Today's post was written by Beth Austin. Beth has been married to Brad for 21 years, and they have three children - Payton, Grant, and Sara Beth. They have been members of Brook Hills since 2004 and enjoy working together as entrepreneurs and experiencing and developing community through horseback riding and Iron Tribe.

Crazy busy. 100 miles an hour. Chaos. Running. No time to turn around. Chasing my tail. Stressed. (Did you even scan to the bottom and ask yourself if you even have time to read this right now?!) These are just a few of the responses that I've heard lately when asking women how they are doing. Would these words be yours? And if so, my dear sisters, they call us to evaluate if they reflect and describe a life that's attractive, magnetic, and shouts to the world that we are different to make a difference.

For sure, the demands are high, especially at this time of the year. Some could call it "Mayhem May" with end-of-year activities, graduations, finals, recitals, programs, transitioning of schedules and jobs, birthdays, anniversaries, travels for Memorial Day, and, oh-yes, Mother's Day is in there as well (and I'm sure you are still filling in your list of immeasurable things!). So how do we maintain a schedule and life that exudes JOY in the midst of FULL so that all we are doing is truly JOY-FULL?! Just some thoughts from a mom, wife, entrepreneur, daughter, friend, neighhbor (I could keep going, but you are considering if you are too busy to read this!) who has to re-visit these truths often.....

  1. When we need more time in the day, we need more time to pray. "The heart of a man (or woman) plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps" (Prov. 16:9). There is no more important call, task, or priority than to commit our day, surrendering all our tasks and steps - that the Lord would give us keen discernment and wisdom to accomplish all He chooses through us and in us. Why is it the first thing we let slide is our time in the Word and prayer? When we have increased travel in the car, we must stop for gas more often, right? We know it's ridiculous for us to think that we "don't have time to stop" for gas because we will be dead on the side of the road - this is inevitable! And the same is true with our re-filling and refueling with our time in the Word and Prayer. We must remember to take those minutes at the top of the day to start it right, so we aren't in "fix it" mode because we didn't begin with a head and heart rightly focused.
  2. We are usually the ones responsible for creating our own craziness - yes, it's ususally us! Who booked that appointment, said yes to that commitment, accepted that activity, agreed to that responsibility, signed the child up, etc? Most of the time, it's because we react in the moment, not respond according to prayerful consideration. It's been such a great habit to almost never say "yes" in the moment, but to give a "I'll consider that and connect back with you" answer. This truly gives the Lord time to guide and direct in decisions about what time is "invested" and what time is just "spent" doing things. So that we are not...."confirmed to this world, but transformed by the renewal of our minds.... discerning what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom. 12:2).
  3. There is satisfaction in simplicity. "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psalm 46:10). When was the last time we took the time to enjoy an after-dinner walk, read (you are making it through this - yeah!), enjoy an interrupted, unrushed, truly focused conversation with someone we love? Simplification of our lives, schedules, priorities, takes MORE intentionality than keeping a busy schedule and life. Simplicity is NOT the default...craziness is, but it can be chosen, with much careful willingess to die to our flesh. The flesh that wants to do all, be all, and never have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). May we be so satisfied in Who He is, that how we simplify for His Glory describes us.

Maybe you'll join me daily in this prayer because I know where we are weak, He is strong! "Lord, I know without a doubt, you've given me enough time in this day for everything YOU would have me to accomplish. I thank you for the wisdom, discernment, and obedience to be still and know that YOU are God and will whisper the things that I need to do, to delegate, or just to dump. My flesh can feel weary and hurried, but thank you for the reminder that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I want those characteristics to flow from me and be what gets "dumped" on people when I get "bumped" in my day...because whatever I'm full of will spill out and overflow. May it be You, Jesus, the One and only. May I reflect a life lived in calling and contentment, that is JOY-FULL in you."