Often on weekdays, between 3:30 and 6:30 pm, my life experiences spontaneous combustion. The transition from late afternoon to early evening is a stressful time for me. I know I’m not alone, as several friends from Bible Study recently shared that their lives fall apart during this time frame too.
What causes this window of craziness? Is it a shift in tempo, one that begins the minute that yellow submarine, aka the school bus, cruises into the neighborhood? My youngest son’s return home is akin to the arrival of the Tasmanian Devil, an energetic whirlwind that fires up the dogs, undoes my clean hardwoods and raids the pantry like an NFL team having a snack attack.
Within 30 minutes, five buddies are ringing the doorbell—at precisely the time my telephone breaks it’s all day silence by shrieking like an air raid siren. As I answer it, my cell phone bursts forth with song, the laundry buzzer buzzes, a set of window blinds crashes to the floor and one of the cats decides that now is a great time to hock up a hairball.
At six o’clock, my oldest son needs to be picked up from football or lacrosse practice, depending on the season. It’s also time for my youngest child to head to practice for whatever sport he’s currently playing. First, though, he needs to get his left cleat off the roof.
By God’s grace we make the rounds, but when my oldest son arrives home, he realizes that he left his Latin notes in his locker. He has a test tomorrow, so we HAVE to go back to school, but…wait a sec. An incoming text message distracts him. He answers, then seeming to forget Latin, hits the pantry.
“What about your Latin notes?”
“Mom, I’m star-VING,” he informs me. “Food FIRST.” As a teenager just home from a brutal practice, he raids the pantry like THREE NFL teams. There’s no need worry about spoiling his dinner—he’ll inhale that, too.
Ooh, dinner. I almost forgot about that. Hubby will be home soon and he’ll want more than a Pop Tart. What IS it about husbands and sons always needing to be fed? And what’s wrong with Pop Tarts anyway? And while I’m on a roll, do laundry, dirty cups, crumbs and dust bunnies actually reproduce?
I’ve reached a conclusion about crazy days, of which I have many. They’re precisely the reason why God led people to invent crock pots and microwaves.
I try to incorporate order and consistency into my life, but they sprout wings and fly out the window. One unexpected twist can throw the whole week out of whack and I fly through my days by the seat of my pants. Add in those impending evening activities and I’m burdened by an overwhelming sense that the day will never end. I feel pressured to complete forty-eleven tasks before clamoring out the door, at which point I’ll trip over the skate board that wasn’t there earlier.
There MUST be a way to cope as life laughs in the face of our organizational skills!
Perhaps we’re best advised by Jesus in Luke 10: 41-42, where he tells a stressed out Martha that she’s “worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” (NIV) The one thing needed is to focus on Him, which is exactly what Martha’s sister Mary is doing while Martha is having a melt down over meal preparations.
I can relate to Martha, but life is sweeter when I breathe deeply and adopt the focus of Mary. My circumstances don’t always change, but my perspective does. Looking beyond the crazy to see the Lord reminds me that none of the nuttiness is life or death…it’s just life, and whether we’re calm or hysterical, we’ve got to live it. Calm is better.
Isaiah 26: 3 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.” (NIV)
But—can we really keep it together when a broken pipe washes down the kitchen, the dog drags in a raccoon and the trampoline is about to overturn as nine kids hang on its netting like spiders in a web? Absolutely, if we have faith in God’s power to help us manage and persevere. Read Hebrews 11 and see how being steadfast in the Lord has accomplished everything from escaping the sword to shutting the mouths of lions to conquering kingdoms.
Rest assured-- the Lord is capable of helping us manage our Crazy Kingdoms. We just have to give Him His rightful place as King.