Kristina Talbot is reworking her calendar to create space for her schedule to include less upheaval and more order.
It finally happened: I converted from a handwritten calendar to an electronic one. I know I’m not the last holdout, but with all our children now school-age and thus each having afterschool activities, it was time for a color-coded calendar that my husband and I could access on our phones. I try not to look at it too much, because when the month view comes up, it looks extraordinarily full. It can be overwhelming to see all the places I need to be each day. I find that amid the daily grind it is easy to forget not only where I need to be but whose I need to be.
This past summer, I took a somewhat unscheduled sabbatical to be with my family after going through a difficult time of loss. It was a beautiful gift to shift away from managing household life to engaging in our family life. The difference was not overtly apparent to the outside observer but interiorly felt within our home. This intentional recalibration was rooted in prioritizing my prayer life and relationship with family in order to be more present to both.
There is a thin line between managing and engaging with loved ones. Managing is a necessary part of family life. The schedule does have to be monitored, implemented, and drivers need to be assigned. Engagement in schedule planning allows for a deeper awareness of what the schedule means for each household member. Finding where an invitation can be declined or when family will all sit down for a meal together supports efforts to do more than soldier through each week hanging by a thread, waiting for the next break.
A full calendar can make the notion of slowing down feel unattainable. Maybe we don’t necessarily have to slow down to feel less upheaval. In choosing to be His beloved first, we give room for the God of order to restore even our calendars to a place of order.
When we choose to engage in our relationship with the Lord, He leads our plans, and the full calendar turns from a burden to a blessing. What a gift to have loved ones with time, talent, and treasures to share in our communities. How beautiful that family and friends desire to spend time with us.
There are a few things we can do to reorder our lives and become more engaged in what is happening on our calendars.
- Allow time to assess what we permit on our schedules before we respond. This can alleviate some of the stress caused by overbooking.
- Acknowledge that all events and activities are not mandatory. This can create room for saying ‘no’ to some invitations.
- Incorporate unplugged time as a household when everyone, including parents, is off-line. This can provide opportunities to engage in fun and converse with one another in meaningful ways.
- Set aside dedicated prayer time that is doable and sustainable, even if that starts at 5-minute increments. This is worth putting on the calendar to support it happening consistently.
Despite assigning each family member a color on the calendar, I honestly forget each person’s color designation on a regular basis. What I try to remember is to check in with my family not just about homework but inconsequential things, such as their current favorite colors or what is on their latest wish list.
Taking moments to know the ones whom I live with creates space to become more aware of who I am and even more importantly, whose I am.
Copyright 2022 Kristina Talbot
About the Author
Kristina Talbot is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and native Floridian who loves that her engineer husband enjoys Karaoke, and her four children enjoy carpool line with the music up. Kristina is the owner and founder of ARISE Mental Health Consulting Services and has a ridiculous amount of knowledge about football. You can follow Kristina on Facebook and Instagram @arisemhc.