A Key To Not Stressin’

Well, since September / October ’09, we’ve started on a journey that took us from me not working, to working part-time as a Gymboree Teacher – and Ricky working for SCBN & the Todds, to working for himself, from his home office {or anywhere that has Wifi}.  We’ve had to adjust to making less income overall, but the adjustment hasn’t been all that difficult. At first we made too much income to be elig. for healthcare insurance for the kiddos, but I waited to apply, and after discovering a clerical error they made, they (Children’s Health Ins. Program) got their ducks in a row. Now both our lil ones are insured for medical and dental needs, which is pretty great.

It’s definitely been a step of faith, but as we have been lead in our spirits to be more generous with our giving, we’ve seen over and over again God’s provision…from the status of our health to our vehicle (s)  to our home (not having to pay rent since we discovered the owners are short-selling the place & not paying their mortgage). They may end up offering us “cash for keys”  to have us vacate the property sometime after our initial lease ends (May 1st)…but who knows. We’ve even had people just stop by & give us cash, several times.  Bottom line, is that we don’t know our future, but the cool thing about that is – we don’t care much…I mean, we care, but we have never been so stress-free. Because we are assured…and are choosing to not live in fear or worry. We’re constantly reminded & are reminding each other of our past – and how our God has never let us down – how he has always taken care of us.  So no matter what happens, if we stay here in Austin – or we move back to Oregon, we know that He will not change – he will see us through & not let us go without.

We were talking about why we are not stressed out, just last night, while watching Animal Planet. And we agreed that a big part of it,  is probably because a conscious effort is made to not schedule a lot of things (or over-commit) like …

  • I know my limitations when it comes to work, so I let them know when I interviewed, that I would only like to work a certain amnt – and I’ve only worked that amnt- 18-23 hrs/wk.
  • At church, we want to serve, but I’ve also seen burn-out in ministry many times over. So to prevent that & keep it fresh, I volunteer on the worship team 2 weekends/mo. instead of every weekend.
  • We don’t enroll the kids in multiple extra-curricular activities (just one per season, for Bray…& Angel might like gymnastics starting this fall?).

I’m not trying to be all, “look-at-us”, but we’ve just noticed patterns of other families. Families who seem to be tired, stressed out and do not have enough time to go out w/friends on a half-day’s notice (or even a week’s) because they’ve adjusted their lifestyle to overcommitment. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. What we truly value the most, we fill our time with.

To us, it’s important to have an open-enough-schedule to say “yes!” to a family member or friend who needs to get together & talk or reconnect.  We may have plans that can’t be re-arranged from time to time & we’ll try to keep plans we make. But relationships can really only be built multi-dimensionally, face-to-face. So if a friend calls us up and is need or they just wanna get together & talk, we do not want our own family or church or work obligations to hinder our availability to them. We’ve witnessed some cultures do this, and how as a result, they have close-knit community. They call each other for or about really, anything. They esteem each other – they prioritize the meeting of needs (emotional, spiritual, physical & material) among each other…and in return, there is such a closeness. A welcoming atmosphere. That’s something that we used to not think about much, but maybe in the last year, have grown to admire and desire for ourselves. Having an open schedule has helped us to be available to spending time with the Lord too – reading or listening to a sermon or praying. Of course, we get caught up watching TV sometimes too – I need more discipline with my time-management. But long story short, what we’ve been learning, is time is not money. Time is love.

When all is said & done, what matters is community. The close relationships we have…the time we spend with our family, our friends, and especially with our Creator.

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5 thoughts on “A Key To Not Stressin’

  1. Brad Ruggles March 31, 2010 / 6:01 pm

    I can relate to a lot of those changes. 2 years ago I picked up freelancing again and now work from home. We also limit our girls to one extra curricular activity and we are also working on creating more community.

    • chelan April 4, 2010 / 9:36 pm

      Thanks for reading, Brad. I know our families have a lot in common. That’s prob. one reason I keep comin’ back to your blog. Any creative ideas so far on stirring up that sense of genuine community?

  2. Kim April 9, 2010 / 12:48 pm

    Love it Chelan. So true on the over-commitment thing. Been there…not fun. I’m so glad to see how God is working and providing for y’all… and I look forward to seeing y’all and hangin’ out again real soon. Love you Channy!

  3. David McLain April 12, 2010 / 11:18 am

    Hey Chelan,

    Good stuff on COMMUNITY. That’s been the focus of my last couple of blogs, as well (as it relates to the Church- but your “family-centered” angle is refreshing. When we are hurting, we NEED our friends to be available…RIGHT NOW, don’t we? And yet, when others need US, why is it that we’re often too busy to be available? A coffee 2 weeks from now will probably be too late…

    To me, the key is “keeping in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). Or as one of my professors called it, “living by the nudge” (of the Holy Spirit). That’s something I’m still trying to learn… Anyway, good stuff. Talk to you soon.

  4. chelan April 12, 2010 / 4:24 pm

    Pastor, Thanks for your comment & time. That coffee comment is true & reminds me of how great of an impact you & Josh made when you bought those Starbucks and came over, for a face to face talk. I’ve been in that position before, hurting and reaching out, only to hear in reply that their schedule needs checking & either don’t hear from them after that, or they said 2 weeks from now…or the worst one time was a date that was 2 months out. If you want to insult any friend, it’s simple…tell them you can get together in two months. It will relay just how important that person is to you (or un-important).

    I am so thankful I have no one in my life like that right now…and never want to get to that point of devaluing availability or a face-to-face talk or a favor or … whatever a ‘right-now’ need is.

    Another point I wanted to make, was : as much as I want to make it known that I want to be available for a friend in need, if I am called upon, I better follow thru with that, with integrity. I want my husband and current friends to call me on it if I say I will BE there and I don’t return a call or text or don’t make time for coffee w/them. It’s not about having time. It’s about what your professor said: “living by the nudge” which means often times, MAKING time. Carving out that time. Another reason why I am SOOO thankful for a husband who is a believer – who understands if I tell him I gotta go meet w/…______ tonight, or we’re havin’ left overs cuz _____ needs me to take them that meal tonite. He has that same Spirit of God in him enabling him to understand & empathize. Sometimes we need to sacrifice the time or better meal or whatever, if its something the Lord is gently tellin’ you to do. To be on the same page about that w/your spouse is not something I ever want to take for granted.

    The family I was speaking of that does community so well & loves the Lord wholeheartedly, is the Llanas family, Ben & Evie & kiddos. And their culture I spoke of, is Hispanic. BTW, if you ever need a painter, see him (shameless plug for his business : http://www.austinhousepainting.net/)!! I love them!

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