I listen to David Jeremiah on Victory FM frequently. I love how his messages are so practical and applicable. I can just relate so well.
Recently, while traveling down I81 his message screamed at me. He was speaking on marriage (applicable to life in general, but focused on marriage) He gave a great example, of an envelope.
Our marriages, (lives) are like an envelope- and it should be filled to about 80% for the normal life stuff, and the other 20% should be free space.
The problem- our envelopes are usually filled to about 95% with "life" stuff. Overfilled, and no room for the unexpected things. The things we all know happens, frequently. The things that throw us off balance when there isn't room for it.
No space equals, well, you know.
We're getting ready to celebrate 25 years of marriage, yay! But, a few months ago, we hit one of those places. A "you know" kind of place, a scary different place where we stood shaking our heads trying to figure out how we got there.
We identified it pretty quickly- in the flurry of the unexpected (fostering & adopting two children) we had overfilled our envelope. Our envelope was bulging! We didn't have space for us, we hadn't made time for each other. We had given all and more, to our kids.
We knew the danger in that, talked about it often but it crept up so slowly and quietly, we didn't realize it until we found ourselves in that place. And, we weren't sure how to get out.
Let me rephrase that, because we are Christians we have the answers in one book, God's word. But, sometimes knowing, and knowing how to practically do, needs some help. Because we love each other and are committed for life, we started looking for that help to ensure we got out of the scary place. With the help came some practical ideas.
We started making space in our envleope. (David's example, but doesn't it just make sense).
It required some painful choices and deciding to give up some things we like and enjoy, like choir. Like making a conscious effort to spend more time at home, with our kids instead of running around and doing so much stuff. To not lead bible study, even though I love teaching. One of the most important things we are doing, is simply making each other the priority- before our kids.
That is tough people- tough I tell you.
Especially with two needy little people who fight for every second of our time, and a teenager who needs us more than ever, even if he will never admit it. But we are doing it. We try for a daily 1/2 hour, dropping and plopping and talking and focusing on each other. We're also doing a weekly event (get your mind out of the gutter) This is our date night- out of the house, just us. So far, these events have mainly been going to Weight Watcher's meetings and dinner, but it's working for us. I look forward to Tuesday nites.
And, since we really like each other, not just love each other this re-prioritizing is bringing a fresh, new love to our marriage. We are falling in love again, and can I just say it rocks.
We still struggle with the guilt of spending time on us, and leaving the kids with a sitter so frequently, but the difference it is making in our attitudes and moods, are positively affecting them too. Subtle, but it's there.
What has your life envelope bulging?
I'm encouraging you to add some space.
Why am I telling you this now? Because this afternoon, we are headed to a kid-free marriage retreat at our church. It's called SIZZLE!
Now don't tell Rex, but I bought new pj's that aren't flannel... oh, is that TMI, sorry :)
Space = Grace to finish the Race! ......and might I add, finish it with joy.