What American Culture is Teaching Us About Being Christian

Do you feel like your life is in chaos 90% of the time? I don’t normally feel like we are crazy busy but recently I’ve felt a little overwhelmed.

We have just come out of a super busy season because we added an additional activity to our family dynamics. On top of Brienne’s piano/ukulele lessons and swim team practice, we signed Jonah up for winter soccer. I’m glad we did, but it definitely caused a little bit of stress in our family.

Here was a typical day:

3:45 The kids and I arrive home from school; I start dinner and change Jonah into his soccer uniform

4:15 Leave home to take Brienne to a 4:45 swim team practice

5:00 Arrive back home in time to feed Jonah before soccer

5:15 Peter arrives home in time to take Jonah to a 5:30 soccer practice

5:30 Feed and bathe Vivienne

6:15 Leave to pick up Brienne from swim team practice

7:15 Brienne, Vivi and I arrive home from swim around the same time Jonah and Peter are getting home from soccer; bathe Jonah

7:35 Allow the kids to unwind from their day with a short tv show

8:05 Bedtime for little kids

8:15 Brienne, Peter, and I finally eat supper

It was just a tad bit exhausting.

I recently listened to a podcast by David Platt where he spoke about our roles as parents. It really did a number on me. While our culture teaches us that busy is better, God’s plan for our families is different.

The American church culture even encourages busyness. Just look at all the programs offered by many churches. (And don’t get me wrong – I don’t think “programs” are necessarily bad.)

As a society, we are encouraged to involve our children in extracurricular activities. Take a look around you – at your friends, at yourselves – and you can see what is most important to a family. We are told to sign our kids up for activities because it will 1) make them more well-rounded individuals; 2) teach them teamwork and sportsmanship; and 3) look good on a college application.

But let’s step back a minute: does it really matter, in the long run, if your kid was involved in baseball, football, track, and guitar lessons? The answer is clearly no. What are we doing as Americans? Why do we think all these activities are more important than spending time with family or ministering to friends?

Before you get defensive about all the activities you’ve signed your kids up for, let me say this. I love having my children involved in activities like swim team and dance and soccer and music lesson. I do think it helps them cooperate better with others and gain self-confidence.

However, when we are running ourselves ragged to get one kid to this practice and another kid across town to another practice, when it interferes with family dinners and movie nights, when it interferes with our family attending church together or serving in some capacity together, when it interferes with family Bible study time – well, then it has become too much.

And I’m not saying I have all the answers because I don’t. Obviously.  I’m still trying to work all this out too, and it’s a constant struggle.

What I do know is this: Our culture is teaching us that being a Christian doesn’t really mean following Jesus. Instead, we are encouraged to be busy with things that aren’t important. And I know this is hurting the heart of God and causing us to miss our callings and divine appointments.

So here is my question to you: How do you handle the busy seasons of life?

Do you just say no to all extra activities for your kids? Some families allow one activity per child but when you have more than one or two children, that still makes for a busy schedule.

Do you hire a teen or a nanny to help you? Sometimes just having an additional person drive your children where they need to go is a huge help.

Do you eliminate an activity before adding something else? Every time we say “yes” to something, we are, in actuality, saying “no” to something else.

I would love to hear how your family handles the busy seasons of life. And if you are a mom whose children are grown, tell us what worked and didn’t work for your family.

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