#FamilyFriday | The Finish Line

"Ok, Hannah, I hear you. I understand exactly what you're saying, but slowing down and not being busy is just not an option for me right now." If this is what you're thinking to yourself as you read our last two (one and two) #FamilyFriday posts. I get it! I'm right there with you. Most days, these things are a real struggle. Other days, they aren't even on my radar. And that's okay, as long as it's only for a short season. 

Sometimes in life, there's just nothing you can do but lace up and just run, and run, and run. These seasons can be necessary to live out your purpose and fulfill your dreams. The thing is, there needs to be an end in sight. A finish line. A date on the calendar, when things will slow down and you can breathe once more.

My brother and sister-in-law are in the middle of this right now. He's in his final year before he becomes a licensed doctor. That is a scary thought. The little boy that wouldn't let me play Nintendo 64 Duck Hunt with him because he was afraid I would break it and lose his best scores, or the college student who would sing Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" to himself at the top of his lungs and mean every word, is holding people's lives in his hands every day. Wow. Plot twist.

My point, though, is that he is not only working his way through a full-time fellowship, but is also working and studying, all so that his wife is able to stay home as much as possible to raise their beautiful family. This guy pulls 36 hour shifts. If there ever was a competition for being busy, he would take the trophy. But there's an end in sight for him. There's a date on the calendar when it's over. He will be able to move on to more reasonable hours. He will be able to enjoy more time with his family.   

We were not designed to run all the time. You've heard it before: Even God rested. He said we should rest, too. But how many of us actually take it seriously? He's given us the Sabbath for our rest because He knows that we can't endure forever, and if we try to, we lose sight of what really matters. 

Oftentimes our lives are so busy just trying to stay afloat with our shoots, clients, spouse, kids, grocery runs, managing the books, cleaning, and just LIFE that it’s hard to have time to focus on what’s really important.
— Zach Gray

As we're running toward our end goal, we must remember to be intentional about our time. When we're at work, get off Facebook and be at work. When we're cooking dinner, turn off the TV, think about the food that you have been blessed with, the nutrients it holds, and your ability to prepare it for your family. Stop multitasking, it doesn't work. I can guarantee that you will have more time to focus on the things that do matter. And when those few precious moments come around, cherish them all the more. You're going to need them in the middle of the madness.

Life is short. To be clear, this is not a depressing, sad thought! It’s freedom. Freedom to live daily with purpose and focus.
— Karen Katulka

Here's the thing. I used to read things like what my friend Karen said above and think, "If I don't fill every day with meaningful things, then my life is waste." And I would live this way for about 2.47811 days, and then I would burn myself out, and after the burn-out, there was no going back. It was like I was in a marathon, but I only knew how to sprint. After I exhausted myself, I would drop into this depression, in fear that I'm wasting my life. I feared that there was going to be a day when I stood before God, and He was going to ask what I did with the time and resources He gave me, and I wouldn't be able to give him an answer. I would never hear "Well done."

These fears would paralyze me, and that was exactly where my selfish side wanted to keep me. It wanted to keep me focused inward rather than outward. If I was obsessed with my own fears, then I wouldn't look beyond myself to see ways to make the world a better place. But I've changed, and today I can read her comments and see nothing but freedom. Freedom to live out exactly what God laid out for me to do. And I can promise you, it doesn't look like me sprinting through a marathon. (Seriously. That's not a pretty sight.) I'm excited for the day that it will simply be a walk, where my family and I are able to enjoy every moment and fill it with all the purpose we can. 

But that's not now. Right now, the reality is that many of us are busy. Forget the marathon, some days we're in a decathlon of busy-ness and we barely know which event we're supposed to be doing. An athlete remembers two things: The finish line, and the checkpoints. Our busy must be a means to an end, and the end must be both measurable and valuable. But during our busy, we must have checkpoints. That could be an hour every evening before the kids go to bed. 15 minutes together in the morning before you get ready for work. Every Friday night to bring in the Sabbath. A day trip every month. Something consistent to make us refocus ourselves on what's important, and to remind is that the end of this busy season is coming. This #FamilyFriday for #ShabbatTableTalk, consider where you are. If you're near the finish line, rejoice! But if you have a long ways to go yet, it's all the more important to establish checkpoints and cherish the peace and joy that you find in those moments to strengthen you for the next leg of your journey.