I like things in their place. I like lists. I like order. When my day or week is going according to schedule, I am one happy momma. Creating a family schedule to bring healthy rhythm to our family life is something I LOVE! Now, how to keep that schedule from being disrupted? I have not mastered that yet.
Beyond my personal desire to be organized, I have seen the impact a healthy rhythm has on myself and my family. Life happens, doesn’t it? Life doesn’t slow down much. Days and weeks and months and even years pass way too quickly. Often I can’t even remember what we did yesterday, let alone last week. Everything blurs together. I assume you can relate? It’s life, right?
Here are three things that happen to me and my family when we do not tend to our rhythms.
1. We become disconnected:
In our family, we value play. We schedule play times during our week to help us stay accountable. Otherwise, we tend to allow life to steamroll us. When we play together, we connect in a deep way. Laughter really is the best medicine. When we don’t take time to play together, there is a disconnect that happens. Our kids beg for us to play with them more. Brian and I are more easily frustrated and impatient. We miss each other. We miss our friends. So we schedule family game night, family dinner and movie night and family day off together as a few examples. These things keep us accountable to playing together. We also schedule extended time on vacation, where we can just play and enjoy life. During these times we find ourselves reconnecting with each other, and it is amazing how much it affects how we interact on a daily basis.
2. We become overwhelmed:
In our family, we value rest and work. We schedule times in our day for quiet time. Everyone goes to their own place in the house for some down time. We have designated sleep-in mornings when we stay in our pjs longer than usual. We have times set aside to do chores, to work and plan. We have a family meeting night when we look at the week and our family responsibilities. As a stay-at-home mom and homeschooler, I set aside time each week to do lesson planning and emailing and phone calls and bills. Having it on the schedule helps our kids see when we are working and it keeps us accountable to get things done but not work all the time. We schedule times for Brian to have guy time, me to have girl time, Brian and I to have date nights and times as a family when we rest. When our days or weeks get overrun, which they do, we all become overwhelmed. Throughout the day, I fret about all the things I need to get done. I feel unorganized and stressed and defeated. My kids feel it too. Brian and I end up not giving each other or our children the attention we crave from one another. Keeping a rhythm of work and rest helps us find balance and allows us to get work done, put work aside and BE with each other throughout the week.
3. We lose ourselves.
In our family, we value abiding; being and remaining connected to our God. Society puts so much pressure on us to be successful and productive. We can push ourselves so much, trying to reach societal standards that we lose sight of who we really are. We are children of the King! We are created in His image. We are unique, special, beautiful and loved. God wants us to be productive, healthy, happy and successful, but not at the expense of our families and friends or ourselves. We are human beings, not human doings. Having a rhythm of abiding keeps us connected to Jesus. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
In our family schedule, we gather at breakfast almost every morning to read a devotion and pray together. We share highs and lows and talk and pray before bedtime. As Brian mentioned in his post last week, we wake up several mornings before the kids to pray and journal and be with Jesus before the day rolls upon us. We schedule space into our days, weeks, months and year when we are resting, abiding, and listening to what God has to say to us.
Our schedule is not perfect. There are days and weeks when life happens and the schedule flies out the window. But here is the thing, we can always return. Our family rhythm, posted on our wall as a schedule, helps us to return, to each other and to Jesus. Our kids will remind us that we have missed game night too many times, or that Monday is family day and daddy does not have to go to work! Having a family rhythm brings us back to reconnecting with each other and with friends and extended family we love so much. We are more content, less stressed and reminded over and over of who we are and whose we are. So we value rhythm. We commit to resting, playing, working and abiding every week.
Life does fly by too quickly. As a family, we strive to enjoy every day we have to the fullest and keeping a rhythm, helps us do just that.
As you read and reflect on this, what do you feel like God might be saying to you about rhythm?
How might you faithfully respond this week to what God is saying?
We would love to hear from you. Be sure to post your comments below.