Productive busyness

by Mark Smith
Monday, July 31, 2017 | 83 days old

Recently, I asked friends of the Faith at Home N.C. Facebook page to answer a simple question: “As a parent, what is your biggest hurdle in finding time with your family?”

Survey participants responded with a variety of answers, but busyness was the No. 1 hurdle.

It would be easy to say, “Moms and dads need a total calendar makeover and to have more margin in their lives.” Although this may be true, perhaps there is another way of approaching the issue of busyness that will have an added bonus.

With today’s families living at the speed of light, busyness is more the norm than ever before. Thankfully, Moses helps us see this reality from a different perspective. He said, “Teach us to number our days” (Psalm 90:12a, NIV). The phrase “to number” means to count, assign or appoint, implying the need to make the most of your time since life is short.

Moses also said, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:7, NIV). This verse instructs parents to have intentional spiritual conversations with their children “as they go” through each day.

When we apply these truths to our survey results, we hear God’s Word encouraging moms and dads with one simple idea: in our busyness, take advantage of the natural events God has built into each day and have Christ-centered discussions.

Drive time
While driving, pay attention to the things you pass every day: nature, people, special places, etc. Ask your passengers to fill in the blanks, “Thank you Lord for the ____ because ____.”

Also, listen to a radio Bible teacher or your favorite music channel and ask your commuters about the messages they are hearing, such as, “How does the Bible support or oppose the ideas being conveyed? Does the message we’re hearing encourage us to live more like Christ?”

These conversation starters can help fill your drive time with purposeful discussions.

Mealtime
Instead of family members eating separately or always on the go, plan to have everyone sit together at least once a week for a meal. With the TV off and devices away from the table, ask your family simple yet engaging questions: “What was the funniest thing you heard someone say? What made you sad today?”

These and other open-ended questions can ignite great conversations while you spend time enjoying your favorite meal.

Bedtime
Together as a family or with each child individually, choose a Scripture or Bible story to read before bedtime. Briefly discuss the verse or story. Afterward, spend time praying for your family, the lost, a situation they are facing, etc. This five-minute investment could influence your children’s lives for an eternity.

Sometimes busyness cannot be avoided. Nonetheless, when parents leverage the natural events of their week for Christ, our busyness can become strategic and purposeful.

Mark Smith serves as senior consultant for family evangelism and discipleship with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.