Hello, Hurried Heart
I see you. You want to taste and see all the good this life can offer. You don't want your kids to miss out. You want to give them the world. You want to experience the world with them. You want to go there, do that, go there and try that and do that other thing, too. You want to do alllll the good things. You go from thing to thing to thing while barely remembering to breathe. You feel anxious under it all, but are convinced it will go away once you know that you aren't missing it. Whatever "it" is, you're still figuring out. You're at the buffet of life hoping you can squeeze just a few more spoonfuls into that tiny little spot on your plate that's not clear to begin with. But what happens when all the flavors meld together and the mashed potato gravy runs into the jello? Is that really what you were after? Can you taste and savor each flavor as it was meant to be and enjoy it for what it is? Or does it all just kind of blur together?
I admire your good desire to squeeze the marrow out of life, to fill you and your children's days with good things. I see your hopes, but I also see your fears. I see them because I've wrestled the same ones and I know them too well. And friend, I want us to be free of them. I have lost so much joy to the fear of missing out. I have experienced nagging worry that saying "no" to things will cause not just me to miss out, but my kids as well. But fear never leads us to life. It leads to stress, burnout, and anxiety, until it actually makes us physically ill (ask me how I know).
Herein lies the irony. When we are so desperate to not miss "it", when we are living from fear of keeping up, not missing out, or not being enough (even if that fear disguises itself oh so well as ambition or drive that may even be applauded) we ARE missing "it". We are missing out on the moment. On top of that, at some point, we will burn out. It is inevitable. Because we are sprinting when we should be jogging. Hurry, despite its promises to give more, will only take. It will steal our peace along with our joy and often, our purpose. We will not enjoy the good things piled onto our plate. Because all mixed together, they will become something that they were never meant to be and might even make us sick.
What if there's a better way? What if all of these seemingly good things are turning into a not-so-good-thing when piled on top of each other? What if they're even mixing into something a bit repulsive? Like gravy running into the jello on your overfilled buffet plate.
We were never meant for a life of hurry. We were never meant to be exhilarated and excited and stimulated every moment of every day until we dropped into our beds exhausted and scrolled instagram until the methodical scrolling lulled us to sleep.The more that we hurry, the more that our frenzied hearts and minds forget how to settle into the present moment and experience it for what it is. If we are always thinking about the next thing, then, well- we are always thinking about the next thing and missing out on the very real moment that is the only one we actually have the ability to enjoy- the now. It's a cruel joke. Scripture tells us that "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10. I am convinced that one of the devil's strategies of our time and culture to cause serious destruction is hurry itself.
So how do we learn to slow and say no to hurry? We practice. It will feel weird at first. We might feel like we are missing out or that we aren't doing enough. We practice anyways. We practice having an hour, a morning, an afternoon or an evening we keep open just because. We decide ahead of time and write in our planner "margin" or "homebody day" or "Sabbath". We listen to Scripture's guidelines and practice a day of rest- the Sabbath. We take an entire day where we say "no" to work and "yes" to rest and worship, trusting that God will keep the world spinning while we take a breathe. My family practicing Sabbath on a weekly basis has been a life-changing practice over the past couple of years and an exercise in trust. These things, like everything in life will take practice. You can leave the perfectionist tendencies to perfectly execute all of this at the door. But slowly, over time... you'll find it easier to exhale. You'll feel a bit of your heart that was so tightly wound expand just a bit more.
To live well, we need to learn how to practice portion control in our life; how to say "no" so that we can wisely choose our "yes". The "no's" are essential for the "yes's" to have the space they need to be rightly savored and fully lived. This will never happen by accident. We need to make space on purpose. We need to intentionally schedule in margin to breathe, to process, to unplug, to reflect, to play. If we just hope that there will be left over space where we can rest, it will often get filled in and we will be worn out. Culture around us will not do this for us. In fact, slowing down in the United States is nothing short of radical. Are we brave enough to learn how to be present in this current moment? Let's fight against the spirit of hurry that leaves us empty and ragged so that can we embrace the present moment, enjoying it for what it is. Who knows, maybe we will even learn to linger.
'Til Next Time,
Steph, I’ve been so enjoying your wisdom. Keep sharing!