First of all, a HUGE congratulations to Valerie and Matt on the birth of their son! They welcomed Xavier Joseph into the world on September 18th at 8:42pm, and he is quite literally the cutest little thing to grace God's good green earth. Oh my goodness!
Second of all, I apologize for getting behind on guest posts! I've been doing the Write 31 Days Challenge on my blog, and it's definitely proving to be a challenge to fit in this much writing. It's a good thing I'm writing about one of my favorite subjects!
You know something that is absolutely bonkers about our society? We love to glorify busy. We wear “busy” like a badge of honor, and we use our schedules as measuring sticks to compare to others. We end up either feeling superior to others because we’re busier than they are, or we end up feeling dejected because we aren’t as busy as someone else.
You know what the especially bonkers part is?
We COMPLAIN about how busy we are. We stroke our egos by answering the question “How are you doing?” with an exaggerated sigh as we bemoan how busy we are and how full our schedules are. We want everyone to know exactly how much we have on our plates so that they’ll either think we’re more important or have sympathy for us. Or both.
I did this with alarming proficiency in college. My days were packed with classes and meetings and activities, often until 11 or later at night. I bought into the lie that my self-worth and purpose were directly tied to the amount of things I had scribbled in my planner.
I bought into the lie of busyness hook, line, and sinker. I imagine that you’ve had seasons of life like that, too.
Where does this get us, friends? Nowhere good. We either end up utterly burnt out and frazzled, or puffed up with pride and self-reliance. Neither of which are where the Lord wants us to be.
Even if we’re actively trying to combat busyness, it can sneak up on us out of nowhere and swallow our calendars whole. Have you ever experienced that? Where you set out at the beginning of the month with every intention of keeping your schedule manageable, and somewhere around the second Tuesday of the month you find yourself triple booked for a coffee date, a friends’ birthday party, and an appointment with your own sanity?
So, how do we simplify our schedules and guard against celebrating busyness and/or allowing it to run us over?
1. Set Priorities
This is the most crucial step to simplifying your schedule. Take time to come before the Lord, pray, and align your priorities with His. What are the things that He has called you to in this season of your life? What are the passions and dreams that He’s given you…the things that keep you up at night with an intoxicating mixture of excitement and holy tension? Your priorities should follow what God is asking of you…not what other people or social pressures are asking of you.
Additionally, your priorities should have an order. If anything else is to make sense in our lives, the Lord has to be the number one priority. After that comes things like family, ministry, community, work, health + fitness, the various side hustle, etc. Keeping everything in order makes it easier to make decisions when it comes to what you put on your schedule and what you leave off.
2. Set Boundaries
Once you’ve set your priorities, set boundaries to protect them. It’s all well and good to know that you need to be spending time with Jesus and His Word every day, but if you’re not protecting that time with good boundaries, that priority will get run over by things like a lack of sleep or social media. It’s great to know that you need to have a regular date night with your husband, but poor boundaries can mean that date night gets run over by other meetings or a lack of planning. (Just two embarrassing examples from my own life)
Like I mentioned in this post, boundaries are good, healthy, and essential for simplifying your life. Boundaries protect you, empower you, and ultimately help you simplify your schedule and keep it simplified.
3. Say No
When something doesn’t align with your priorities and fit within your boundaries, say no. “No” is the simplest way to manage your schedule. And we all know…if you don’t manage your schedule, your schedule will manage you.
Check back in next week for Part Two of Simplifying Your Schedule, as well as a nifty free printable to help YOU take action!
Congratulations again, Valerie and Matt!