Monday, August 29, 2011

Blessings and Boundaries

This weekend was just fantastic! I got to spend all afternoon yesterday with my Mighty Man and his family celebrating the church dedication of his 13-week-old niece. What a precious gem she is (and a true miracle--just ask her folks)! I think I'm more enamored of her every time I see her. :) (*sigh*) Bliss. :)

After the fabulous post-church party with the family and friends yesterday, I headed back home in time to read the Sunday paper. The cover story in Parade magazine was very interesting, and it inspired today's blog. It talked about how, as Americans, we've practically let our weekends become more exhausting than our weekdays. We fill them with activities, chores, errands, trips, sports--you name it! When, back in the day, it used to be a time of refreshment--time for enjoying fellowship, rest and relaxation like I got to experience yesterday.

It's so funny. One of the TV shows my Mighty Man watched as a kid was Andy Griffith. And he's totally turned me onto it. haha! I watched my first two episodes this weekend on, and I'm totally hooked! :) What an incredibly simple and marvelous lifestyle! It totally makes you long for the "good ol' days," even if you weren't alive to live them. :) Am I the only one who wants to just jump in a time machine, grab a fishin' pole and follow Andy and Opie down to the creek? Like the Rascal Flatts song says, "I miss Mayberry." :)

So, here's the deal. We can't go back in time, and we can't undo years and years of technological advancement. We can't escape the number of options we have regarding what to do with our time. What we CAN do, however, is stop letting our calendars dictate our lives. I know it's a little touchy, but I think one of the most important books that's been published in the last decade is the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. (If you have issues with it, that's totally okay. I respect that and will agree to disagree with you.) The subhead of the book talks about knowing when to say yes and when to say no, and I believe it's a great skill that we all should develop.

No matter how super-human we think we are, saying yes to everything will leave us strung out and miserable. And I fully believe that, as Christians, that plays right into the hands of the enemy. He totally wants us to be exhausted, frustrated, burned out, and all-around useless for the Kingdom of God. He knows that we will be highly destructive to his plans if we are operating at full strength, and he will do everything he can to keep us from feeling up to carrying out God's calling on our lives.

Think about it. No matter how much you love your family and friends; no matter how great of a job you have; no matter how much you love your church, do you really want to participate in activities surrounding any of them when you're tired and busy? Nope. Who can? I fully admit it: I have an amazing job with FCA, but when I'm exhausted, I don't recognize it. I find myself going in and out the door out of obligation instead of a genuine desire to serve God. And that's not fair to Him, to me or to anyone around me. It's not fair to the magazine readers and FCA volunteers and staff, either. My lack of boundaries can affect so many others, even if I don't realize it! That's why it's so important to maintain a balanced and healthy schedule!

So, here's the bottom line: We all have to start making better choices with our time. We have to learn when to say no, when to say yes and how to make wise decisions. It's the only way to truly carry out the calling God has given us and to do so with the joy and peace He offers. Anything else will just lead to our going through the motions and being miserable.

I'm preaching to the choir today, for sure. I do feel rested after this past weekend, so I'm actually sharing this message out of a tiny success story. But I think that victory is what has heightened my awareness to my previous/lifelong struggles in this area. I want to start honoring God with my time more and with my energy level. I want to live with passion for the tasks He's given me. I want to enjoy life and embrace the abundance of a life in Him!

Care to join me? :) Let's lock arms and do it together!

Have a great week, everyone! :) Big hugs!!

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