Why We’re Not Playing Sports This Fall

Several months ago, Kory and I sat across the table from one another cross-eyed. We were beginning to plan for a new school year and realized for the first time how crazy it would be.

Our oldest would be entering middle school, which would create an entirely new routine and set of academic expectations. Kory would be going back to school to get his doctorate, after being out of the classroom for almost twenty years. And we would likely be launching a capital campaign at the church we serve.

In addition, I had just returned from my first writer’s conference and was feeling a deep sense of God’s leading to clear my plate of some of “the things” and dive in to the world of writing with serious commitment, really for the first time.

How would we possibly fit all this in?

We visited about it for a while, and I spent some time in prayer on my own. And then it occurred to me we had the capacity to create the needed margin for all these things. But we’d have to take a sabbatical from something to do so. In this instance, our only choice was youth sports.

The thought of it bordered on sac-religious. Because in our corner of the world, life revolves around youth sports.

After talking to Kory, though, we both agreed this might be a wise move. Just for the fall.

We gathered the kids together and told them of our plan.

They were disappointed at first. Everyone really wanted to take a try at soccer. But after we explained our family’s situation, they seemed to understand.

So we made it official. No youth sports this fall.

And all I can say is, holy cow. We’re barely treading water right now, and I have absolutely no idea how we would be managing three different youth sports teams on top of our very full plates. Our kids even agree that the decision was wise.

Thank God for sabbatical.

Thank God for no youth sports this fall.

Yesterday morning, we woke to the sound of a 7:00 a.m. alarm. And as our feet hit the floor, we were already late for a busy day. It was ministry Sunday, and our oldest and I were supposed to be at a rehearsal to carry a banner displaying one of the ministries we’re involved in. In addition, we had lunch with church guests after services and children’s choir and small group in the evening.

But we also had a very messy house due to the insanely busy weekend that comes when Kory officiates not one, but two weddings, when we host a birthday party for our oldest, and when we attend dinner with friends and a fall festival.

In addition, not one of our three kids had a stitch of fall clothing that fit (because I don’t shop until closets are cleaned out and who has time to clean closets out?), so they went to church in shoes that were too tight and pants that were too short. It had been a great weekend, but we were wrung out.

I was overwhelmed.

And tired.

Which also made me angry and frustrated on what’s supposed to be “a day of rest.” (I’m not sure what God had in mind for sabbatical, but I’m certain it didn’t involve what we’ve turned church into today.)

It’s rare that we drive to church together as a family, but yesterday we had the privilege since we all had to be there so early. And on the way, I shared my feelings with Kory.

His response?

“Why don’t we skip the evening activities at church tonight so you can catch your breath?”

And I said, “But I’m our small group leader this fall. I can’t do that?!?!?”

And he said, “Yes you can.”

I mulled it over the remainder of our drive but didn’t make a decision. And then I ran into one of our friends from small group. And then another. And then another.

And before I knew it, I realized I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Virtually everyone in our small group had a tough weekend. One couple is dealing with a sick mom. Another was in charge of fall festival and was wiped out. And another had just about as many social engagements on the calendar as we had.

Everyone needed a break.

So I called it.

And it was the best decision I’ve made in a while.

We had a quiet afternoon at home. The kids played. We finished the laundry. And we watched some football.

My kids still don’t have fall clothes that fit. But their closets are clean now, ready to house whatever we purchase them whenever we’re given the chance. Our house is ready for the week, and we had chili for dinner.

As a family.

I went to bed a better person than when I started the day. And my altar ego, Ursula The Sea Witch, finally left the building. This was good for everyone.

I’m learning that sometimes, we can’t wait for rest to come. Sometimes, we have to create the margin for rest and make it happen. Even if it means cancelling an activity or skipping an event.

I’m not saying we should make a habit out of bailing on things we’ve committed to, but I am saying that sometimes, it’s OK to say, “not today.”

Sometimes, it’s OK to be kind to ourselves and those around us by letting everyone off the hook. Sometimes, it’s OK to admit we’re human and that we don’t have the super powers we think everyone else possesses.

Sometimes, it’s OK to say, “I need some rest.” And sometimes, it’s OK to do it.

Is there some place in your life where you need to rest this week?

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