For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21)
This feeling has dominated most of my married life. With the changing seasons of life, the systems that once worked for home and time management became ineffective. Once I began serving my family (a very full-time 24-hour job), I could never quite find the time.
Time to play soccer, read a book, bake cookies, have a long conversation, complete chores, make a scrapbook, and most recently have an extended time with God regularly. No matter how much I got done in a day or how early I got up in the morning, I still had a million things on my list come bedtime.
Oh, I've had some great stretches over the years. Things have run smoothly for days, weeks, months and even years. But then something out of the ordinary occurs and I find myself spiraling out of control, out of time and frustrated once again. Over the years, pregnancy, sickness and increased responsibility have always edged out the routine cushioned within the constraints of my calender.
I've also come to learn that this uneasiness in my spirit is always indicative of sin in my heart.
Many years ago, I began to cry out to the Lord to redeem time in my life. As I began to do this he slowly began to loosen my tight ten-fingered grip on my own schedule.
The first thing he taught me was to consult him and honor him with my scheduled activities. For me, this meant taking my children out of a Mother's Day Out/Preschool program. A program I loved. I obeyed. I cried. I got tremendously blessed in return. Now I don't commit our family or the kids to anything I haven't prayed about first.
God has taught me to rely on him before anyone else. I went without a land line, cell phone (I actually went without 5 of them because I kept breaking them) or email for awhile. A long while. I learned to not pick up the phone and to remain busy at home. I learned not to indulge in idle chatter and waste time this way. I learned how to be connected to my girlfriends but not spend the day talking their ears off!
I used to only watch TV when I was folding clothes, a reward for unenjoyable work then the writers went on strike. I found I could go for long stretches without any TV at all. Freedom.
When I was in college I taught aerobics. I was used to spending hours a day at the gym. When the kids were younger, I would spend an hour or two each day exercising with friends. I've had to trim down my time spend there to 30 minutes to an hour four days a week.
I quit reading any book but the Bible.
My house doesn't sparkle like my standards do. It does meet my husband's standards.
My grip is loosened. My calendar has less cushion. I still had no time.
Then I stumbled on this verse in Romans 8.
God was actually allowing me to struggle with frustration so that I would long for more of him. So that I would need him more and become mature in him with a character more like his. Instead of fighting the frustration, I began to embrace it. If embracing frustration was the key to freedom from feeling frustrated all the time, then I would sing and dance every time I felt frustrated and overwhelmed. I was crying out to God to bring the freedom!
Stay tuned to see where this led me.