Paul and I are now home in Washington for a few months. We’ve traveled for the last nine months through 35 states in the US. We’ve met with individuals, couples, small groups, and big groups. We’ve attended conferences and taught at conferences. We’ve met up for meals, taught, prayed, encouraged, and generally shared life with folks (and ate alligator, which was actually not too bad). We’ve asked a lot of questions and done a lot of listening.
It’s been an amazing journey.
There are a few things that have stood out to me and I’d like to share them with y’all, a bit here and a bit there over the next few weeks. I’m still processing so it might be a bit messy, but I hope you can grasp the heart of what I share.
Everywhere we go we ask folks about the stressors affecting the marriages in their area. Usually the first answer is busyness. If it’s not the first answer it’s in the top five.
At one conference Paul shared the story of the professor taking about time use using a large jar, big rocks, gravel, sand, and water (the big rocks are the important things to be put in your jar first with the lesser things filtering around them). Paul also shared the second picture which is a closer representation of most of our lives.
We stuff our lives full of every little thing that comes along and the important things get crammed in as we are able, if at all.
Beyond that we have no margin (extra room/time) in our lives so we miss out on surprise opportunities (the red ball).
The first picture has great priorities, but no margin. The second has great priorities and margin. There is room for the surprise opportunity (because who doesn’t need a red ball in their lives?).
I don’t know how busy you are, but I can pretty much guarantee it’s a factor in your life (our culture is full of the push and pull of busyness). Please take a long hard look at your life. Are you too busy? If you are, it took you awhile to get there and it will likely take you awhile to cut back to make room for the important things (like your marriage) and those lovely surprise opportunities.
Please don’t judge yourself harshly, just take the time to think through ways you can begin to cut back. When you plan, don’t pack your days tightly. Leave a little room for lovely surprises (and those days when life just kind of happens in your face, cause we all know it will).
You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it. Charles Buxton
Prayer Prompt ♥ Ask God to help you set healthy priorities and time use.
The Forgiven Wife: At the Heart of Change Time for a heart check.
To Love, Honor and Vacuum: Can Romance Novels Ruin Romance? Be thoughtful about what you read.
Image credit © Paul H Byerly
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