Circles

Sometimes I envy my mom and those of her generation.

They didn’t have circles.

Oh, they may have been a member of the “sewing circle” for missions down to the church, but they didn’t have the circles we do.

Before I was old enough for school, I recall my mom’s days consisting of getting my brother out the door so he could walk a 1/2 mile down to Delta Center Elementary. Then, she spent her days cooking, cleaning, writing bills, working in her perennial flower garden.

As for media, she might listen to the local talk radio show or watch the local news at noon.

As for friends, she would have coffee with a neighbor or occasionally talk with her sister who lived a few states away, but not very often. Long distance phone calls back then were rare and expensive.

She just didn’t have a lot of circles.

Thus, she had more time for family.

And for God.

I, on the other hand, have circles.

Lots of them.

I’ll bet you do too.

Social circles.

Church circles.

Extended family circles.

Commitment circles.

Circles created by my kids’ schooling.

Circles created by my kids’ sports.

A Facebook circle…..

…..which unearths other circles:

college friends;

high school friends;

new cyber-friends.

I have my website circle. (that’s YOU!)

My Proverbs 31 Ministries circle.

A Hearts at Home circle.

The circle of clients I have at Next Step Speaker Services.

My neighborhood circle.

And on and on it spins…..

Keeping up with all of these circles is beginning to make my head spin……

In circles, of course.

So, I want to know from you about your circles.

How do you prioritize them?

How do you decide if you will even try to keep up with them?

How do you be a part of one, without letting it consume you and without offending the others who place more emphasis on a circle than you do.

And, most importantly, where does God fit into all of this circle spinning?

I have a few thoughts and ideas to share on Monday, but first, I want to hear from you.

Spin away……

Circular Blessings,

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  • Oh my goodness….my circles! I have a really hard time saying no to people and this could be a bad thing. My pastors wife (and also a very good friend) told me one time that it was OK to say sometimes. If I didn’t I might go under. I am very creative… I love to sew and create new things. I have lots of requests and at times I almost go under and when this happen, I almost always let my time with God slip to the back burner. Every couple of months I have to refocus and simply tell people, I don’t think I can get to that right now but don’t hesitate to come to me later to see if I can get to it. I do need to work on getting my circles in balance and keeping them that way! Have a blessed day!

  • This is such an important issue that women really need to think about. I have seen so many people do for their church or neighbors or friends and let their home life suffer. I learned this lesson years ago and have employed some things that help. There are many great ministries at churches and in our communities and I believe as the Body of Christ we are called to serve, but there is no way on earth God wants ANY of us wives and mothers to serve in a miniastry that takes away time from our marriage or our family. If we are spending so much time helping others and not being there for our own family, something is seriously wrong. Regardless of how important that ministry is and that God is calling you to it, you really need to listen to His voice and see what your part is. I do enjoy helping my church but I don’t think our part can be a part that keeps us SO busy we don’t cook for our family or read to our children or become too tired to love our husbands and look to our family as being one more thing to do rather than the most important thing to do.
    This is not God’s plan. Some people do it because it makes them feel important or good, others do it because they get more sastisfaction and warm fuzzies from the people they serve then they get from their own family that they work so hard for. I know, I am the only female in my house and can sometimes feel overlooked and underappreciated, but God must fill that portion of us, not outside activities.
    When God put on my heart to take care of my husband and kids first, thanks to the book by Elizabeth George, Woman After God’s Own Heart, I had a complete change of attitude. This became my most improtant job and ministry and anything I could fit in to do that did not conflict with this, I would do. I also let my friends know what I was trying to do so they would understand if I didn’t attend every social meeting or get together or party. I still go out with friends and am in a book club and other activities but if I say yes to one, I sometimes need to say no to another. I stay connected with friends with a quick phone call or note, lunch when my family is gone or coffee in the afternoon, and try to keep it all in balance. This is a short season, our kids will be grown up and gone and then my friends and I will have lots of time together.
    ON a side note, as if you want this even longer, yes, our moms didn’t have some of the circles we have but they also had all their family close by. In my area, it was rare to have relatives that lived in a different state, let alone across the country, but that is what we have today. I have never had family within 3000 miles so my friends are my family and I am so glad to have them. I see my mom now, at 70, sort of at a loss because she didn’t develop good friendships or maintian friendships and spends too much time alone. I think many of us have learned the value of our circles, as long as we keep them in balance.
    Can’t wait to see what you have to say..sorry so long, but I have seen the damage done in friend’s lives by not having their circles in balance.

  • Karen, you are a woman after my own heart! I have been asking these questions lately too…a lot. Seems like there are so many tools, apps, and opportunities that real intimacy with God, family and close friends is greatly impared. I have adjusted my schedule these last several weeks to:

    1) very little time on Facebook. FB is like looking in a window at people having a nice sit-down dinner and imagining that you are there…but you aren’t. It has its place, but its only a shadow of what true friendship is.
    2) Prioritize God first and then family. Ministry, including writing, comes last. No one else can be Grandma to my grandsons, wife to my husband and mother to my daughters. No one. Their are lots of writers but only one me in my family’s lives.

    3) In regards to writing; I tend to think in “devotion.” Which means, as I am spending time with God I have a hrad time turning off the writer in my head. Sometimes that is great as God places something in my heart to write about. Sometimes it’s bad because I skip the intimacy and go for the ministry…what does God have to say through me to others rather than what is God speaking to my heart in this time we have alone.

    I am afraid that too many Christian women, especially writers and speakers, are sacrificing the best for the good. God won’t ask us in Heaven how many Facebook friends we had.

    Thanks for bringing up this subject Karen. It’s a great one!

  • Like Jolene said – I have circles – even under my eyes! I had to tell my Pastor last Sunday, when he said how tired I look from the circles under my eyes, that no matter how true – it is just not complimentary to hear! LOL
    Anyway, yes, circles….with a husband, three kids and their activities, several part-time jobs, volunteer work, church, ladies Bible study, and a mom’s group, I have way too many circles. I am not even counting friends yet! But…my circles will be declining as I received news on Tuesday that I am being laid off one of my jobs. Another of my part-time jobs which gave us much needed money last winter will only employ me for – get this – ONE DAY this winter. So I am down to two part-time jobs, and of those, one may or may not have work for me this winter. Let’s just say that due to bills that still need to be paid, I am hoping not to get into the “self-pity circle” or the “unemployment line circle.” Rather I hope to moment by moment remember God’s faithfulness and to stay strong as I seek to do His will with this imposed next phase. My husband, sweet man that he is, has said that this is good – a “win-win” he called it. In his words, since God is in control of our lives, and He allowed this to happen, it just has to be a good thing ultimately. So I am “banking” (word play there) on it and praying for guidance.