Wednesday, March 14, 2018

On the Holy Spirit and the Schedule

I continue to ponder the question I asked last summer about organizing life, and whether lists are a burden or a benefit.  The jury is still out in my mind.

Not long ago I tried out a daily schedule--yes! a schedule!--with most of our time allotted to specific things. I slotted in time for read-alouds, exercise (lots of that), rest, school, piano, violin, meals, etc etc. I didn't follow it to a T every day, but I followed it fairly faithfully because I'm pretty good at that.

Here's the question that broke into my mind as I dutifully did What I'm Supposed to Do: where's the space for the Holy Spirit?

I don't mean space for quiet prayer and Bible reading because of course that was on the list. I mean space for the Holy Spirit to whisper to me that right now instead of doing a task, I need to work with Annie on a craft.  Or space for the Holy Spirit to tell me that instead of getting up at 6 am to exercise, I need to stay up later with a child who needs to talk about Big Issues of Life.  Or space for the Holy Spirit to whisper that someone in my family needs a little extra time and attention, so it's time to drop the schedule and give them that. Or space to help a neighbor who has an acute need that I can fill.

I realize that following a schedule is not an all-or-nothing proposition, but it sometimes feels like it is when you're me.  I don't want to live by whim and I do want to exercise diligence in my daily activities, but human beings don't fall neatly into half-hour time slots like tasks do.  As a wife and mother, managing time at home can't simply be about time itself, can it?  It has to be about relationships, and relationships have their own pace, their own ebb and flow, and people's needs vary widely from day to day.  And relationships outside the immediate family matter, too!  We need to be available to show kindness and love to neighbors, grandparents, friends, etc......

Today I was smiling at the fact that after following this schedule so dutifully and beautifully for a while I suddenly came down with a head cold, which necessitated more sleep, less exercise, cancellations of regular routine things (piano, violin, Bible study, ballet, co-op), and the wonderful gift of a lot of unexpected time at home.  Time to finish hemming Annie's Easter dress, start working on an embroidery project, finally tuck away the nativity set, putter around folding laundry--in other words, looking well to the ways of my household.  I *love* doing this and it feels so good!  To be honest, it's challenging to do that when you have an outside-the-home obligation every single day of the week except Friday and Saturday.  I have learned my lesson this year, and will try hard to never have so many activities scattered throughout the week again.  It's simply too hard on us. I already cut out one activity (art) when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, but we feel we don't want to cut out music lessons or co-op, which we love, and my husband feels Annie should continue in ballet for now. 

This is my great challenge during this season of my life, and I'm still not sure how to order our days to meet the goals that we have but also to foster the relationships God gives us.  How do you strike this balance? (Or try to strike it!?)  Especially while homeschooling...whew.......

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