I’ve suspected for a while now that hurry injures my soul (and I know for sure it hurts my kids, plus rushing children is nearly always counter-productive.) But still I find myself double tasking from morning to night. And while my love for podcasts and audiobooks is well documented (and probably not going away), I do wonder if living my days with constant background noise is my best choice.
I could blame this tendency to rush from one thing to another on the busy work season I’m just finishing, but let’s be honest: Too often this is how I choose to live my life. And all my seasons are busy seasons.
I don’t love being busy, but it feels productive, it feels right to be busy.
Busy people are wanted, necessary, popular. Busy people are important. Busy people aren’t sitting home waiting for life to happen to them. But do busy people have time for real relationships? Are busy people rested, awake, aware? I want my family and friends to know they are welcome and loved, but I can’t think of a single person who’s made me feel welcomed and loved while also appearing busy.
A certain level of busy comes with the territory in my current stage of life. But how much busy am I signing up for, voluntarily, and to my own harm?
I don’t like being distracted, but if I’m being real, I like distraction. I like having too much going on to deal with what’s really going on.
I like rolling out of bed to scroll mindlessly through other people’s social lives rather than being present to my own life, my body and my soul. I like listening to other people’s thoughts rather than being alone with my own. It is more fun for me to handle other people’s problems than to face my own. And I like the superhuman feeling of cooking dinner while watching a show on Netflix and also helping with homework and keeping all the plates spinning. Even when the superhero cape slips and I know I’m irritable and snappish because there’s just more noise and chaos than I can handle, I like being busy.
And I hear the gentle voice of my Father calling,
“Be still, and know that I am God…”
Thanks to technology and one thousand labor saving devices, men and women of our generation are more connected and can get more done than anyone who came before us. But does the fact that we can mean that we should?
I am feeling the call to SLOW DOWN.
I am trying to answer. I answer the call to slow down with the daily practice of stillness, and by asking myself a series of questions about my day to day life.
With all the things I feel I have to do, or should do, what is really mine, and mine alone?
Where could I ask for help, or say no, or let my people take care of themselves?
And if I can’t (or won’t) ask for help, or say no, or let people take care of themselves…. Why not?
What would happen if I stopped multi-tasking? Would life stop, would my family fall apart if I did one thing at a time?
What would it look like to give each thing I do, each person to come across my path, my full attention?
Life comes with built in slowness: Whether they are expected or come as a surprise, we all face delays and waiting in our days. Stoplights. Bathroom breaks. Waiting for the toast to brown, or the water to boil, or the kids to come running out of the school.
What would it be like to receive those delays, those waiting times with patience, as a gift? What if those waiting times were my reminder to breathe, to be still, to slow down?
Relationships (with God and our fellow men) require time and attention. It is so tempting to rush through all my time and never giving anything or any one my full attention. What am I missing?
“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10