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Simplifying the Family Schedule

This is the second part and definitely the more difficult of my two posts on how I am attempting to simplify.  The first post was on cutting out clutter, and this post will focus on the desire to keep our family schedule simple.

Because we are at the beginning of the school year, the last two weeks have been terribly chaotic.  With registration, school supplies to be bought, orthodontics appointments, cheer camp, finishing up swim team, needing groceries for an empty pantry, and more, I have one response — crumbling.  I crumble like the weakest of the weak.  Am I weaker than most when it comes to busyness?  Am I believing a lie from satan whispering everyone else can handle this. you’re weak.  Through prayer and seeking counsel from others, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions:  Maybe I don’t handle busyness well, but maybe we weren’t created to be this busy.

Regardless of how we handle a schedule, what ultimately should rule our calendars is what our Creator has called us to.  For me, I don’t think I will look back on my life wishing I had run my child to just one more soccer practice, but I may wish I had spent just one more night around the table telling him of the goodness of God.  I may wish he had seen me open my table to a hurting family to tell them of the goodness of God.  If our schedule doesn’t allow for time with God, discipling our children and discipling others, as a family, we are not doing what God has called us to do.

Here are a few ways we try to keep our schedule in check:
1.  Kid activities to a minimum (usually one per child — this fall, Sarah has an activity that will take more time, so Abby will not be allowed to have one until around Nov.)
2.  Depending on the weekend, Sat. or Sun. will be our day of rest.  That means no friends over to play, no birthday parties, etc.  Our kids would never rest if it were up to them. 
3.  Chris and I check with each other before we say “yes” to anyone else, and if we want to catch up with the “guys” or “girls,” we try to do it over lunch so that it doesn’t take up family time at night.
4.  Some of our priorities include homework, family dinner (where friends are welcome – call for time) and small group

Can you love God and love people on the soccer field?  Yep!  But, I believe I am of better service to others when I am not running crazy.  Keeping our family schedule whittled down is what works for us.

Something to consider:  “If you call yourself a disciple of Jesus, and you are not helping other people follow Jesus, I just don’t know what you mean. I’m not attacking you, I’m just saying help me understand -Jesus gave his life for others, so if you are not evangelizing or discipling, I’m just not sure what you mean when you call yourself a disciple.” —Mark Dever, in a Gospel Coalition panel discussion.

Your comments on simplifying with money were helpful.  Will you weigh in and share how you simplify your schedule?

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Karen Rehkopf #

    We’ve been wrestling with this since a baby changed our world & everything revolves around her sleep patterns. But we have come to the understanding that the only times our family will make exceptions to her sleep schedule will be directly linked to God & the community He nourishes us through (specifically church on Sun morning & small group one night a week). For example, we recently began serving in the children’s ministry on Sunday mornings (we are now at church from 9-12:30) based on this principle… yes it really messes with the baby’s nap, but we want to set this precedence now that our family will put our faith first… however that may present itself in a schedule. I know this will only be tested more as our child gets out into the world’s events, so I hope we can root this mindset early.

    I find myself struggling with doubts sometimes, that I may be too rigid on seeking this simplicity & turn down invites because of it… but I believe sleep is crucial for our baby at this age & simplifies her young life by giving time with us at home. Therefore, I do invite people over to our home for visits (vs. going out) because it solves the sleep issue & actually provides more quality time with our guests.

    Suzanne… regarding your #2, what does your day of rest look like? Just curious if yall stay around the house & physically rest or enjoy activities together as a family only. Not trying to chase a rabbit hole here.

    August 10, 2011
    • Karen, I struggle with being too rigid, too, because I think I can turn my schedule into an idol. But, I always did and still do feel strongly about sleep for my children. As far as our day of rest, it depends, but many times it means literal sleep/rest. There are not many times that Chris and I are able to rest by leaving the house because being anywhere with 3 kids is chaotic. Ok, maybe the beach.

      August 10, 2011

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