Have you ever felt tired or rundown? Like you are simply running from one thing to the next with no end in sight? That you and your family always seem to be involved in a thousand things and you roll into bed each night completely exhausted? You wonder if you are the only one. You don’t think you are, but as you think about other families and the people you work with, you wonder how tired they are. You wonder if they watch their kids growing up and feel like they are missing out on their lives. You wonder if they look at their spouse and remember slower, simpler times when it was easier to connect.
The reality is, though no one will talk about it, you aren’t the only one.
The problem for most Americans and families is that we don’t know how to stop the cycle of craziness that defines so much of our schedules and lives.
We think before signing up our kids for music lessons or a sport, “Should we do this? Can we afford this? Do I have the time to do this?” We wonder these same things as we think about a promotion or a move to a new job. But we often don’t have the courage to act on those questions.
We just let them lie there.
Here are some fears we all have:
- How will my spouse respond to a change of schedule or budget?
- How will my kids fare if I keep them off the sports team next season?
- What will happen to my career track if I put in fewer hours at work?
- What will the leaders at church say if I can’t lead a small group now?
- If I change my pace or budget, will I miss out on something?
Often without thinking about it, we let these fears, what others are doing and what we think our kids need, control our lives and schedules instead of us taking control of our schedules. The reality is someone will control your schedule, and it should be you. Yet we give this control away every single day. To our kids, their school, the hopes of a scholarship, a job, a promotion, TV, social media or even to other family and friends. Now these aren’t necessarily wrong or bad. The problem is, before we know it, we’ve overextended ourselves, and we don’t like the world we’re living in. But we struggle to know what to do about it.
When you slow down, take a break, have a long conversation with a friend, take a nap, or skip a soccer season, you will miss some things. But what you will gain is a fuller experience of life. You will feel more alive because you have room to breathe. It’s not always easy for me and Katie, and we have had to say no to a lot, which felt huge at the time. But we can honestly say that even though we have more responsibility now than we did then, we feel as if we have room in our lives to be able to take on our roles, friends, ministry, and family in a much healthier way. And that’s something we are both grateful for.
*This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More. Click on the link to purchase it.