I understand what it means to be too busy. In the seasons of doing too much, I’ve not lived by my axiom, “Do only what matters.” It’s something I must constantly monitor. Despite my expertise in being too busy, my advice is not always received. Years ago, I had a conversation with a young couple, shortly before the birth of their son. I told them what I’ve told many others,
“Stop your routine busyness during the first six weeks with your baby. Get to know who you are as a family. Put everything on pause. You will never get this time back. Take everything off your schedule, refusing to put anything back on it. Stay home. Monitor your visitors. Take the time and make the space to breathe and enjoy.”
The expectant father, a high school teacher and coach, pushed back at me. He made it clear he could not mess with the schedule of his job and responsibilities in the busiest time of his year. Ever.
I assured him that I understood, explaining I had a packed calendar and a long list of to-do’s scheduled after we had our second child; however, she struggled the first few weeks and our life went into crisis-mode. It’s amazing how easy it is to let go of everything when crisis occurs. Crisis rules schedules. Nothing mattered but the life of our child.
Turns out, their baby boy was born with a severe heart condition. He lived two months. The young couple dropped everything, giving him all of their time and attention. Their son gave them cause to stop, pause and breathe, intentionally enjoying the moment. Throughout the years, I’ve had conversations with the couple about the value of learning what crisis teaches:
If, a crisis can rule the day, changing the calendar and to-do-list, then, why not let a wonderful time of life take precedence and do only what matters?
Stop. Take time to focus on the Christ-child. Pause. Make space for the truth of Christmas to take precedence. Breathe. Do only what matters. Enjoy, experiencing the joy of it all.
When you get down to it, this is the message of the verse that I woke the kids up with every morning. Yes. Every morning. Umm . . . slightly annoying . . . and sometimes incredibly annoying. But. I wanted them to be aware of the day, taking time and making space to experience joy in it:
This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24, NLT).
Today . . . light the candle symbolizing hope . . . light the candle symbolizing love . . . and light the candle symbolizing joy, focusing only on what matters.
Three Advent candles lit.
A friend gave me this plate–love the message–JOY!
Joy Break with Tiffany and Ellie. Yes. Ellie is talking to me on an ipad!
(Written by Kerrie Carlisle Palmer © 2014 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)