Sarah has a lot going on. She plays in three school sports a year, each of which involves daily practices during the season and regular workouts in the off-season. As a favor to her, the coaches in two of those sports encouraged her to participate in summer leagues to work on various skill sets that would enhance her performance when the school season came back around. Apart from sports she’s a bit of a drama buff, and her academic schedule isn’t exactly a picnic either. She’s taking multiple AP classes, hoping to test out of some college requirements. Next year she’s considering dual-enrollment at a local college. She’s learned that time is precious and doesn’t want to waste time now OR later when it comes to her college education.
Sarah loves her family. They support her in all that she does and, until recently, spent most nights transporting her to all of her various practices and play rehearsals. Most of their “family time” is reserved for family vacations, which usually are trips to visit more family. She also has a boyfriend and tries to spend at least an evening every couple of weeks with him. Life is full, but she’s learned to handle the busyness. She just wishes she didn’t feel so distracted.
Lost in the Shuffle
There are days when Sarah misses the simplicity of her childhood. There are days when Sarah misses the closeness she used to feel with her family and with God. When it comes to church, hers has never been a there-every-time-thedoors- are-open family, but church used to be a bigger part of their lives. Sarah knows that it’s possible to be spiritual and connect with God outside of the actual walls of the church and that going to church every week would make her even busier. But she also knows that, as the church has become less a part of her life, it has become more difficult for her to focus on her relationship with God and God’s will for her life. Other things have become more of a priority.
Sometimes Sarah tries to reconnect with God. She’ll do an online devotional or take a break from her homework and read a few chapters of the Bible. Every now and then, she’ll even go to a youth group meeting or Sunday school. But even though she’s friends with many of the youth at her church, she feels distant from them when it comes to “God stuff.” What happened?
Sarah isn’t a real person, but her story is a familiar one. Like many of us Sarah never intended to be so busy nor to drift away from church. She just allowed the things in her life to pull at her until she was pulled apart. The same thing happens to many Christians. Few stand up and say, “I declare this day that sports are more important to me than my God,” or “I have decided to leave the church so I can spend more time focused on my schoolwork.” Instead things just happen. We commit to one activity after another and, before long, we’ve lost sight of what is most important.
Many churches have services in which worshipers remember their baptisms. The purpose of these rituals is not for people to recall literally the day on which they were baptized. Instead the purpose is for people to remember that they are baptized—that they are children of God redeemed by Christ and part of Christ’s body, the church. All Christians need these moments in which we remember who we are and whose we are. When we remember who we are, we will remember to make time for God before filling our schedule with other things.