Can You Not Spare One Hour?

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This season, life is moving at turbo speed.  Contributing to the pace I feel required to keep are both family and cultural demands.  It seems I cannot keep up or catch up, and opportunities for pausing to breathe are rare indeed.  Even sleep seems to be on fast forward mode these days.  I fall into bed and drag myself out before I ever feel ready to face the race again.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way.  Many are pressured by the very delicate high wire act of balancing life’s many demands with somehow keeping our sanity.  And while we are all too busy trying to manage life this way, it seems something else is always begging for a slice of our time and attention.

In such moments, how we respond doesn’t always reflect our priorities, but it should.

To give you a living example, I’ll share an interaction I had with my son last week.  Keeping in mind the breakneck speed at which I’m living and the seemingly endless list of demands I am juggling at the moment, step into this scene with me:

My husband has just arrived home.  I am transitioning from school day (homeschool day, that is…with Kindergartner, 8th grader and 3rd grader) to afternoon shift. Usually at this point husband goes one direction while I go the other (a schedule which I swore I would never want to have because it’s awful for families, but here we are, unavoidably.) This particular day, husband was going to take my son to Jujitsu practice while I cooked up a quick dinner, so that after dinner, he could stay with kids and shower up while I ran to a quick meeting before going to pick up the daughter at Hula practice.  Then we would all fall into bed and start the same cycle again tomorrow.

Exhale.

In the midst of this transition, my son looked at me and asked if I was coming to his Jujitsu practice.  (“Hahahahahahahhaha!,” is what my head said, but thank God my mouth said something different.) I looked at his sweet little face, and God gave me a clarifying moment.  “Can you not spare one hour?” He just wanted his mother (and father, but for the purpose of this blog I’ll focus on me) in the same space with him, watching him accomplish something, for one hour of his crazy week.

Sometimes I forget that in the chaos of my life, as I try to meet all of the demands we have, the kids are living the chaos too… That is the subject of another blog, I suppose.

So I said yes.  Of course I had to quickly add up the minutes to make sure I could get from one place to the next and then the next on time, but I figured I could do it if God would grant me the grace of a perfect commute.  More importantly, I figured it was worth the effort and the cost.  So I went and watched him practice.

I can’t tell you how many times he looked at me during that practice for validation.  It would have been a great hour to catch up on emails or return text messages or just read something uplifting, just to “catch my breath.”  Afterall, I was sitting still for an hour, and someone else was directing my kid.  But how much I would have missed!  Or worse yet, how much he would have missed! I had countless opportunities to affirm and reaffirm that he was important enough to stop everything for, and that I had no regrets.  That he was my first priority in those 60 minutes.  It was well worth everything else that lost the battle for my attention in that hour.

After that practice, I began to wonder just how many other people and important things in my life could ask the same question: “Can you not spare one hour?” I realize there are some seasons in which everyone we are surrounded by and everything we have on our plates is important, but sometimes we squander minutes and even hours, in the name of catching our breath, on things that don’t really matter.  And what is traded in the process is more valuable than we realize.

As I sit here hurriedly trying to finish this up so I can get on to the next commitment we have, my prayer closet is asking the same question: “Can you not spare one hour?” I wanted to get up earlier today, but I didn’t.  And I wanted to spend more time with God, in prayer and devotion, but I couldn’t because I had to rush off to get kids to school in time. I missed the glance of God reassuring my heart that I am loved and that I matter enough to stop for.  And I missed looking at the One I am learning to love and communicating with my time and undistracted focus that He matters enough for me to stop for.

I wonder what is begging for an hour of your time?  Or maybe even 30 minutes?  Is it a child, or a spouse, or Jesus? Is it a friend, or even your own soul? Are you moving so fast that you’ve been surviving off of moments of false relief rather than really taking the time to stop and love yourself with something that brings healing or real joy?

Woman of Breakthrough, take a deep breath. Right now.  We don’t always think we have the time, but we must make time for the things that matter.  If we let our schedules dictate our lives, they will crowd out the things that matter.  Instead, our lives must dictate our schedule.  The things that matter the most, the things we say we live for, must become our priorities and must be written into our plans so that they are not sacrificed on the altars of success and productivity.

Pray with me today that God will help us to give our moments and our hours to the things that matter the most.  And then be brave enough to ask Him what those things are. Afterall, when everything is fighting for our attention and claiming to be important enough to win it, we must not lean on our own understanding.  We must go to the One Who gives wisdom and understanding, and Who will help us to keep these beautiful lives going in the right direction, bearing fruit that will last beyond this lifetime.

Be blessed as you seek to value your hours more, and to give them where they will make the most difference!

{Photo images courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}


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