Senior pictures. What a way to remind you that your kids are no longer babies. When you stand back and watch only to see a beautiful young woman where a chubby baby used to be. And you start to look back over the years and wonder where they went. Wasn’t she just born yesterday?
Suddenly, you have forgotten all of the sleepless nights, the toddler tantrums, the pre-teen hormones, the teenage rebellion. What you remember are the memories that have been made. The funny times. The sad times. The times of boredom and the times of adventure. But what you are really remembering is the time spent together. Doing life together.
In church this morning, we talked about creating margin in our lives because that is where relationships are built. Relationships are all that matter in this life. An example that our pastor shared was that on his deathbed, he will not be asking for his iPhone or iPad, he wants to be holding the hands of those that he has done life with….because that is what will matter.
As I think back over the almost 18 years that I’ve had with this daughter, I think of so many things. So many memories. So many experiences. I’ve written before about the difference between being lazy and efficient. I am the type of person that hates a schedule because I like to be spontaneous. I like to have an overabundance of downtime.
Because of how our society is today, I often start to wonder what is wrong with me. Am I anti-social? Am I a commitment-phobe? I am I just plain lazy? And also, am I hurting my kids by being so unscheduled?
But then I get to times of reflection like this and I remember…….I don’t like to have every moment of every day planned because it allows time in which to build relationships. It allowed me to make unrushed memories with my daughter as she was growing up. It allowed me to have no regrets when her dad passed away because we made us a priority and we had built an amazing relationship. It allows me to meet up with friends with little notice because my days aren’t scheduled away. It’s allowing me to form an unbreakable bond with my husband because we are intentional to be with each other in our abundant downtime.
We don’t over plan. We don’t schedule ourselves to death. We make sure that, at the risk of being lazy, we have open time in our lives to just be a family and spend precious time together. We are not afraid to say no to things that we know will take away too much of our downtime.
Life is so short.
It’s not about having the next best thing. It’s not about getting the latest and greatest. It’s not about making yourself look good because of what you wear or what you drive. It’s not about having the biggest house. It’s not about being all things to all people. It’s not about having a spotless home. It’s not about having the best body. Chasing all of these things takes time, and time is something that you only have so much of. Spending it on things that tarnish and wear out is meaningless.
Life is about relationships.
The pastor shared a quote this morning that was so spot on (this may not be word for word, but you get the point)……
If your relationship is good, nothing can be bad. If your relationship is bad, nothing can be good.
This is one of the most amazing quotes. Think about your own life. If you are in a fight with your husband, isn’t it hard to be happy about other things? If you and your husband are in a good, comfortable, loving place….bad things can happen and you just work through them together. It’s hard to have peace and contentment if you are not in a good place in your relationships.
This also applies to your relationship with God. If you aren’t making time for Him in your margins, your life will be tough. You can’t follow Him or discern His voice if you aren’t spending time with Him. No different than your family here on earth. If you aren’t having dialogue or spending time with them, your relationship will suffer. When your relationships suffer, your life is tough.
As I seek what the Lord has for me in this life, I know that keeping downtime in my life is of utmost importance. I need to have time to cultivate my relationship with Him as well as with my family.
I am so glad that my daughter’s life has been one of a lot of margin and downtime to be together as a family. As hard as it is sometimes, I’m glad that we aren’t booked solid…..even though sometimes it means feeling like maybe we are missing out or that we are somehow in the wrong for not being involved. I’m glad that when she moves out in the (too near) future, that we have made memories to last a lifetime. That we have taken the time to form a bond. That we can start to make the shift from parent/child to friends.
As I listened to the sermon this morning and reflected over my place in life in the last week, I was reminded that I am right where I am supposed to be. I am using my time to be present in my relationships and to cultivate new ones. I want to be able to look back over my life and have no regrets. The only way that will happen is if I can say that I trusted and followed God and that I gave all I could to my family and friends. I was poured out for others. I savored each day and made the most of every moment. I didn’t worry about the little things. I was not striving to be all things to all people. I didn’t worry about gathering things.
Relationships are the only things in this life that matter. Are you making sure you are allowing margin to be able to strengthen them? What things do you need to let go so that you have time to spend on those you love? Are you so worried about keeping up appearances that you let time slip away without making it meaningful? Let’s chat in the comments!
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