BY LEANN DILBECK –
We’re taught as small children to color within the lines – to stay within the margins. We learn our parents’ rules, the school’s rules, and of course, girls have their own set of rules, but everywhere children look, there’s rules, margins, guidelines and we anticipate that one day when we achieve adulthood – all of those rules, margins, and guidelines will just disappear.
As encouraging parents, we all do our best to inspire our children that there’s absolutely ‘nothing’ they can’t do, that there are ‘no limits’ to what they can attain, and then we follow that by doing all we can to help them achieve (fill in the blank here). And yet, so many times, our best intentions result in families being over-scheduled, over-drawn, over-financed and over-stressed. What sacrifices the most?
Time together? Happiness? Contentment? Sometimes what matters the most is what gets sacrificed the fastest… completely unintentionally… all in an effort to have more… to have it all. So, I ask, is there really ‘no limit’?
Time and finances seem to be where today’s families seem the most stretched beyond healthy margins. Over-scheduled and over-drawn is too often the norm for some families.
We’re over scheduled to the point that from the minute our feet hit the floor, we’re running 90 miles an hour to not only make all of our commitments but to help every family member make their commitments… and when something goes awry… as it will… we literally DO NOT have a minute to spare to deal with it. We miss opportunities to speak an encouraging word, to give a few extra minutes to listen or even pray with someone who needs it, or our mood and disposition declines because we are so stressed to get to the next thing on our proverbial ‘to-do’ list.
The same can be said about finances, to the degree, that so many times families are literally lighting a match to money when they cost themselves in over-draft fees, late fees, disconnect charges, overage after overage, and paying high-interest finance programs. It’s not even always about trying to have it all or have more… sometimes it’s justified that its ‘survival.’
It’s so easy for God to be shoved aside… and we end up sacrificing what we need first and MOST. God gives us the margins in which to live, but we have to practice it. When we honor God with the first of our week (Deuteronomy 5:12), the first of our day, (Mark 1:35) by spending time in His word, worshipping and praying, seeking His counsel – either time seems to multiply, or maybe He gives us better discernment of what we should commit – but it works! The same with our finances and to those saying, ‘there’s not enough left,’ I encourage you to consider not giving Him what is LEFT but give to Him FIRST (Matthew 6:21), because when we honor and live putting God first – there really is ‘no limit’ to His abundant blessings!