Open Spaces

I posted this over a year ago but I’m sharing it again because I need the reminder. It’s another Live Like It Matters Challenge and it’s a good one. I have to work hard at this one.

What we do with our time tells the world a lot about us.

How do you spend your time? What does your calendar or planner say about your life?

Last month I didn’t like what my planner said about me. It said I’m busy doing a lot of things. Good things, too. But when I’m not careful about how I plan, I end up doing a lot of additional things and ignoring essential ones.

I have to regularly ask myself: is my life busy or bountiful? Manageable or meaningful? Do I value relationships over routine?

We are afflicted with the idea that we aren’t accomplishing anything unless we are rushing here and there, checking off the items on our “to do” list. But a full calendar doesn’t equal an abundant life. I cannot feel the spaciousness of God’s love when I’ve crammed my calendar full.

When I crowd my calendar with a lot of additional unnecessary activities, I crowd out opportunities for good conversations. I push away the chance of a meaningful encounter. I cannot live on purpose when I’m running around trying to accomplish a lot of things. When I’m rushing from one place to the next I don’t see the people around me. I may see them with my eyes, but not with my heart.

I won’t take the time to smile and say hello to the elderly lady behind me. I won’t notice the young boy in the cereal aisle that’s lost his mother.  I’ll rush through a phone call from my sister.

Because I want to live like it matters and after years of doing it the wrong way, I know that I need time in my home with my family and I need solitude. So I must be wise when planning and making commitments. Since I work full-time most of my days are filled but I can be intentional about my evenings.

I’ve learned that I need plenty of blank spaces in my calendar….some unplanned blocks of time…………time to move at soul-speed. The kind of time when I’m still and my heart is open to any kind of heavenly thought that God might send my way.

The unplanned time can be the most meaningful time spent. The kind that allows for a lengthy unrushed phone call with a long distance friend. Or a cozy movie night at home with my husband because the kids are out of the house unexpectedly. Or a nap on a Sunday afternoon.

We all need open spaces in our calendars.

My Live Like It Matters Challenge to you is to leave some open spaces in your planner. Circle them if you have to but leave them blank. See what it does for you. See what it does for the people around you.

Unplanned time is time well spent.

Because how you spend your time matters. And how you plan or don’t plan matters.

Live like it matters.
Rush

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Leave Room

It’s so easy for us to fill our Christmas time with shopping, parties, rushing here and there, more shopping and trying to make things “just so” that we miss the really important things.

We sacrifice the essential for the additional. Just like I almost did two years ago.

My Live Like it Matters Challenge to you this week is to leave room in your calendar so that you can enjoy the essential things. The blank space in your calendar allows those unexpected moments to happen.

Cuddle with your kids and watch “The Sound of Music”. Put together a 1000 piece puzzle. Gather some fresh greenery and decorate the mantel.

Those things happen when you’re home with your family and you’ve not planned anything else. That’s when your teenagers will come and talk to you too.

I spent two hours talking to my teen aged son Monday night. It was spontaneous, but needed. It wouldn’t have happened if I had scheduled a meeting, shopped for last-minute gifts, or attended the Christmas party I was invited to.

NOT doing the additional left room for an essential.

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Midnight

Midnight.

That’s when I crawled into bed last night. The red numbers on my alarm clock glared at me, reminding me that it was way past my bedtime.img_4537

But my sleepy eyes couldn’t steal the smile off my face. And my drained body couldn’t take away the fullness of my heart.

I was very tired when I got home. It was a busy workday, then I led a ladies’ group for two hours. On the quiet drive home, I thought of the few things I needed to do before I went to bed. I decided they could wait.

My plan was to chat with my family, change into my pajamas, wash my face, brush my teeth, then go to bed.

My husband and youngest daughter followed me into the bedroom. They were still chatty. We sat there, talked about our day in more detail, laughed and yawned. My husband got his fill and went into the living room, but his spot on the bed was taken by my 18 year-old son. I was surprised he was home. I don’t see as much of him and his older sister. They’re always on the go…….working, hanging out with friends……just not home.

But he was home last night. He lay across the bed and listened to his little sister talk and talk. He stayed there, interjecting something every now and then. He asked me how group went and listened some more to his little sister talk and talk.

When she was through with all of her words and left the room, he shared what was on his mind. Deep stuff. Life stuff. So we talked. And I didn’t feel tired. And he felt better about some things.

He made his way to the kitchen when he realized he was hungry. I realized how tired I really was. So I changed into my pajamas, washed my face, and brushed my teeth. I heard my oldest daughter come in the front door. It felt as if I hadn’t seen her in days. I went into the living room and sat on the love seat. She sat too and showed me some pictures on her phone. We had a short talk then she went into her bedroom.

She came back before I made it off the love seat. She started talking again. Sharing what she’s been thinking. Deep stuff. Life stuff. So we talked. And I felt really tired but it didn’t matter. We talked and we both felt better about some things.

I finally crawled into bed with a big smile and a full heart.  And I slept.

Because the red numbers on my alarm clock didn’t keep me from the essential things.

 

Essential

I spent two hours talking to my teen aged son Monday night. It was spontaneous, but needed. It wouldn’t have happened if I had scheduled a meeting, shopped for last-minute gifts, or attended the Christmas party I was invited to.

NOT doing the additional left room for an essential.