Back to school time for parents and kids can seem like a lot of hustle and bustle. Gotta get a new backpack (or clean up the old one from last year), get the million things on the school supply list, new clothes perhaps so cuteness can abound, get to bed earlier, plan lunches, talk to teachers, fill out paperwork for hours…
I could go on for days about stress of getting ready for school. Not that I’ve ever had to get a kid ready to go back to school, but I sure did that for myself many, many years.
The hustle and bustle can be stressful. I kinda think of it as similar to the hustle and bustle at Christmas time too: presents, food, traveling, managing money, Santa, pictures, family, tree, church…
I could go on for days about this too.
It seems no matter what’s going on in our calendar our culture does a really good job at making us stressed out about it. We set expectations on ourselves, others, the schools, our homes, families, friends… And for what? So, we can be the cutest, give our kids the best, look like the perfect family, be the perfect student, have the most or best stuff?
What if we took a moment to step back, breathe, and refocus?
What if we could de-stress these stressful times by taking pressures off ourselves that our culture tries to drown us with?
What if we could focus on what was the most important thing?
At Christmas time of course the most important thing is Jesus. So, can we focus on showing His love and sacrifice to others? (I’m not saying we can’t give gifts, but I am saying we have the ability to simplify.)
At Back-to-School time the most important thing is also Jesus. So, can we focus on our kids and helping them feel loved and cherished – like Jesus would? (I’m not saying we can’t buy them things, but again I am saying we don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s – or what the culture says we have to be and do and have.)
It’s so easy to lose our focus when there are so many distractions every single day. Think tv, cell phones, radio, billboards… These things on their own don’t seem so overpowering, but when we look at our cell phones for over four hours a day, watch tv for over five hours a day, and listen to the radio for about two hours a day (these are average amounts for Americans according to google) our time is nearly filled up. That’s about 11 hours of marketing that we’re getting per day. People trying to get us to buy, buy, buy so we’re happy and more fulfilled.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:20,
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
If we’re so focused on what our culture tells us we should do and what we should buy we are storing up treasures on earth. We’re trying to keep up with everyone else, and causing ourselves endless stress in the process. All. Year. Long.
So, how can we reduce stress and refocus?
I might invite for us together, to reduce the amount of media we’re taking in during our personal time.
I might invite for us to resist the temptation to be the same as all the others, feeling the need to buy all the things and go all the places, and focus on what is MOST important.
I also invite for us to put Jesus at the center of our focus. When our eyes are trained on Him, no matter what comes He will provide us His perfect peace. BUT, we must keep our eyes trained on Him. (See Isaiah 26:3)
We can’t get rid of stress in this world today. But we can do things to manage how we deal with stress. We can start with reducing how much hustle and bustle we allow during each the seasons.