Did you know it’s June already?!?! Yep, it snuck up on me too. Actually, it’s almost halfway through June, which means it’s almost halfway through this year. Another year gone. Another year older. Another year on this earth in this thing called life. I read something recently about time being the most valuable resource, and I must agree. It’s something we all have the same amount of, yet we can all use it differently, either for better or for worse. The past few months for me feel like they have been absolutely filled up with things to do, places to go, people to see, activities to do, events to attend, etc etc etc, and that’s on top of the everydayness of life and family. A lot of friends have been asking when we can catch up and I look at my diary and see every weekend booked up until almost September! Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but to be honest, I feel completely exhausted. Not from anything in particular, just plain old busyness! So exhausted that in fact, I dream of escaping the crazy city life and withdrawing to a little cottage in the quiet, sleepy mountains where it’s just me and my little family and we can grow our own veggies and become completely self sufficient without having to do anything or see anyone. However, anyone who knows me well knows that I wouldn’t last one week in that lifestyle (although I do like to dream!) and it’s certainly not what God’s called us, personally, to. But that’s exactly it…if I know what God’s called me to and this current lifestyle is exhausting me…then something must be amiss! So I recently snuck in a little moment to sit back and reasses our life, priorities and making the most of this great resource called time.
One of the big decisions I made was to cut back on a lot of things we did during the week. Now, we’re not even that full on with activities and events for the kids like so many families are, but I decided that we only needed to do one activity and one outing a week. I know there’s a fine line between spending quiet time at home with the kids and getting cabin fever (all of us!), but when even the trips to the park become an epic journey that leaves us all spent and half our day gone, then perhaps it’s time to cut back. So we did. I even cut back on my house work, household chores and cooking. Not to the point where we’re living in mess and not eating, but in a way that makes more room to breathe.
That’s just it. We need time to breathe. As a family, we need time to breathe on the weekends, not just driving from event to activities, to catch ups, to lunches etc, but time to just do nothing, together, as a family. We need to relax as a family, without any external pressures, just the freedom to sit and to be, however that might look. Our marriage also needs time to breathe. My husband and I work together and so often our ‘time together’ ends up discussing invoices, quotes, clients, accounts, logistics, business, business, business. Or, we’re so tired at the end of the week that once the kids are in bed on a Friday night we sit down and watch a movie. But we need time together, time to breathe, time to live, time to feed our marriage; not in an exerting, striving, deliberate kind of way, but in a relaxed, comfortable, ‘just let it flow’ kind of way.
And I need time to breathe. A lot. Not a lot of time, just a lot of breathing. In the morning when I wake up, during the everydayness of life and certainly at the end of the day when our little ones are tucked up in bed. I need time to stop, catch a breathe and be able to keep on keeping on.
So my attempt to de-clutter our life (without escaping to the secluded mountain cottage) seems to be successful so far. We’re still busy, we still have things on, events to attend, friendships to feed and relationships to foster, work still needs our attention and the kids still need to get out and about, but I feel like we can breathe just a little bit more. Saying no can be hard, but it’s harder on me and the kids when we’re all doing too much.
A big part of the decision to do less came to me recently through a realisation that gave me a huge wake up call. My eldest child, Hugo, just turned 3. I started thinking about him and his childhood – 3 already? When did THAT happen?!?!?! Next thing I know he’ll be off to school! Actually…he will be off to school…soon…sooner than I realise. And if’s he’s off to school 6 hours a day, 5 days a week…soon…that means I’ve got limited time left with him at home as my little baby boy. I’ve got limited time to shape and mould his foundations before he is out of my hands for the majority of the week. I’ve got limited time before I turn around and suddenly he is 6 years old, then 16 years old, then 60 years old!!! I started to freak out, but then I realised I just need to reorganise my priorities and our time…because we all have the same amount of this resource! We all have the same amount of time before our little ones head off to big school, but it’s up to us as to how we use that time. I have been so focused on all these other things that shout louder and obnoxiously take my focus and attention, that in the long term don’t even matter. In fact, these things have actually been stealing our time, and I have (almost) missed the most important thing that I need to pour my time into. I don’t want to spend my children’s childhoods simply ‘doing things’ even if those things are great and wonderful and educational and magical and relational. I want to spend their childhoods with them – getting to know them and then building them and shaping them according to this vision I have been given of who God has created them to be.
I love the verses in Psalms that remind us our time is a precious resource! It says “Help us to remember that our days are numbered; and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Send your wisdom into my heart so that I may accept your correction.” (Psalm 90:12 The Passion Translation) It’s so important to take a step back and check that we are using this precious resource to the absolute best of our abilities. Likewise, Ephesians calls us to make the most of every opportunity: “Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes. And then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will.” (Eph 5:16-17 TPT).
When we stop and rest we are reminded of the call and purpose God has placed upon our life. We are then able to make wise decisions as to what to prioritise and with this in mind we can recalibrate and reorganise, according to his will for us. Our life is an opportunity and our time is a resource and we are called to be wise and faithful stewards of this gift of time.
Our life is an opportunity and our time is a resource and we are called to be wise and faithful stewards of this gift of time
Life can so easily and quickly become full of things that are actually distracting us from the real purpose of what we’re here for. Right now, for me, in this season, I am called to give myself to my children. It is such a short season and it is already slipping away so fast, before I know it they will be young adults, flying the nest and my work will (mostly) be done. Their early childhood is my opportunity to set the foundations for the rest of their life. A huge responsibility, yes, but what an amazing one! And what an honour!!! I only have a few years remaining with Hugo until he is off to big school, and in this time I truly hope to develop him into a loving, kind, generous, overflowing, caring, compassionate, bold, courageous, strong leader! Because really, once he is exposed to those outside influences of peers, culture, trends, competition, and everything else in the package of the world, my foundational work in him is what’s going to keep him strong, successful and able to overcome anything in his way.
Their early childhood is my opportunity to set the foundations for the rest of their life
It’s been nice slowing things down despite the increasing speed of life. It’s been nice to breathe again, together as a family. Yesterday afternoon we caught a glimpse of what it really looks like when we do just sit and ‘be.’ My husband had finished work for the day and came downstairs to play with the kids. But before I went off to start cooking dinner as I usually do, we poured a glass of wine and lay on the floor while the kids played. We sat and chatted for ages, long after dinner needed to be served, but it was just what we all needed. Even the kids lost sight of their toys and just wanted to be in our arms, in our presence, relaxing and casually breathing as one, together as a family. Hugo’s words said it all…“I love you Daddy, I love you Mummy, I love you Everly. I love our Funny Fuller Family”