Busy Doesn’t Make You Good

I’ve been talking a lot lately about slowing down. It’s been at the front of my mind for many months and therefore, has been at the front of most of my conversations. I’m learning, for myself, to say no more often and hoping to inspire others to do the same. God created the heavens and the earth and all that went in them and rested before moving on to building relationship with creation. It’s a good lesson, really. How can I expect to build good relationships with others if I’m exhausted? God didn’t do it so why would I even try?
I’ve been quite taken back by the people I’ve encountered lately that see this as laziness or worse, have accused me of not being an involved parent. There are those that believe a “good” parent is one who is on every committee, goes to every function, knows all the names of all the other moms and lunches with them 8 days a week. Frankly I don’t have it in me. Nor do I have 8 days.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to be on the PTA or the planning committee of Scouts or dance or whatever organization your kids are a part of. The people that do the planning are amazing people full of organization and energy that I simply do not possess. I admire what they do and my kids reap the benefits of their hard work when it’s time for fall festivals, book fairs, and class picnics.
What I’m saying is wrong, however, is the need to do it all and the idea that you are only a good parent if you are juggling all the committee balls in the air. When we stretch ourselves so thin with our volunteering that we rarely have time to enjoy the people we are volunteering on behalf of our energy seems to go in vain. When we are angry and stressed over the commitments we’ve made on behalf of our children then how can we enjoy our children?
I want to help out at the school where possible. But I work full time so I can’t be there as much as I’d like. I’d like to serve on a committee here and there for the activities my kids join but I have to keep my motives in check. Am I helping because I want to make a difference or because it will make me look like a good mom? Is my volunteering something I can involve my kids in or is it something that is going to take me away from them? Do I want to build relationships with the other people of this organization? Is this where God is calling me to serve?
Sometimes saying no in one place allows me to offer a better yes somewhere else. Sometimes backing away from a few commitments gives me time to rest and give better effort and energy in a place where I might be needed even more. Jesus repeatedly set an example of stepping back from the crowd and resting in quite so he could be prepared for the next crowd. Work is good. Volunteering is good. God designed us to be people who work and are productive. The problem is when we don’t balance it out with time of rest. We do not become more righteous by filling our lives with busy.
What is God saying to you about slowing down?

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