Our family fought busyness and won. We took a year-long activity time-out, some have called it our Radical Sabbatical, and broke free from the bondage of busyness and the captivity of activity.
The Radical Sabbatical comes from the deep well of life experience. For almost nineteen years, I have been both a full time working mom and an exclusive stay at home mom. All the while, attempting to juggle my husband, children, and umpteen activities.
As a Christian woman, I believe an authentic Christian walk can only come from a transparent life. I’ve written Just too Busy – Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical in a way that is refreshingly transparent while remaining God-honoring. Writing gives me an opportunity to share with honesty what the Lord has done and is doing in our life. Humor is the anesthesia that numbs the pain, so the truth can go deep.
We aren’t much different you and I. Not long ago, I too was searching the bookshelves for anything, something, some bit of help for my chaotic, topsy-turvy life. Everywhere I turned I couldn’t swing my purse without hitting books for Busy Moms, “The Busy Moms Recipe Book – You too Can Make a Fourteen Course Meal in Eight Minutes!” “The Busy Moms 4.2 second Devotional Book” “How to Change a Flat Tire – for Busy Moms” Sure, there were lots of books that spoke specifically to me, a busy mom. Unfortunately, they all seemed to accept the fact that I was busy, too busy.
I needed help. I needed answers. I needed to hear from someone who had walked a mile in my tired, worn out mommy-shoes. Could there be survivors in a head on collision with busyness? Had anyone been declared victor after jousting the insanity of over-activity?
Why was my life moving faster and becoming more difficult? Slow and easy, that’s what I wanted. I looked everywhere for it. I found TV shows that explained simple ways to decorate my home for Christmas, simple ways to make a delicious pot roast, simple solutions for annoying pet odors, but where were the simple solutions for slowing down? How could I get back some of this stolen time? I even bought a magazine with the word simple on the title, thinking surely they would have the answer. Only to discover that anything I did, no matter how simple, really wasn’t. Slowing down was easier said than done it seemed.
The captivity of our family’s activities were the handcuffs that put us in bondage to busyness. I felt like a prisoner. Our busyness was slowly eroding the joy from our lives. I was being held against my will, while time was dragging our family along for one wild ride.
When I was a fresh-faced newlywed, I dreamed of the day my husband and I would have children. I imagined the life we would make together. As my family-fairy-tale came into focus, I would be cuddling on the couch to read a book with one of my toddlers. The next chapter in my fairy tale included relaxed family dinners around our kitchen table, smiles and snuggles and joy-filled conversations as my babies grew up before my eyes. The scene would then change, my clumsy toddler now a sure-footed teenager sitting on my kitchen counter, keeping me company as I made dinner, seeking a bit of wisdom and guidance. But sadly, the fairy-tale wasn’t our reality.
Each day I was given another twenty-four hours and each night I couldn’t have told you where all the time had gone. Stories read with my toddlers were in a frustrated rush. Dinner together was almost non-existent, and my teenager wasn’t sitting on my kitchen counter. She was seeking advice from the front seat of my car. Her guidance counselor was a middle-aged me. Any wisdom given was in between cynical comments to traffic jams and slow drivers, in between a pick-up or a drop-off.
As a family, we were doing more than we ever had before, accomplishing much less – and growing farther apart in the process. It was depressing. What in the world was happening? A voice in my head reminded me, “This isn’t the fairy tale life I’d imagined so many years ago.”
Busyness had become our new normal and I couldn’t take it anymore. It was time to make a change. The answer I received surprised me. I had no idea the solution I’d been searching for would be considered radical.