Rachel lost two years of her life.
Maybe the first thought that comes to mind when you read that sentence is that Rachel suffered some sort of tragic accident that threw her into a coma – or she bonked her head and lost two years to amnesia.
But neither of those are accurate, and what happened to her can happen to any of us.
Her life was filled with distractions.
If our to-do lists are never-ending, and we’re always thinking ahead to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing, then we can easily miss out on the real life that’s happening right in front of us.
That’s what happened to Rachel. She was so busy she felt like she missed two years of her youngest daughter’s life between the ages of 3 and 5.
Some of us might perceive that as an overreaction. We think, “I can work my job, stay on top of my to-do list at home, be active in my small group and at church, and take care of my kids just fine.”
We don’t see multitasking as a problem.
But successfully checking items off of our lists doesn’t necessarily mean we’re handling things well. Things may get done, but if we’re waking up each morning feeling irritable, exhausted, angry, and impatient with life – or if our lives are filled with blessings, but we don’t recognize them because we’re buried beneath all the things we have to get done, we may be headed for trouble.
Slowing our lives down can be tough, though, when our busyness earns us respect or pats on the back. Let’s admit it, we feel affirmed when something needs to get done, and people come to us to handle it. We want to be that go-to person.
A common question that people would ask Rachel was, “How do you do it all? You never say no.” She took it as a compliment.
But at the same time, she couldn’t escape the gnawing feeling that God was whispering to her, asking her if this frenetic pace was really the life she wanted for herself and to model to her children.
Rachel knew she couldn’t reorganize her entire way of life overnight, so she prayed for a first step.
The answer came at a moment when she was in her usual full-on, type-A, productivity-driven mode. Her computer was open, she had emails to answer, her phone was ringing, texts were rolling in, and she was thinking about the list of things she needed to get done. Suddenly, a little voice within her said, “Go to your child.”
Her youngest daughter was sitting on the couch by herself, watching a kids’ movie, so Rachel went and sat next to her. Her daughter picked up Rachel’s hand and kissed her palm.
That moment was confirmation of the first step she’d prayed for. Rachel realized her children and husband couldn’t embrace a moving target. That moment inspired her to start making changes to make sure she didn’t lose two years of her life again.
We may not be able to transform our schedules overnight, either, but the first step begins with accepting that it’s not our responsibility to keep the world spinning.
To do that, we have to change our perspective about what’s important. Creating moments of connection with our spouse and our children isn’t so easily checked off of a list. Our families don’t need us to do, they need us to be.
We are told in Proverbs 12:25 that “anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Today we want to provide you with that good word and to help you alleviate some of the anxiety you may feel and the crushing pace you’re perhaps trying to keep.
Joining us for our next couple of programs will be Rachel Macy Stafford, a popular blogger, speaker, and author.
Although I’m sure you don’t need to add one more thing to your to-do list, I hope you’ll take a moment to join us today and tomorrow for our program “Overcoming Distractions to Connect with Your Family.” I believe you’ll find our conversation and the tips we share meaningful and maybe even transformative. Tune in on your local radio station or listen online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.