Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Better Part

Long ago, the home-schooling mother had time to read novels to her children. Dinner was unhurried and filled with laughter and rich conversation—often about their latest learning adventure. Playing games together in the evening, the family drew close to one another and the children knew peace and unity. Today, she rushes through the day’s curricula, grabs lunch in the car on the way to lessons, activities and enrichment, then rushes home to complete the task for the committee on which she serves. She ends the day by hastily preparing a quick dinner so they’re not late for the evening’s activities, then jumping back in the car to get there. At home, she falls into bed, completely exhausted, resenting her husband’s pleas for affection.

Isn’t it wonderful that homeschooling offers so many opportunities, so many great field trips, fabulous clubs and exciting activities designed to enrich our lives? Isn’t it relieving to know that our children will not miss out on these great experiences? But the question we must ask is, “Does it really make their lives better?” “Does it really contribute to a better future for them?” “Does it enhance our lives so that we are the mothers they need us to be?”

With all of these wonderful events and happenings, comes a great many other not so wonderful eventualities; continuous phone calls, full calendars, hours in the car, hurried lessons, harassed mothers and totally worn out, depleted of all energy wives in the evening. Isn’t a rich life one where there is joy, peaceful conversations, and time for family play and fun in the evenings? Could it be that our involvement in so many activities, with moms working over-time to make it all happen, actually hinders us from experiencing the abundant life God would have for us?

There are certainly times when God calls our children and us to do activities outside of our homes, but in those cases, he provides all the stamina we need to do all He has called us to do; if it’s of Him, it does not rob of us joy. If, however, it’s not part of His purpose and plans for us, we will forfeit joy and peace when we do participate. We’ll find ourselves trying to make things work, trying to keep it all together.

It is difficult to say no when we are called upon to do work for the church, homeschool community, or when an amazing opportunity is set before us. Yet, before we say yes, we should discern whether it might hinder God’s primary purpose for us, seeking the Lord’s will in prayer and quietness. There might be someone else that He has chosen to meet that need or it might be that the program being offered is not His will to begin with – thus, no one is really meant for the position. We must not allow guilt or fear of man keep us from obedience to God’s plan for our lives.

Our true purpose is defined in Titus 2:5 which states that young women should learn to be “of sound mind, love their husbands, love their children, be self-controlled, pure keepers of the home, good, and obedient to their own husbands.”

If I am overcommitted, I become of unsound mind, stressed and irritated with my children – yelling at them for the inconveniences they cause me. Then my house falls apart, and I, with a stern countenance, ignore the needs of my husband. This is contrary to what I am told to be in Titus 2:5.

It is hard to say no to the opportunities we have. But sometimes, we must crucify our flesh and even say no to things we really want to do. For without God’s blessings upon our choices, our life becomes impossible to live and we are weighed down and burdened. Romance with our husband is lost, laughter with our children is lost, and peace is lost. Burn out soon follows.

I have learned from experience that if we allow the Lord His rightful place in the planning of our schedule, we will be doing exactly what He desires for us to do, and he will give us the energy we need to accomplish all His purposes for us. We will say “yes” only when we know and have that strong sense of peace that this is the correct path to take. God has an incredible plan for our lives, and our children’s lives and future. Adding excessive activities does not enhance God’s plan and improve their lives. We will not do them any favors if we fill their lives with busyness. Their souls yearn for the peace and joy that comes with a family gathered at dinner enjoying unhurried discussions that draw them into a satisfying relationship with their parents.

As we are told in Ephesians, let us redeem the time, for the days are evil. Consider the plans you have made for next year. Can you let yourself take a year off of one of those activities? Could you take even a semester off? Wean yourself from the busy schedule, and you will be astonished at the incredible gift that days at home are to your spirit, soul, and your family. As Jesus once said to Martha, "Mary has chosen the better part." Let us also do the same.

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