In a culture where kids are offered anything from art classes to ninja lessons long before they even know how to tie their own shoes, the opportunities for enrichment are endless.
But with Nav socials and events many weekends a month and many evenings on campus, I feel the need to protect family time even more than my peers.
I was talking with my husband last night overwhelmed with all extra opportunities for my kids. My oldest is only in Kindergarten and I didn’t realize I was going to find us here already—deciding what to commit to from a myriad of options. I actually sat down and made a list of all the choices for my school aged daughter. Some were easy to cross off as they just didn’t fit with our family values and schedule, but many were good things I felt like I should say yes to. It’s hard to say no to AWANA, right?
My kids are young and so they don’t have a clue what options are out there and so it hasn’t been that hard to limit our activities. My oldest daughters had been begging to do gymnastics and a there was a parks and rec class this fall that they could BOTH be in (they’re only 1.5 years apart) so it seemed like an obvious choice to sign them up. But as more and more options unfolded the questions began in my mind- Sshould I let my daughter have a say in what she wants to do? Is it okay to not have her involved in ANY church programs right now? Will she be upset when she discovers she was old enough to be in the Christmas play at church but I didn’t let her?
And then it hit me. When I look around at all that’s being “advertised” I feel like I need more, like I should do it, like there’s no way I can say no to such a good opportunity that Ellie would LOVE! But with so many options I’m paralyzed, overwhelmed, filled with mom-guilt. How do I choose?
When I press into the Lord to pray and process with Him: How are my kids doing physically? Spiritually? Emotionally? Mentally? What are their needs? What are things that would be helpful for their development right now? (Thoughts taken from Train Up a Mom Bible Study by Vollie Sanders) I can clearly see what my families needs are right now. I can make decisions not based on what is offered, but based on what would be helpful. I can see that the world around me will continue to pass me by, but I can choose to be fully present in my little world, the life, calling, ministry, and family that God has given me. And I can help engage our kids in the many “extra” things we do as a Navs family- hosting socials, going to campus, meeting with students, attending regional meetings and, the list goes on and on. With all the ministry activities for me (and our kids!) it’s all the more important to carefully guard our family calendar.
And I can use what I’m discovering
o help the students and staff we work with to navigate the world too. A world where “more” and “better” is always vying for their attention. A world in which being faithful to your few commitments is far less popular than trying to stay connected to everything (and everyone). I can help my EDGEr to see that she is already committed to a lot of good things, and yes, there is always more she could do, but it’s okay to say no. And most importantly I can help myself plunge forward with the things that I am called to do, even when I’m bombarded with advertisements of other things I could (and even feel like I should) be doing on a daily basis. I can trust that the Lord gives me counsel (Psalm 16:7) and holds my lot (Psalm 16:5) and nothing the world tries to sell me is better than that.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Psalm 16: 5-8
Katie Haas has been on staff since 2007 when she married Noah Haas. Both graduates of UW-Eau Claire and Wisconsin natives they joined staff at UWEC and then did their staff training at The University of Illinois under Norm and Katie Hubbard. They have been campus directors at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater since 2013. She is a mom to three little girls: Ellie (5), Josie (almost 4) and Annie (10 months). She loves hosting, baking, playing games and collecting memories of day-to-day life by creating Shutterfly albums.
BONUS – we will give away a copy of Lisa TerKeurst’s book “The Best Yes” at the end of the week. To enter for a chance to win leave a comment below or on the blog. The winner will be drawn on Friday.