Slowing

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…

Good Days | Bad Days

Good Days | Bad Days

Coffee Dates with God - Good Days | Bad Days

Do you ever have bad days? Just plain bad days? I don’t even know what it was that caused my bad day.

Maybe the dank, dreary weather. Maybe the extra-early rising from bed. Maybe the taxing wiring “issue” we had (think frayed wires and disintegrating insulation…AKA “could have ignited at any moment”). Maybe the fact that my best friend moved this weekend. Maybe the fact that I seem to mess up one endeavor after another these days. Maybe something else. I don’t know.

But yesterday was a bad day.

I was exhausted enough that I didn’t have the energy to really do anything. But too stressed out to actually rest.

And I began thinking about my word. Slowing.

And that brought an onslaught of guilt. I just about had a mental breakdown exactly because I am utterly failing at living my word for the year.

When he asked what was wrong, I told Husband I was juggling more than I could handle. I can’t seem to do it all well. And I am Ms. Perfectionist–must do all things with effortless ease and perfect results.

He suggested I get rid of something–anything–to slow my juggling act.

But what? I wanted to know.

Husband says that even blessings become burdens when we can’t handle them…and I think he’s right.

But what blessing would I choose to give up?

My horse? She is as much as a part of me as, well, anything. I’ve had her since she was a baby, and I sincerely can’t bear the thought of letting her go.

The opportunity to go to England? I’ve never ever been to Europe, and it’s the one thing really exciting and motivating in my life right now. I just need to find a few ways to make a little extra money to get me there…

Small group Bible study? Not a chance.

Church involvement? Nope.

Work? Not really an option…

So how do I go about slowing this year if I can’t seem to pare down my schedule?

My urge to purge and organize are a great place to start (a simplified home will definitely foster slowing), but it has to go beyond that. I need daily time to spend in Scripture. I need regular exercise. I need time for bubble baths and hot tea. But where can I find the time?

Perhaps scheduling my day would help…as in, official, written down, time allotted for various activities. Considering the fact that I am a known “rule follower” setting some rules could be a good step.

Here’s to hoping for a few new ideas to produce a few better days!