To say that our family has had a busy schedule since August is an understatement. Like all families these days, with super-packed schedules, it seems like it becomes very easy to get preoccupied with “life.” All the day to day responsibilities of work and school keep people busy enough, but combined with the “extra” that gets thrown in unexpectedly, before you know it, you cannot enjoy life for living life!

In the past three plus months, since the first week that school began, our family has been on a roller coaster of busyness. We have experienced my dad’s Hall of Fame banquet in Alabama, suffered through dog bite, had two wedding showers at our home, organized a golf tournament, planned a wedding, and not missed a single Friday night Bears’ football game. Throw in having a yard sale, followed by an unexpected colonoscopy, a few weekend trips out of town, and one bad case of turf toe; we have been some super preoccupied folks!

I’m not complaining about being busy. I like projects and having things to do, but I have noticed that in these last few months, I have begun to feel a little stretched. Like the old orange Gumby toy that one of my boys either pick-pocketed from day care or somebody gave to them. It is made of a thick rubber that bends and stretches as you pull and yank, then as time goes by it reforms to it’s original size. The boys played with it some, but over time, Gumby fell to the bottom of their toy box where all the lonely toys go. I remember picking it up as the boys got older, and I cleaned out their toys. I could not resist a pull here and there before I packed Gumby away. I would hold on to his feet and pull his head with all my might to watch him stretch. Funny looking he was as his orange gummy body was twisted and turned. Of course, Holt and Hunter Rowland not only stretched poor old Gumby but slung him against hard objects just to watch him bounce back. (Every mama knows that little boys cannot really enjoy a toy unless they can chunk it at something!)

I think that old Gumby and I have so much more in common than I ever realized. There is a part of me that is firmly rooted in this world. The devil, fully knowing this, tries to pull me more into the world and my own selfish desires.  God, on the other hand, wants something so much greater for me than what this world has to offer, and He constantly begs me to rise above. To stretch for more of what He can give and to reach out of my comfort zone. I am often caught in the middle. Part of me desiring God’s good and His plan for my life, but then the ugly part of my sinful nature creeps up and starts to jerk me more in the opposite, bad direction.

This easily happens to me when I get too busy. I get in my “Get it done!” mindset and before I know it, I am not spending time reading my Bible or talking to God. Soon I feel myself getting saturated with the things of this world and my view of the eternal gets cloudy. I find myself thinking that things in this world are more important than they should be. It’s then that God tries to remind me about what is really important, what is really “good,” but I often cannot see past what the world wants me to believe. I have been reminded a lot lately about the 2 Corinthians 4:18 verse that says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I, like Gumby, often pull against God when he tries to get my focus on things that have eternal value.  With one son who already lives in heaven, I know how important eternity is, but the overwhelming pull of the world still stretches me thin. Life is too short to be consumed with the temporary. The things of this world that we often think are so important hold little value in light of eternity. We sometimes chase after these things when all the while God wishes we would just put half that much energy into chasing after Him.

The world will always be full of busy people, and there will always be work to get done. I just pray that God helps me refocus my attention and  make seeking Him the top priority every single day. If I will do that, then the pull that this world has on me will not be near as strong as God’s pull in my life. As the extra busyness of the holiday season gets primed up, I want this to be my prayer for the next few months: “While my feet still walk on this earth, oh Lord, help my hands, my heart, and my head to always be reaching for heaven.”

From our busy family to yours, we hope you have a blessed holiday season… with time spent focused on the One from whom all blessings flow.