Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Priority of the Home: Part 3

This week at I've been sharing some systems that Andy and I have in place to help us prioritize our home. Today the topic is Keeping Evenings Free.

For whatever reason, a lot of people think that our evenings are probably slammed with dinner meetings and/or church functions. The truth is, they're normally not. There are weeks or seasons where we will have something on the calendar multiple nights a week, but typically we do about one evening meeting per week.

We have some standard events a few nights of each week. Thursday night is almost always spent babysitting for the Santos family. Friday night is almost always date night. And Saturday night is spent preparing for Sunday morning...we rarely go anywhere on Saturday evenings.

So that leaves Sunday-Wednesday evenings as discretionary.

It would be oh so easy for me to fill up each of those times slots with an activity. There are always people with whom I would love to have dinner or an evening cup of tea. There are always several women on my heart that I would love to disciple or encourage or just have a good conversation with. There are always at least two or three initiatives rolling around in my mind that I'd like to gather a team of people to get started.

We have to fight to protect that evening time together as a family.

The boundary that we have set for our family for this season is that I take one night each week to myself for ministry purposes. After eating dinner together as a family, Andy gets the kiddos ready for bed and I have the rest of the evening "off". I have complete freedom to fill that time with whatever my heart desires...a discipleship meeting, leading a life group, etc. 

Knowing that I only have that one evening time slot available forces me to do a couple things:
  1. I think long and hard about how to invest that time. The past 9 months I've been discipling a couple women during that time. Now, I'm about to jump back into Life Group leadership. The time limitation forces me to bypass things that could be good for what I believe God is telling me will be best.
  2. I figure out creative ways to have more daytime meetings. Anyone who has small children could attest to the fact that it is not ideal to have little ones running around when you are trying to have a indepth, heart-to-heart discussion. However, I have chosen not to hide behind that barrier and have scheduled many a "playdates" with other women (whether or not they even have kids!). I limit this to some extent because I don't want my kids to feel neglected or pushed aside every time I take them to the playground. The conversations are frequently interrupted, but God can use even that to grow and encourage us to be an example to others of what godly parenting looks like.
This system of keeping our evenings free is tricky, and it will likely look different for us once our kids are older and we're going to their sporting events multiple nights a week. But, for this season, we keep it pretty low key to make room for family dinners, popcorn with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and games of indoor dodge ball (thank you, Andy, for that one).

It gives Andy and me space to cuddle on the couch after the kids go to sleep and watch a favorite show. It gives us space to enjoy a good book or get organized for the next day. In essence, it gives us space to let our spirits catch up with our bodies that have been going like crazy all day.

This post is intended to be DEscriptive of a boundary that the Wood family has in place, not PREscriptive for every family in the world. It's just one of our systems that helps us prioritize the home.

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."
Psalm 16:6

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