Almost every day I hear someone talk about how overwhelmed they feel about the demands of their days or weeks. It doesn’t seem to be determined by season of life much of the time. Perhaps it relates to the pace of life for many of us. Many of us only feel comfortable about taking it easy or slowing the pace if we are on vacation. Sadly, many of us are so busy that when vacation comes, we need to sleep a great deal of the time for the first few days of the week away.
I recall a vacation my husband and I took to Alberta, Canada, a few years ago. The weeks prior to the trip had been chocked full of demands of every kind. The first night we arrived at our hotel, I slept for eleven hours. The next night was not quite as long, but still more than eight hours.
A friend told me recently that she seems to sleep soundly and well when she is away from home and still enjoy naps while there. At home, that is not the case.
I read articles in magazines and in posts about this sort of thing along with steps to simplify our lives. I hear interviews on television about it and I even get mail from nutritional supplement manufacturers reminding me. The issue seems to have reached pandemic proportions.
One might think that we are on a treadmill that someone has gradually set to increase speed until we are running at a pace we cannot sustain.
I can plead guilty of falling prey to this. For a long time I rationalized it was acceptable because of things that needed to be done or because it was for a good cause or for ministry. If I looked on my calendar and if there were any blank spots, it seemed to be okay to add something else.
Little by little, week-by-week it added up. Life became too full and so many “necessary” things were woven into it that I could not sort out how I had allowed myself to get into such a tangled quagmire.
As I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw the first signs of it. They showed up when my quiet times with the Lord got shortchanged because I had one too many things (good things) in my day. I was already getting up early enough and was often exhausted much of the time so getting up earlier to accommodate keeping my quiet time as it had been did not fit. So my quiet time became shorter and then even got skipped some days.
That didn’t mean He stopped loving me. It didn’t mean He did not provide grace and help to get through each day. It DID signal to me that my life was too full. The very thing that made life richer and better was the grounding of that time with Him. Church was fine. Bible study groups were wonderful as well, but the real nutrients that nourished my heart, mind, and spirit were those precious one-on-one times with Him.
I could probably give you a list of how to escape the trap of the busy lifestyle you may find yourself in. I could remind you of the potential consequences of continuing to live life without margin. You may even have read books on the subject and tried to reset your time margins and boundaries only to discover the creep of relentless additions to your calendar.
As I was rereading the gospel story of the birth of Christ this week, I sensed the Lord giving me a glimpse of the issue from what very well might be His perspective.
You and I know the story well. Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem for the birth of the Savior of the world. What do they discover? There is no room in the inn, no place suitable for a royal birth to occur. The inn is already full to overflowing, but the innkeeper offers his stable.
There it was, a glimpse of something I had missed about this story.
My life (perhaps your life) can become too full as well so there is no room for Him.
He can be relegated to the stable of our lives, to the leftover time, energy, place or the clutter of the stable. Lists work for a short time for most of us and “no” still needs lots of practice, but this glimpse captures my attention.
We can forget our relationship with Him is His priority! He died to make it possible.
Are we much like the innkeeper in Bethlehem with no room for the Savior?