Monday, January 24, 2011

Motherhood: The Journey Has No Shortcuts!

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A country road close to my house is a popular shortcut. I can shave five or six minutes off my travel time if I take it. Most of the drivers who opt for this route are in a rush. Unfortunately, they often consider this back road not only a time-saver but also a detour from safe driving. They aren’t worried about keeping the speed limit or staying on their side of the yellow line as they wind down this curvy lane. Recently, an approaching motorist crossed the yellow line and collided with my van. Thankfully, no one was hurt. However, since the wreck, I avoid that “shortcut.” I decided that saving those five minutes was not so important after all!

As a mother, I am often guilty of taking shortcuts that aren’t so short in the long run! Some could even be considered downright dangerous. Here are a few detours I've learned (for the most part!) to avoid:

Staying up late. How many times have you worked into the night in order to finish tasks, only to run behind schedule the next day? Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep can alter your moods and personality. People who establish regular times for going to bed and getting up each day sleep better than those with erratic schedules. They are also more productive during their waking hours. You already know how much sleep you need. Establish a bedtime and stick to it.

Credit cards. Buying on credit may seem like a sunlit bypass to the life you want, but it is a road paved with deception. High interest rates, additional fees, and growing debt easily become a collision course. Ask God for a spirit of contentment with what you have, and develop a savings plan for large purchases.

Doing it all myself. While it may seem easier to let the kids play while I clean up the house, the truth is I am directing them away from valuable life skills. They may not do things the way I would. I’m sure I can do it faster, but this is one blinking light that cautions me to slow down and teach them today. Tomorrow will be here all too soon.

The Drive-Thru. The epitome of our culture’s microwaved lifestyle is the drive-thru window. We speed home, drive through the nearest burger joint, and eat in the car on the way. In doing this we not only avoid proper nutrition, but we also bypass important family time. This detour will only lead to a dead end.

The recommended route as you journey through motherhood? Oddly enough, the best way to begin each day is by putting on the brakes! Spend time with the Lord, praying and studying His Word. Watch for Him to give the green lights of encouragement you need to get through the day, and pass those on to others. When it comes to that tricky yellow light, there is a balance to be found. At every crossroads, look both ways. If the timing is right and you are maintaining a safe speed, proceed with caution. Where are you guilty of taking shortcuts that aren't so short after all? You may already know, but if you don't, just ask the Lord. With love and a longing for your best, He'll tell you.

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