By Tina Yeager, Crosswalk.com
Imagine a perfect world where those we serve take turns when requesting our time. Demands for our attention would never overlap on the day planner. Family, volunteer organizations, and work would agree to withhold all requests until their appointed shifts. In a dream life, we could clock out of our career shift before our kids needed us. Emergencies would not strike our parents while we still had other roles to fulfill. Medical crises and funerals would wait until after the holidays. Loved ones would consult our planners to schedule weddings and childbirth on convenient dates. Ah, if only life agreed to occur in time-manageable slots.
Our longing to live in unharried bliss comes from our original design. Eden’s daily schedule consisted of a few synchronous responsibilities. Humans tended to their beautiful environment and the blessings of their relationships. God created us to enjoy our responsibilities as gifts while walking peacefully with him and one another. Scripture lists no mention of heated stress or rushing in the garden. Our desire for harmony in our daily walk expresses our soul's hunger for God’s ideal.
Believers hold onto Christ’s promise of redeeming us from the fall of Eden’s serenity. We anticipate living free forever from this world’s pressures. As Christians, we can expect perfect harmony with our Father in the Kingdom of Heaven. Our Spirit-cooled walks with the Lord while attending to the abundant beauty surrounding us will resume. Our souls pine for the Savior’s reset of this universe to its founder’s settings.
While the perfect existence awaits us in eternity, we face the reality of living in this one for now. In the real world, our family, community, and work commitments tend to avalanche onto our heads at the same time. Certain seasons dump impossible demands into our laps. We flail under the relentless onslaught of “to-dos” with no hope to get “done.”
Hectic pressures and the resulting stress can ravage our well-being. When chaos takes over souls, the beastly side effects harm our work, relationships, and testimony. We need to maintain inner serenity to fulfill God-given opportunities to bless those who remain hopeless in this post-Eden world. If we allow stress to darken our mood and sharpen our tongue, we fail to experience or share Christ’s presence. As Christians, we face the challenge of showing up as ambassadors of Jesus’ peace in this chaotic messiness, with all its crazy busy seasons.
While we must endure this imperfect world for now, we don’t need to live as victims of our circumstances. Instead of letting busy seasons ravage our lives, we can tame the crazy and reclaim control. Managing peace in our souls determines whether or not others experience the Lord through us. Applying a few key tips can deliver us from the threshold of freaking out back to a place of serenity.
1. Set a Schedule
You must schedule the important items or urgent-sounding details will eat your hours. As a first defense against insanity, make the time to set your schedule. No one finds adequate time in a busy season, much less extra time. Set aside 10-20 minutes at least once a week to set up a calendar that honors long-term priorities and values above tasks.
2. Plan with a Legacy Mindset
Avoid letting the urgency of immediate demands corrupt important, long-term meaningfulness in your life. Know your Christ-centered purpose and God-given circles of impact. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you write down the areas of eternal significance for which God created you. What do you feel called to leave as a legacy, a lasting benefit for those you leave behind?
Set the tasks and roles no one else can fulfill as your top priorities. Avoid including things you prefer done your way. The world will not collapse if someone misfolds the laundry or rearranges a household routine. But no one else can cover your spiritual growth. You alone can address your healthcare needs, including sleep. A substitute cannot grant your child the opportunity to feel heard and loved by you. But you can delegate the task of cleaning that kid’s toilet.
Many tasks on your daily schedule do not require your fingerprints. Some duties might even take excess time when you address them because you lack the relevant talents, skills, or interests. Another person might perform those chores more efficiently. In addition to blessing your schedule, passing along some of your work could benefit those who help you. Delegation might offer someone an opportunity to learn, grow, or strengthen their self-sufficiency. Kids need to learn household skills before leaving home, for example. Whether or not the jobs you could transfer seem perfectly suited to others, delegation frees you from busy work for the best work.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Leave a margin in your schedule for last-minute issues. Take note of the practices of many wellness professionals, who block out emergency slots as medical appointments. Plan for your well-being by recognizing hiccups occur at the least convenient moments. Whether minor or urgent, something you didn’t anticipate will undoubtedly happen. If you fail to allot extra time to cover detours, one small incident will have the power to wreck your day and your peace.
6. Bind Your Planner with Grace
Life remains imperfect on this side of heaven. So do we. When our days do not go as planned, frustration can influence our reactions. We need grace during times when it seems shortest in supply. Though human nature fails to maintain the best attitude, we have a more reliable source to steady our souls. The Holy Spirit will supply us with all the grace we need any time we ask. We can keep our hearts tuned in to his advice while we go about our tasks. Staying connected on his prayer line helps keep negative dispositions from tapping in to advise us.
7. Line Your Schedule with Levity and Love
Relationships grow closer through times of playfulness and fun. Nurture people as your greatest priority by investing in joyful ways to stay connected. Inject humor and hugs often. Plan recreation and intimacy-building activities during your busy seasons. During stressful times, these seemingly frivolous activities become the most essential.
8. Make Sure Chaos Doesn’t Become a Lifestyle
Most of us experience increased demands on our time for a season. In a healthy lifestyle, these periods of overwhelming circumstances come and go. Continuing to suffer from hectic schedules for more than a few months signals an unhealthy pattern. Check to make sure overcommitment does not define your approach to life.
9. Ask a Mentor/Life Coach to Help
Digging yourself out of a chaotic avalanche can seem impossible. A professional life coach or spiritual mentor can shed some objective light on your situation. The Lord equipped specific people with gifts and skills designed to guide them toward healthy functioning. He also created us for community and never intended you to suffer through hardships on your own.
Christians can thrive as models of peace in any season. With the right tools and support, you can plan a manageable lifestyle. Instead of waiting for heaven, Jesus invites you to live in God’s Kingdom now. Redeemed and centered on hope, walk daily alongside your Father in the cool of His Spirit’s breath. Even in busy times, you can fulfill God’s best plan and bless all those he has placed within your reach.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/PeopleImages
Tina Yeager, award-winning author, speaker, and life coach, hosts the Flourish-Meant podcast and Flourish Today on Christian Mix 106 and publishes Inkspirations Online, a weekly writers’ devotional. She has been licensed as a counselor since 2005.
Look for her books, Upcycled: Crafted for a Purpose and Beautiful Warrior: Finding Victory Over the Lies Formed Against You.
Get your free downloadable Upcycled inspirational flip book template at upcycledbook.com.
For life coaching services or to book her as an event speaker, visit tinayeager.com.
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