It’s a funny thing how God never lets me forget how desperately I need Him for every moment, every breath. Ever since agreeing to share on this topic my life feels like it has been a whirlwind. Life is always a whirlwind, but before it felt like a manageable one, with fixed stops built in to most weeks. Some were out of hand, but I guarded our time closely. This year, though…oh, this year. My comment last week to a friend was that my “new normal” is a constant sense of drowning. So, I still have much to learn in the slow down department. But I am well aware of the need and the distinct feeling that life was meant for more than all this crazy running around. So how does the slowing down happen when the world seems determined to keep us all so busy?
For me it has required a real heart-change and a true lifestyle change, and it is a thing that is on-going, constantly re-examining, re-evaluating. It is a thing that is specific to each woman and her family. It begins by knowing your priorities and your limits. Everyone’s priorities will be different. My priorities are: my relationship with Christ, an excellent marriage, my kids’ hearts, and an orderly home (easier to write on a screen than to execute in real life). Everything else in life has to come after that, except maybe the house keeping part….sometimes it has to wait, because as task-oriented as I am, I do know that people are more important than my to do list and the laundry and dishes will wait, while time won’t. That said, we make time for what matters most to us. Yes, there are seasons of life when we are slaves to the tyranny of the urgent and we simply do not have time for something, but this should not characterize our life. The things that are most important to us will consistently rise to the top of our to do lists and we will inevitably find time for those things.
The next part is knowing your own limits and learning to say no. We all have different limits on how much we can juggle. I am a poor juggler and I can always tell I have too many balls in the air by how the house is holding together, by how my children are treating each other, and by how I am responding to my children and my husband. I have had to learn to say no to many things. Things I want to do. Things the children want to do. Things that seem important or sound like just plain fun. I cannot do everything in life and do it well. I have to choose the things that I want to be excellent at and focus on those things or I will be mediocre at everything.
There are so many good opportunities out there. Opportunities for our children, for our families, for us as women….it’s truly overwhelming, all the things we could participate in. But if I say yes to all the good things, I may find that I miss out on the best things, and sometimes the best things are just being quiet at home, enjoying the people God has given us to live this life with. Simple life, simple pleasures.
One wise (and Spirit-led) friend sent me this quote a couple of years ago. I do not know what I had planned that day, I only know it was going to be an insanely busy day in which it would have been extremely easy to ignore or be unkind to my children and these words cut straight to my heart….
Busyness is not Godliness. God is not impressed with your production capacity as much as He is concerned that the product of your home – your own children – be chiseled and molded and perfected to the best of your ability. You may tire of this mundane task, but the Lord admonishes you not to grow weary and promises to supply the energy and strength as needed in this all-important task (Isaiah 40:28-31). God’s strength is for what He plans for you to do – not stamina for everything you might want to do. ~ Dorothy Patterson
God has gently, over the past few years, been teaching me to slow down. I look at my girls and that my oldest is a ten year old fifth grader and I see how quickly time is going. I want to grab it, to stop the hands of time, to gather up these moments and savor them. If I am constantly going my own direction, doing my own thing, or too busy taxi-ing my children to every single activity they can or want to be involved in, then I cannot slow down to savor life. Frank Clark (don’t ask me who he is) said, “A child, like your stomach, doesn’t need all you can afford to give it.” I might add that we as grown ups don’t either.
What about you? If you look honestly at your schedule, what do you need to cut out? What can you do to slow down the relentless rushing current of time? May I encourage you to pray about it this week? I know I will be daily. I know life was meant for more than rushing all over town in my SUV.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Next week we’ll begin discussing some practical, every day ways to balance all we have on our plates.
For His Glory ~