by Gwen Smith
Friend To Friend
Have you ever bitten off more than you could chew? Have you ever said, "Sure, I'll be glad to do that!" when you should have said, "I'm sorry, but I can't commit to that right now"? Has an over-loaded schedule ever added stress to you, your family, or your relationships? I would think you've answered, "yes" to each of the previous questions. I know I did.
I constantly try to make positive life adjustments. Two areas I evaluate regularly are my calendar and commitments. Trust me, I'm not the boundary queen. I won't even pretend to have all the answers about this topic, because I don't. I bow to the evil "yes monster" more than I care to admit. I'm in the trenches with you, constantly struggling to find a healthy balance between faith, family, friends, fashion, and ministry. (Okay, fashion doesn't really belong on that list, though it's terribly fun. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention!)
Jesus had some friends named Mary and Martha. Martha was a busy girl who, at times, allowed her to-do list to keep her from worship. Mary just wanted to be with Jesus.
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42, NIV)
As we face the holiday season and a new year, let's choose what's better! It's so important that we establish healthy boundaries in our lives to keep us from being too busy to sit at the Lord's feet. Over the years, I've been forced to grow in the area of setting boundaries in order to bless and preserve my faith, family, friendships and ministry. In an article called Setting Boundaries, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir wrote, "A boundary is a fence to ward of potential problems and to protect those in its guardianship."
What does that look like in real life? How can we possibly spend time with the Lord, keep our homes clean, run errands, go to meetings, serve on committees, change diapers, shower, get our Bible study assignment finished, find missing teddy bears, take Johnny to little league, run Sally to dance practice, and have a hot, healthy dinner on the table by six o'clock? I'm sure it will look different for each of us, but there's one basic parameter that applies across the board, whether you are married, divorced, single, or widowed, or with or without children: make time for God.
Jesus said that the highest call on your life is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). Keep the main thing the main thing! Nothing should replace your personal time with God. Set aside time each day for Bible study, prayer, and worship. Jesus tells us that we must remain in Him. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
And one additional thought: protect your passions. What do you love to do? Is there time in your life for it? Make it a priority. Allow yourself time to refuel and relax by scheduling fun time. Whether it's taking a hike in the woods, playing the piano, having lunch with a girlfriend, reading a book, or bargain shopping, keep your heart fed with fun. You'll be a better you for it!
Once you've established faith boundaries that prioritize and protect your time with Jesus, you can freely say, "yes" to the opportunities that are in line with your passion and interests. You can also say "no" to the yes monster that tries to rob you of God's best and to dilute your focus.
Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times when I clutter my life with busyness
and fail to put You first. Help me to discern what is best for my schedule
according to Your perfect will, and equip me with the wisdom and courage to make
any changes that are needed. I love You and long to know you more with all my
heart, mind, and soul.
Now It's Your Turn
Do you relate more with Mary or Martha? Why?
Are you saying yes to too many things? Protect you and your loved ones from the evil yes monster. Take a few moments to consider if any of your activities could be eliminated.
Source: Girlfriends in God Devotional; Girlfriends in God, Matthews, NC 28106
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