Slowing

I don’t know if it is just the season we are in, the circumstances of our lives that are beyond our control, or if it is the choices that we make. But one way or another, we are busy. Too busy.

It feels like in this modern age “business” is a badge of honor. “How are you?” someone asks at church on Sunday morning or in the grocery store aisle or wherever you happen to bump into each other. “Busy,” you say with a smile and a sigh.

Busy.

Maybe it’s the “protestant work ethic” (although I don’t think so), or a need to succeed, or that elusive “American dream.” I don’t know. But when it takes over a month to find an evening to have dinner with friends, something is off.

I have to remind myself sometimes that busy doesn’t equal productive. And productivity shouldn’t necessarily be our priority.

Yes, God created us to work and work to be a good thing, a gift! But work is not everything. Chores, errands, running around–that isn’t the mark of a good life.

I keep a schedule because it keeps me from going crazy and simultaneously guarantees (or at least helps) that all of our responsibilities will be met. But I never want to be chained to a schedule. I don’t want the calendar to rule our life. It should be a tool, nothing more. And if that means things need to be juggled and rearranged in order to make room for some good community time, so be it.

Is it naive of me to constantly think that the next season, the next step, the next year will be smoother, easier, simpler, slower? Probably.

If I can’t manage to simplify my life now, what on earth am I going to do as life compounds and grows?

While I cannot control or change many of the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can work within those to make the best choices possible. And I think sometimes we let the rat race of American life determine those choices rather than wisdom. I’ve shared before how hard it is to find the balance, the rhythm.

Choices — hard choices — must be made. We chase after dreams (good dreams, God-inspired dreams) until we are exhausted. Maybe I need to lower my expectations, my standards. But I believe in excellence, so maybe I need to pare down the various things that require my time and energy. But where? Work is a must, marriage obviously requires effort, involvement in church is paramount, small group is one of our top priorities, animal care is necessary…

And so I return to my original place, tired and busy with nothing changed.

But God reminded me of something recently — it isn’t through my strength, but His.

This weekend, I’m going to start moving a little slower. I’m going to take time. I’m going to live.

Want to join me in slowing? I suggest watching Carl Honore’s Ted Talk for inspiration…

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