“Mom, I think I’m full.” My seven-year-old grimaced, stuck out her tongue, and shoved her cardboard cup across the table. We were enjoying a rare trip to the frozen yogurt bar, in which Fun Mom and Dad allowed the kids to dish up any flavors and toppings their little stomachs desired.
“How was your concoction?” I peeked inside my daughter’s cup, still half full of candy bits floating in a runny pool. “Goodness sakes, what did you put in this thing?”
“Um, just some good stuff.”
“What yogurt flavors did you have?” Tough to tell, since at that point they’d all melted to a gooey shade of gray.
“Oh, I got cake batter, pink lemonade, and rocky road.”
“Yum,” I gagged. “And I see some Skittles in there.”
“And peanuts, cookie dough,” she counted off her chosen toppings one finger at a time, “M&M’s, Heath bar, Butterfinger, rock candy, Nerds, sprinkles, blackberries . . . .”
“Gummy bears,” my husband reminded her.
“Oh, yeah, gummy bears, and whipped cream!” She grinned, flashing a jigsaw puzzle of missing teeth, then wrinkled her nose and slid back in her chair. “I have a tummy ache.”
No kidding. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with cake batter yogurt or gummy bears in general. On their own, they’re quite tasty, I’m sure. But pile too many good things on top of one another, and you’ve got a recipe for indigestion.
Every sensible mom knows this about sundaes.
But what about our weekdays?
Take one glance at my calendar and you’ll see plenty of “good” things. Bible study, book club, worship team, freelance work, conferences, exercise class, coffee dates, prayer groups, speaking engagements, dinner with friends, play dates for the kids, and the constant carpooling to tennis lessons, tumbling class, ballet and school. Individually, such excellent pursuits! But toppled into a heap of a day or a week or a year, this kind of to-do list can settle like a rock in my gut. Literally.
Stress for me manifests as stomachaches. When my schedule trips a threshold, I can measure my diminishing mental and physical margin by the quantity of Rolaids I reach for at bedtime. So just like my daughter swallowed too many treats at once, trying to consume too many activities at one time can also create a serious case of belly rot.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Don’t you want to know God’s heart? To catch a glimpse of his desires for your life? I sure do. The better we get to know God, the better we’ll be able to discern his will—which is good, pleasing, and perfect! Sign me up, right?
But how can we really get to know him if we’re too busy to stop and say hi?
Women today are blessed with a bounty of opportunities. I’m grateful for modern equality and the potential it allows. Trouble comes, though, when we stand at the smorgasbord and fill our cups with too many opportunities at once. The “pattern of this world” tells us we ought to stuff ourselves, that it’s no longer enough to care for our family’s basic needs. We must enrich every moment with technology, extracurricular activities, volunteering, social commitments, work and personal development. Why? Because we can! It’s all available to us now, and we buy into the lie that if we don’t keep up then we must be missing out—or worse, lazy.
So we fill up on striving, and ruin our appetite for God.
No wonder the Bible urges us, don’t conform to that lifestyle. Busy is not better. More productive does not mean more purposeful, more accomplished, or more accepted. Instead, God says, “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Take a break, a rest, a Sabbath (Genesis 2:3). And choose the Lord above your task list, Martha, old gal (Luke 10:38–42). Then once we do take the time to meet with God, we’ll discover he is wonderfully counter-cultural. And that might be the best news a busy mom needs to hear.
When we got home from the fro yo bar, my daughter stuck her leftovers in the freezer and ate them the next day. “Mom,” she mumbled with a mouth full of goo, “Skittles are hard to chew when they’re frozen.”
“Yeah? How about those gummy bears?”
She thrust her spoon into the cup and chiseled an icy chunk. “I think next time I’ll just get M&M’s.”
“Good idea, my love.” I planted a kiss on her forehead and smiled. “So will I.”
We just returned from our annual trek to New York to visit family. We only see these folks this one week each year! Usually there is lots of ‘cousin time’ but this year the two eldest (14 and 13) were each in 3 softball leagues. We saw them 2 times during our 9 days there and my kids were noticeably saddened and looked dejected!! The mother of these softball addicts told my girls, as she said goodbye, that ‘they’ll have more time once they’re in college!’ Seriously? It was all this mama could do to not go a little bit ‘postal!! ‘ over scheduling our kids affects everyone!!
Oh my. I’m sad for your kiddos! I suppose the first step is to set the example by not overscheduling my own calendar. I’m becoming more strategic about what goes and what stays. For everyone’s sake!
What a great analogy. Just because certain things are good on their own doesn’t mean we should take them all on all at once!