Do you ever have those days where you’re somehow busy all day but when bedtime comes you still feel like you haven’t accomplished anything?
I hate those days. They seem so pointless.
Today I came across this lovely Bible verse:
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – 1 Corinthians 15:58
If you are a Christian and serving God with your life, your pointless days aren’t actually pointless. Tangible results may be nonexistent, but God may use your efforts to produce results you will never see because as humans we cannot see the big picture.
Though we may not see the results, if nothing else, we can know God has noticed those efforts. Considering he is running the entire universe, that’s a pretty big deal.
I work in a gymnastics studio. This means I overhear many parents talking about how impossibly busy their lives are with running all their children to every extracurricular activity you can imagine every day. It sounds so exhausting and stressful. And unnecessary.
I want to remind them that they are the parent. Their child can grow into a well-rounded adult without having activities packed into every moment. It’s okay to say, “No, we need a night without commitments.” “No, we have other things to spend that money on.” Or just plain, “No.”
If you help your children choose their time commitments wisely, they are probably more likely to grow into adults who can make those decisions wisely for themselves. Because this goes for adults, too. If every moment of your week is filled with Something You Must Do, eventually you will overextend yourself. Time for God, time for friends, time for rest, time for quiet – these are important, too. Important for physical health, and spiritual health, and mental health, and emotional health.
Obviously different people thrive with different levels of busyness. I cannot tell you your limit or your child’s limit. But that limit exists, and consistently ignoring it will eventually cause problems.
Whether it’s for yourself or your child, it’s okay; you can say no.
I came across this Psalm recently, and I liked it a lot. I know I’ve read it before, so I’m not sure what made me notice it more this time, but apparently something did. And it talks about thanking and praising God for how he takes care of us, so it seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving week, so I decided I would just share it today.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.
Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins. They couldn’t stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death’s door. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.
Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.
He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry, thirsty land. He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there. But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. He brings the hungry to settle there and to build their cities. They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops. How he blesses them! They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase.
When they decrease in number and become impoverished through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, the Lord pours contempt on their princes, causing them to wander in trackless wastelands. But he rescues the poor from trouble and increases their families like flocks of sheep. The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.
(My favorite part is, “What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!”)
Arrange your workspace more neatly
Breathe consciously Chat with a friend Drink tea or hot chocolate, and also plenty of water Eat enough to keep hunger from making you more moody Forgive – others and yourself Go for a walk Hug someone you love Invest time in some creative pursuit: write, draw, build a tower out of your kid’s blocks… Jot down a list of what you need to accomplish instead of trying to remember it all Keep counting blessings Laugh, even if it’s only at cat videos on Youtube Make music: hum along to the radio, pound out your angst on drums, whatever Nap Open the curtains, and the windows and doors if the weather’s nice Pray Quote scriptures to yourself Read picture books from the children’s section of the library, no matter how old you are Show kindness to others instead of taking your frustration out on them Think about elephants instead of your problems Use the annoyances as ways to grow your patience Visit someone who is lonely Write Bible verses on post-its and stick them where you’ll see them X out items on the list you jotted down once they’re finished Yoga Zone out and daydream for a while
Last week, my friend GG and I went on an Adventure.
My favorite band, Yellowcard, is currently on their farewell tour; they are retiring. GG likes them a lot, too. I never really expected to have an opportunity to attend a Yellowcard concert, but when a deadline of possibilities developed, that became rather sad. So GG and I decided that even though they weren’t coming to our state, it was worth a road trip, because in the long run we would regret never seeing them in concert.
We had a blast.
The road trip itself was fantastic, as usual. On the way there, we listened to basically the entire Yellowcard collection, skipping a song here and there so we could get through the whole thing. We sang a lot. And talked. And were generally very excited.
We got to Chicago with some time to spare, so we found food and then a coffee shop to kill the extra time before we headed to the venue.
We did a lot of waiting. But that meant we were there early enough to be pretty close to the stage, so it was worth it. There were a couple opening bands, neither of which we knew anything about. One of them was pretty fun. Though their music edged into screamo, which I’m not fond of, and it made me reflect on the fact that my 13-year-old self would probably have been rather baffled to know that in a decade I would end up at a punk rock concert.
Anyway. Eventually Yellowcard was actually on the stage. It was a bit surreal, and I’m still not sure it has entirely sunk in. They performed for a solid two hours, and it was epic.
If we could only go to one Yellowcard concert, I’m glad it was one from their farewell tour, because that meant they played some of the best songs from all their albums, from the first one with their current lead singer, which came out in 2001, to the newest album released less than two months ago. There were only two songs I didn’t know well; one of those I half knew, and I knew bits and pieces of the other.
I managed to keep track of all the songs they performed so that I could write them down after it was over. I put a lot of effort into that. It was worth it.
It was loud. And elbow room was kind of nonexistent. GG informed me that it was the most intense concert she’s been to, so that was quite a change from my limited concert experience. But it was tons of fun.
Look, we were in that crowd! Though just outside the picture, unfortunately.
Surprisingly, despite singing along for the whole concert and for hours in the car beforehand, we were still able to talk when it was over. Which was convenient, because we had to compare observations.
We had a very comfortable hotel room for the night and an equally enjoyable trip home the next day (with some different music this time).
It was wonderful. I’m so glad we went.
In conclusion, have the song that made me cry when they performed it: