I suffer from anxiety. I am easily overwhelmed. When my schedule starts to fill up, my head starts to spin and I start to completely freak out. Being busy turns me into some kind of monster that I can’t even stand to be around, so I can only imagine how my husband and children feel. Saying I do not handle schedules well would be an insane understatement. So, with school starting right around the corner and sports, band, youth group, etc. starting up…what’s an easily overwhelmed girl like me to do?
Well, I just got back from 12 days of being at church camp and I had a lot of time to reflect on how I handle schedules and had some really good conversations with some of my dear friends who deal with crazy schedules too. Not only that, but being busy and being intentional about how we use our time were some of the topics of a sermon I heard there. So, this girl got to praying and was really honest with God in the fact that I cannot deal with schedules and the stress that comes with them on my own. I need Him to get me through it because I have tried for far too long to handle it on my own and that has been an epic failure. Now, God already knew that I needed Him, but being the gentleman He is, He didn’t force His way into my schedule-panicked life, but He sat there waiting for me to invite Him into it. I could immediately feel a difference in the way I am looking at the upcoming school year, when I intentionally asked Him to help me through it. What in the world has taken me so long to ask Him? I mean, I trust Him for our health and provision. I trust Him for wisdom in parenting our children and for being a good wife. Why did I not trust Him in the same way and ask for Him to help me through our schedules, like I have asked Him for help with all of those other things? Geesh, we can be really slow to learn sometimes, can’t we?
So, here’s the deal. I sat last night and went through all of the current sports and band schedules that we have and I put them into my calendar. I started thinking about how I’ve never perished during a busy season yet, so chances are real good I won’t this time either. I started thinking about how even though I’m not a person who thrives on being on the go (in fact, it drains me incredibly) that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy things along the way. I mean, I get to watch these amazing children that God has entrusted to me, playing sports and instruments and growing closer to Him through Youth Group. I get the privilege of seeing them gain strength and confidence and do the things they love. When I view it that way, instead of as another thing on the calendar “to HAVE to do”, things start seeming much less stressful and much more enjoyable.
One of the pastors who spoke at camp mentioned setting aside a day for your family that meant no friends over, no going anywhere, etc. and just spending family time. He said that love is spelled T-I-M-E and I believe that is absolutely true. Brian and I talked about it and decided that Sundays were the most possible day for making that happen and that we were going to ensure as a family that Sundays are dedicated to going to church and then spending the day doing things as a family. We love to play games and watch movies together and that seems to get lost during the school year when our schedules are so full, so this will be a way to work those things we enjoy into our schedules. I know it will be something we look forward to each week too. This means deciding now that we will be saying “no” when people ask us to do things on Sundays. It’s ok to say “no”. In fact, sometimes you have to, to be able to say “yes” to more important things. My family is the most important thing in my life, next to Jesus, so I won’t feel even a tiny bit guilty to say “no” to other people or things, in order to say “yes” to time with them.
This year is going to be filled with some new things. Gavin is doing Middle College, so two days a week, he will be heading to the community college to take some classes and with 2 vehicles, this will require some creative finagling, but we’ll make it work. Riley is doing marching band, so he will have rehearsals every week and parades to march in that will take up some weekend days, but it will be fun to go to all of the parades and watch him drum down the street and see his joy as he is doing something he loves. Asher will be playing soccer again this fall and so will Gavin, so Brian and I will often be in different directions and at different fields, but we’ll both be watching our boys play a sport they love. I am going to be a Youth Group Leader for the 3rd year now and will be moving up to Senior High Youth Group with my group of girls who I have been with since 7th grade. I’m excited to see how the girls adjust to high school and to see their faith grow. Even though my boys may have to miss Youth Group sometimes because of sports schedules, I will be thankful for the nights when they can go and for our discussions on the ride to and from church. Our church is 25 minutes away, so we have lots of time to talk about random things on the way there and about what went on at Youth Group on our way home. I will be going back to work in the Fall too, which could make our 2 vehicle/Gavin going to Middle College situation a little more tricky, but I know we will work things out.
So, I am vowing here and now to not let our schedules get the best of me this year. I am going to remind myself that every time I start to feel overwhelmed or panicked, I need to stop and pray and ask God to come into the midst of our schedules and to help us through them with grace and joy. I know that He will help me learn to “roll with it” and to even enjoy the things that I should be enjoying, instead of dreading things just because they felt overwhelming to me in the past. You know, God is pretty amazing like that.
If you’re like me and tend to get anxious and overwhelmed easily by schedules, I hope that you will team up with me and ask for God to be in the midst of your schedule too. Also, if you find some clever ways to make things easier around the house with chores or great ways to make homework time easier, please share. I would love create our own little support system to encourage one another through these busy days. Let’s choose joy over panic. With Him, we can do it. It will be so worth it.