Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Too busy and fast to care

Ann Kroeker states in her book: Not so Fast: Slow Down Solutions for Frenzied Families, that some of us are leading a nonstop, overly hurried life--and this leaves so little room for the unexpected. Do we say we love the Lord and our neighbor? But what do we do? Ann says, "our actions--or inaction may deeply impact our children's understanding of theology and resulting philosophy of life as they deal with contradictions they witnessed during hurried and harried childhoods."

If we say and believe ourselves to be a compassionate person, then do our actions show that?
Will we slow down and nurture the people God has put into our lives, or will we keep viewing life myopically--like we are the only people that matter? That our needs come before others?

I know this is a challenge in our own homes, with our own children. Never ending housework, never ending chores and to-do lists threaten our connection with our own children.
It takes constant thought to put down what I am doing to connect with my child.
In the same way we are busy with our own families, we can also neglect others that the Lord has put in our path. Just yesterday I had to tell my own daughter "no" to something so I could help a friend. These kind of decisions are not easy to make. But it's only in close relationship with the Lord do I see what my role should be in ministering to others. ('others' includes my own family, as well as other in my church, circle of friends, in my everyday life...) There is a careful balance that must be met, for dipping too far to the left or right is not necessarily the right path. In fact, I even believe, as mothers, we can be so proud of our work inside the home that we forget to be humble and let the Lord lead where He may be taking us. We can be too busy "reading our Bible" that we forget to minister to someone the Lord is telling us to minister to. It doesn't have to just be housework that holds us back.

I love this quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his classic book Life Together:

"We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks, as the priest passed by the man who had fallen among thieves, perhaps--reading the Bible. When we do that we pass by the visible sign of the Cross raised athwart our path to show us that, not our way, but God's way must be done. It is a strange fact that Christians and even ministers (and mothers! ~Andrea) frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them. They think they are doing God a service in this, but actually they are disdaining God's "crooked yet straight path" (Gottfried Arnold). They do not want a life that is crossed and balked. But it is part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service and that we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God."



Sandi said...

Needed this today.

I'm in a very busy season, one not of my making, but one that is needed. Instead of longing for it to be over (I don't do busy well) I need to be present, listening and purposeful in it.

Thanks for sharing.

Christine said...

Yes, I find myself being short with my early-risers when they interrupt my Bible reading, if I'm not careful. I've been trying to "hug first" when they come down too early.

And seeing who God has placed in our path, outside our families, is something I have to consciously think about. My life needs to show what I believe, reflect Jesus at all times.

Wonderful quote by Bonhoeffer.

Ann Kroeker said...

When my life is highly, tightly scheduled and I have little "wiggle room," I find that I am tempted to rush past the needs. Like you said, the never-ending, never-ceasing nature of motherhood can make it so hard. Your example of saying no to something your daughter wanted to do in order be available to a friend...that does require a sensitivity to the Spirit.

Thank you for sharing these thoughts with your readers, Andrea, and reminding us to live slow enough to be available, to serve, to show compassion, and to be interrupted.

Fiona said...

Love that quote. I think I need more "close relationship with God" to see what's important, and what to let go.

Anonymous said...

I really like this post. Thank you. I sometimes wonder if it is even possible to slow down and change the pace of life as a mother working outside of the home. We are crazy busy all the time and the demands of children, career/workplace, and home are so much there is so little time for anything else to be squeezed in.

I know that stay-at-home mothers have challenges too and competing takers of their time, but it does seem to be a whole additional layer of complication when working for a paycheck with young children.

I've been trying to achieve some balance and a slower pace for a couple of years now and it just doesn't seem possible without something giving. Spending 40 plus hours outside the home doesn't leave much time for anything, unfortunately.

All the best. And thanks for the post. Very good food for thought.

Janel said...

ooh. Soo true! Thanks for the reminder. : )

Amy said...

I love that book! A friend recommended it, and I had to type up my notes there was so much good information. How wonderful that you are meeting with ladies from your church to discuss it.
Appreciate what you shared here.