This is a post I published last year. It’s a message that’s worth repeating. (Thanks for checking in!) 

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the ever-changing trees and the cool, crisp air. I can down right worship amongst the trees and the sky. How enormous a color palette our Creator must have! Gazing out my picture window I am convinced we do not experience the same blue sky more than once. But here’s the problem; I can get distracted by October’s colorful spectacle, especially when I’m driving. We can all divert our attention toward something beautiful or interesting. But some distractions can cost far more than we imagine.

When my schedule gets overloaded I begin to feel stressed. But every so often I push the limit and add one or two or six too many obligations. Why do I do this? Fortunately, I’ve come to learn my limitations and recognize when enough is enough. There is a line. But boundaries often get ignored when we get busy. I refer to distractions as Satan’s most powerful tool. Actually, we make his job easy, don’t we? We can overload our calendars to the brink and crowd out time for family, rest, and yes, even God. I talk to people almost daily about over-committed schedules as they explain during our coaching session they didn’t have time to spend 20 minutes with their spouse this week, or take time to enjoy a restful evening with their family, or focus on the helpful practical tool I provided – the very thing we discussed the previous week that would help them move forward in a more positive direction in life. (Admittedly, there were a few years I fit that description.) So how do we change this?

We have choices. Sadly, far too often we find almost everything comes before our spouse/family. We can’t possibly disappoint the PTA or the ____ (fill in the blank). Do we buy into the lie that our family has to forgive us for our repeated disappointments? Afterall, they are family. I submit evidence A:  individuals, couples and families that seek coaching or counseling because the disappointments outweighed the commitment. (Ouch!) There is always the option to turn away those additional commitments.

Ask yourself this question:

What is it on my calendar that is more important than my spouse (or children, or God)?

I hope you answered, “Nothing.”

 Look at your calendar as a blank canvas. Schedule those date nights with your husband first, and the one-on-one time with your child, and the fun or restful family day/evening. Make the dinner table the main focus again (yes, schedule in dinner time with the family, at home around the table at least 4 nights/week). When you’ve accomplished that, begin to fill in your calendar with other obligations, careful not to crowd out time for rest.

Here’s another tip:  Don’t buy into the idea that your child deserves to be involved in everything, or that they should be kept extremely busy so they don’t find trouble. Our society has taken the latter to an extreme. Children should not have ample amounts of boredom, but they also need to know how to fill their time with things other than sports, dance classes, etc. What about reading for enjoyment, or spending time with you or the family playing a board game? Again, don’t overlook rest; kids are not getting enough sleep today, and it’s a problem. Ask any teacher.

So take that calendar and give it a good shake! And watch the changes that will take place, once you have your priorities in order.

What is a distraction for you?

What will you do to make a positive change this week?