Summer is here and our household is flying in what seems to be a hundred different directions. Probably typical for most families.
Right now I’m doing puppy duty. We decided to add a puppy to expand our ever growing love for chaos. One of our kids is at choir camp three hours away, one is in the hospital recovering from major scoliosis surgery, my wife right there with him. A friend who’s been through it says that today is the hardest day – third day after surgery with pain ramping up. (Just heard from her, up from 3a.m. to 8a.m. with severe pain – rough night)
We are also in the midst of negotiating a very large contract that will help us better serve you and those who need to hear about disconnection and how to overcome it. All this on top of my regular job (I’m VP of Marketing at a national company) and trying to stay connected with the seven children who no longer live at home – Who, you should know, have been an amazing help while one of their siblings is in the hospital! Not to mention the holiday plopped right there in the middle of it all.
I’ll bet this sounds a lot like your life. Mine is probably tame compared to most.
It would be easy to go back to my old comfort zone of disconnection and dutiful ‘getting things done’ safety zone. It’s so much easier to manage tasks than to manage relationships. At least for me. So, how do I stay connected?
Here are three things I strive to remember when the busy-ness of life temps me to distraction.
Visit God First
My habit is to read the Bible and pray everyday – before I do anything else. It ‘centers’ me, to steal a new-agey kind of word and use it for better purposes. Instead of centering on myself or whatever the impulse my brain happens to like at the moment, I center on God and His word. It sets me. It motivates me. It comforts me. It’s conversation with God – the most important of the day!
Lately, I’ve found myself diving into emails, projects, and taking the puppy out to pee before getting into the Word. Once distracted, I tend to stay distracted. So I’ve had to remind myself to get back to it. I’ve found that keeping this practice first makes me a better man. I’m reminded of all that God has sacrificed, all that Jesus did, to win me, redeem me, and make me useable. I’m caused to be thankful and humbled. I need that.
When events are furiously racing by and people become a blur of, ‘Hi, how was your day. Gotta go. Late for whatever. See you tonight. Or not.‘ I have to fight to stay in contact. To do this I obey my impulses. That may not sound very smart to you. What I mean is that every time someone’s face pops into my head, instead of wondering how they are, I ask. Be it text, email, phone, in person if possible; I reach out. I don’t tell myself I’ll connect with them later. I do it right when the impulse happens. Even if I’ve texted my wife ten times already I’ll still say something. Even if it’s just to send her some emoji hearts. Corny, I know, but it’s communication and communication is the enemy of disconnected, so it’s my friend.
Plan to Give Time
Time is the gift that God has given us all. It can be re-gifted. When schedules and commitments create a storm of busy, carving out time for eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart conversation is necessary. Right now my wife and I have been separated by the afore mentioned hospital stay for a couple of days. She has been sleeping at the hospital. So to stay connected (in addition to texts and phone calls) we committed to a daily lunch or dinner date. Yesterday we went to a favorite restaurant with outdoor seating. We lingered over lunch, held hands, chatted, and reconnected. It was perfect. Had we not committed beforehand, we may have drifted into some bad habits. Instead, we are determined to stay connected so we planned to give time to one another.
I hope these help. Sometimes simple reminders are best. Even if these suggestions don’t work for you, I hope they will serve to remind you to find ways that do work for you. Staying connected to God and all those He’s placed in your life is necessary – not optional. Being a man or woman of God means being in intimate relationships for the glory of God. Strive for them, plan for them, cherish them.