The idea of discipleship as a lifestyle became part of my DNA through college, thanks to the vision of @RealBMac. It's a value system. Though I've not been able to enter in a formal relationship at every stage of my life since, I have actively sought out younger women to give time and attention to, usually by meeting up for coffee, ice cream or even going for a run. Though sometimes exhausting (oh, teenagers...), I've come to view it as one of the the most important things I can do to live out my faith.
As we discussed discipleship and the freedom that comes with a campus schedule - oh to be 21 again! - the pastor bravely said, "I think we're too quick to throw out that model simply because people are busy."
I get that people have jobs and kids and commitments. We do! This is part of life, and a good life. An evening of Two and a Half Men reruns every night would be an obscenely boring way to live. So we invest in schools and clubs and running programs and drinks with a friend. We volunteer with the PTA or join the VBS team at church. These are beautiful things that return us home at 10pm exhausted and wondering why we can't just have dinner as a family anymore.
But stop. Seriously. We've glorified these wonderful things to the point where "I"m so busy" has become a badge. Although we all feel we simply cannot take on another thing, we've given honor to the frantic rat race because our society has taught us to believe if we're not SO BUSY than we're not doing something right. Your kids will never get into college, be able to swing a bat in public, or they may just end up in jail if they're not socially awkward freaks.
I contend that busyness is not a state of the calendar but of the mind. Busy is when your calendar bosses you around, rather than you directing your time and energies wisely (a Fruit of the Spirit, according to Galatians 5 in The Message). Busy comes when you forfeit control for the sake of what you're told is best.
When a person utters "but we can't just..." then it's a clear sign of the glorification of busy. The events and activities of our lives have begun to control us rather than complement the life we're given. We have been taught we cannot say no to the basketball coach, the church ministry, the overnight or the fundraiser. But it's a lie: we can. And we should.
My friends, have no shame in saying it: That doesn't fit for what is best for our family right now.
We love the idea, but have other priorities.
How about another time?
We cannot do this, but how can we support you in other ways?
I can hear the parents of older children already... "just you wait." I get that my non-involved 5-year-old makes this an easy message to preach. But no lobster stays swimming in boiling water - it dies after the pot warms over time.
After reading The Price of Privilege and The Overachievers, I'm convinced the mentality of "more is better" and "activity equals success" will continue to crush the spirits of our emerging generations*. They might not learn the sacred gift of knowing what enough looks like. More, better, best will race them through life at the cost of beautiful opportunities to experience goodness, all for the sake of winning an imaginary prize to the top.
Fill your days with events and activities that grow you. This can even mean the things which are not our favorite, but are best. But live as if you actually have a voice, if not the voice, in deciding how to spend your time. When we begin to live not as victims of an unruly calendar we may find just how much joy these hours will bring us.
*Hey church. I'm looking right at you, too. The softball team doesn't have a corner on this market.