I used to look at my days and weeks with the, “If there is an opening, I can fill it” mentality. I’ve always liked to squeeze in as much as I can in the time I’ve been given. Even to this day I find myself trying to squeeze in one more (unimportant) task before rushing out the door, usually making us late.
When I would look at our days, I would look to see what “good” we could fill them with. Who we could meet up with, where we could go for errands, what projects we could accomplish, how many things I would achieve off my to-do list. These fillers to our day were all good, and often fun, but they weren’t letting me take time for what was really important. Conversations. Rest. Peace. Intentionality.
I often would feel some nudges if you will, to slow down. Scriptures I’d read, sermons or podcasts, even conversations with friends, would encourage me to slow down. But sometimes we don’t listen to the nudges and we need a big whack across the face, am I right? Sometimes we need to be stopped instead of slowed.
I’m thankful (can finally say that) for some stopping that has happened in our lives. While I still love meeting up with friends, running errands, projects, and to-do lists. I love even more having gaps in the day to take the time to answer the 100 questions my 3-year-old has about all the things we do in the day to day. I love taking the time to talk about a tough situation we may experience with friends or strangers with my very inquisitive sons. I love having the slowed time to shape the characters of our boys. (Because character building is a full-time job, don’t you agree?!) I appreciate the moments to stop and gaze at the clouds while reading on our deck. I am glad to be rid of the guilt of not working enough, or not being and doing enough. I love answering the daily question we ask one another, “what was the best part of your day?” and being able to smile though thinking about the joy and peace throughout the day.
There are certain aspects of parenting that each of us look at differently. But most of us have certain things we want to model well for our children as well as enable them to understand the value of these choices. This takes time. Often time to even realize our vision for our families.
It takes time for us to plan healthy meals and explain the importance of fueling our body with good nutrition. It takes time to serve others and help instill the value of caring for others without the expectation to gain something in return. It takes time to school at home and find what flow fits. It takes time to model the characteristics of a lifestyle by design that is honoring to God and not always easy. It takes time. I’m sure you’re reading this right now, thinking of your own values that take time for your family.
It isn’t always easy to experience change when you take pride in your plans. I loved being able to “juggle” everything. I like feeling accomplished. And while these desires haven’t totally gone away, (and not that they are even always bad), my heart needed transformed. I needed a perspective shift. For every yes I would say to an outside activity, I was saying no to the special, slowed moments that we now have because we finally have some healthy boundaries.
Life is a journey as we all know. It’s not a destination. While I’ve seen God move mountains in my life and the lives of others, I know that there are many more mountains we will face. I have so much more to learn, so much more to let go of. But I am encouraged at the changes that have taken place and I want to ask you, what are you taking the time for? Some may be saying, “all that sounds nice, but I don’t have time to…” What do you desire, versus what are you experiencing? Do you have the underlying peace that is promised, or is it complete chaos and you’re desperate for a change? It’s not always easy, and it’s not always popular. It’s also not always an “all or none” approach.
Take some time. Pray. Be still. Journal. Ask. Listen. I bet you’ll be amazed at what you’re shown. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, it may take…time.
What do you think? I’d love to hear!
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …