what you really need. Narrow down your priorities. For myself, when my daughter is napping, sometimes I “rest” by binge watching Netflix when what I actually need is to take a nap too. I try tricks like making that important phone call or sending an email first thing in the morning, rather than have it be on the back of my mind all day. I also know that if I don’t look ahead at my calendar once in a while I will have no clue what is scheduled and will end up double booking myself, or filling up a week with more than I (or my little daughter) can realistically handle. (This may depend on your personality type, organization is a work in progress over here!) Basically, I need to be taking time to slow down and have a good grasp of the workings of my life, rather than flying by the seat of my pants day to day. God is found in the quiet, and in our day and age we really need to be intentional to find that quiet time. I know for myself when quiet time is carved out to pray and connect with God I have more clarity and direction. God brings so much peace and is just waiting for us to seek Him out.
3. Be Present
When we are so busy it is very hard to focus on what we are currently doing. Living in the moment is much easier said than done. It is so important to truly be present. Most of the time if we are on our phones it isn’t for something important or pressing anyways. Social media can wait. Have meaningful conversation, really listen to people. Help with the dishes. All things that I need to work on. But it needs to be said. This has become achingly real for me as I watch my daughter grow before my eyes and think of all the missed moments while looking into a screen. If I remember correctly, I missed her first roll over because of Instagram. But I am actively seeking to not have my phone around when she is awake, because children notice what you are putting first. I never, ever, want my daughter to think my phone comes before her. And for those without children, it helps to remember that we are somebody’s children, and our parents and grandparents crave our attention too!
In this brand New Year lets take some time to ourselves to be quiet and reflect, as well as spend some quality time with our friends and family, and most importantly Christ. There is a lot of busyness that we can’t avoid, especially with children, or when trying to finish school, but there are ways we can adjust our priorities to put first things first. It's never too late to bring peace and calm to your daily life!
"Be still, and know that I am God!" -Psalm 46:10