I love the beginning of the school year. The blank notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, and crayons that haven’t lost their tip remind me it’s a fresh start. With that fresh start comes a hidden danger. It is the same danger that occurs when you have an empty plate at the beginning of a long buffet line! The danger is to fill your plate to overflowing when you see all that is available! Out of excitement, you either get more than you could eat, or you get to the end and realize you didn’t leave room for the one or two things you really wanted!
The same can happen in life. We fill our life plates with all the things that are available never stopping to ask ourselves, “Is my plate getting full?” Perhaps the better question should be, “Is this what the Lord wants me to be involved in this year?”
Carelessly filled plates cause dilemmas. They produce people who are burned out, fatigued, frustrated, and unable to accomplish the task they were intended to do. I have seen this in my own life. I have gotten to the end of a week, and realized what I really wanted to teach my children somehow managed to end up at the bottom of the list.
Just as eating healthy takes discipline, keeping our life plates filled with only the things we are supposed to do requires us to be intentional.
Often we fill our plates full out of fear. We think that by staying “busy” we will produce children that will be successful and valuable to the world. Also by keeping our own plate full, we can feel valued and needed. It is easy to forget that there is a God who has a unique plan and purpose for our child’s life. Not only does He have a plan for their life, He also has a plan for your life as well.
Psalm 127:1-2 gives us this reminder “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”
I don’t want to “labor in vain!” I don’t want exhaustion, fear, and frustration to reign in my heart because I filled my plate too full.