The norm is to be busy. Really busy. Running around from one place to the next without a moment to spare. And honestly, I don't want to be normal then.
I am not a busy person. I do not like to be busy, so I say, "no" a lot. Sometimes I even say no when I want to say yes. I say no to good things that would be fun. I say no to these things so that I can say yes to my best. In order to know what my "best" is I wrote out what my priorities are.
And what I came up with as my top priorities are my relationship with Christ, my husband, my children, my family, close friends, and my church.
I am not one of those people that struggle with the word NO. I probably struggle more with saying Yes. I guard my time and my family's time closely. (I think the introvert in me helps with this.)
I do not want to be busy with things that aren't that important to me, saying yes only so I won't miss out or feel left out. I want to spend my time doing the things in my life that are at the top of my list. And I am thankful for the opportunity to have the time to do just that.
I recently made my priority list so I could really focus on those things. I wanted to know what things I want to spend my time and my money on. One thing I am excited to have at the top of my list is my (extended) family. We recently got back from vacation and just had the best time with my family. I am excited to spend more time with them and continue to develop those relationships further. Which will mean trips down to see them as often as we can, mini-vacations with them when possible, and other ways to show them I love them. These things will take time and money. But I am learning that I don't want to spend my money on "stuff" and would rather spend it on relationships and experiences.
Sometimes I have to say no even if that means that I am missing out on fun things that I would enjoy. Sometimes that means telling a friend no because I am already committed to family time. Or sometimes that means my kids don't get to do certain activities they might want to.
I stay busy loving my husband and my kids. One thing that my husband and I are going to start doing is start enjoying weekly date nights. A lot of times that will mean spending quality/quantity time after we put the kids to sleep, other times we hope to sneak away and enjoy some 1 on 1 time out. We live on a tight monthly budget, but we are starting to see that there are things that we want to spend our money on and then other things we don't want to invest in. (Like my once growing Vera Bradley collection.)
However, I do have to be careful that I am not being so stingy with my time that I am not serving and loving others. One place I love to serve is at my church. I usually am serving on Sunday mornings by either being on the host team, helping out in the children's wing or just doing my best to be available for my husband who always has 1000 things to do on a Sunday morning. I also will be the head teacher for the Cubbies' class this year on Wednesday nights.
So not only did I need to look at my priorities and what I wanted to fill my day, I had to look at what was being a "time sucker" in my life. I knew I needed to eliminate some things so I could create margin. We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. So we have to look at what is filling up those hours. And hopefully around 8 of those hours is with a good night's sleep. So how was I spending my other 16 hours?
A major time sucker for me was Facebook. While on vacation a couple weeks ago I said goodbye to my personal FB page and honestly I haven't missed it. I would be embarrassed to really add up the amount of minutes, um, I mean hours in a day I would be on there. I miss some things about it, like seeing the cute pictures of some of my friends' kids, but really I'm on Instagram and keep up with almost everyone who was posting on FB. I did beg my sisters to text me pictures of my nieces and nephews and have enjoyed keeping up with them more intentionally over texting.
I am proud of my husband. He decided for himself while on vacation to get rid of his time sucker. He has given up all video games. Deleting them off of his ipad and will no longer be playing his xbox.
Time is just to precious to waste.
I am finding myself being more intentional with my time.
Saying yes to my family and no to zoning out. Saying yes to crafts and no to TV. Saying yes to sleep and no to staying up too late. Please don't hear me wrong, I am not perfect.
I want to have enough time to serve others with love instead of being so worn down and sometimes that means not filling up every second of the day. It's funny, I used to feel guilty that I wasn't busy. Or almost ashamed like I was a "loser" for having nothing to do. Now I love it and find that that's some of the best times I have.
We all have different responsibilities in our daily lives. Our families all look different. We all have different jobs. And our priority lists will all look differently. I shouldn't expect you to live just like me and I hope you don't expect that from me either.
For example, sports aren't a big priority for my family, but church is. We choose to not miss church, but you may choose not to miss a tournament. You may choose to attend every birthday party you've been invited to, but I may choose to sit one out because my family needs a Saturday morning home together. I may not choose to be in a Bible Study so that my husband can attend one so we aren't apart 2 different nights every week.
I think it's easy to push our priorities (and convictions) on other people. Just today I did that to someone and I had to go up to them with my tail between my legs and apologize. But I think if we each are following what God wants for our individual family then we can't be wrong. No matter how weird or different it is.
It all will look different. But I am learning that different is ok.