Who says we have to own a bigger home or drive a newer car, or that our kids have to be involved in 5 competitive sports a year? I know some parents who keep a spreadsheet on their computer in order to keep up with the activities of their kids - Never mind a spreadsheet, we've made life so frantic we need a therapist!
Maybe it's driven by the usual tiredness that hits us the week before the schools break up, but we don't have to buy into the lie that the world determines how fast a pace of life we live. We don't have to let our children buy into it either.
It's that time of year again where the allure of slower summer days begin to nibble at our subconscious and leave us dreaming of a different life. If like me, you find you have got caught up again in busyness and find yourself living for the next break, wake up - like the English summer, those days of ease are never going to come!
Our western consumer culture defines how we live more than we like to admit. It shapes and drives the use of our time and money. We have got used to spending what we don't have, and treating our time the same way as our money. We are living in the red, overdrawing month after month, damaging relationships, working without energy or initiative, robbing our bodies and minds of rest and energy. More than this, we think it's ok, and that someday we will catch up.
This entire strategy for life is flawed. We live with no margins, no room to breath, to stop, think, reflect. No room to respond to what is going on around us in the world. So often living for the weekend or next holiday.
This kind of frantic living is entirely dictated by a world view which says we have to push ourselves in this way - But it is bad news for us, and even worse news for those who should be able to see Gods people living counter culturally and distinctively. Something's got to give and the solution is radical. We were designed for hard work, but with patterns of restorative rest built into our lives.
This summer I'm endeavouring to reintroduce some margins. Some life space in which to deliberately slow. The only thing diaried is the space itself. The kind of rest which does us good, restores our energy, stirs our creativity. Usually that involves being around the right people - those that are good for you, and you for them, children, family, husbands wives, real friends.
I've been reflecting on the way that I'm wired for this process and I'm using the formula FUNF. You can laugh all you like, but it works for me! FUNF stands for : Family. Us (me and Cazzy). Nature (if I don't go walking, reading, thinking, people watching in a city, running in the streets, watching great movies....I'll dry up!) Friends(People we can be ourselves around). Your acronym may be a little different depending on your own make up, but most of the same things will do most of us good.
Author Floyd McClung says it well in his book, 'You see Bones, I see an army' : 'If there are no margins in your life, you will not have time to hear God. If there is no space, no free time for you to read and reflect, how can you be refuelled emotionally and spiritually? Passion for Jesus and his purposes in life are chosen, then nurtured by those who refuse to let the world shape them in its mould. You are free to say no. If you don't, the camel of frantic living will hunt you down, run you over then dance on your grave!'
We all know what we did last summer! Are we going to build in some lasting margins and habits this year which keep that crazy camel of frantic living off our case?