Slow Down

I get that my life is crazy. I do a lot of traveling, I am a part of a mission project, I have a public speaking ministry, I am a mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, neighbor, citizen, and it makes life hectic. In each of those roles, there are responsibilities, bills, relationships, cleaning, maintenance, etc. But don't we all have that on our plate in some way? Isn't the common response to "How are you?" "Busy, but OK, or Busy but good." Busy is the new fine.

Being busy is normal, we've made it normal, and we are all trying to figure out how not to be so busy. (Maybe like we're all trying to figure out how to diet and loose a little extra weight.) I don't even like saying that I'm busy anymore because I can't get any sympathy. I'm in the same boat as everyone else.

But is there a way to stop the cycle? To really slow down and change the way we do life? Aren't we in complete control of our schedule? We are the ones who say yes or no to the opportunities presented to us.

The last few months my family has tried to slowed down. I was that person who had play dates a few times a week. We were going all the time to do this or do that. I had a hard time staying home and I thought it was fun. I was doing all these great things with my kids. Fun activities, and educational outings. But we were going all the time. We were loosing the art of just being together. Learning that we don't have to go from one activity to the next. In taking that much of life, its almost like you miss out on it.

You know, in slowing down, I have noticed a few things.
* I have so much more patience with my kids. I'm not as stressed out, so there is more time to teach, be calm and show my kids a better way to behave. (By that I mean, I'm not yelling all the time, just half the time.) :)
* We have more time for reading, talking, dancing, and just being together.
* My kids have learned how to be content without constant activity. They can play nicely on their own (still with normal sibling fights), but even more than that, they use so much imagination to make up things to do without my direction.
* Because we are home more and just around each other, my kids have this freedom to ask incredible questions and we get such great conversations.
* With slowing down at home, I have found that my expect ions regarding life have changed. It isn't about how much I get done (I do still struggle with this), but the relationships I am in. My husband and I are stronger and closer than we've ever been.
* Bedtime is calm and full of snuggles and songs.
* Life has more peace. I care less about what I'm missing out on.
* I have energy to get up and do devotions in the morning. I have time to really seek God's counsel in my life.
* My house isn't any cleaner, but I don't care anymore. (OK, most of the time anyway.)

I know we are busy. I know its hard to learn to say no. I still really struggle with that. It's even harder to say no to good things. Great things. Amazing opportunities. But what would it look like if we set up boundaries for our life. To protect the things we care most about? How much activities will we say yes and no to? How many nights will we spend out of the house? When will we get family time?

We are in complete control of how busy we are, so if you don't like it, try to make a better choice. The rewards are worth it.

I used to run around and do all sorts of fun things I think partly because I didn't want to be home. I thought that communicated I didn't have a life. I wanted to be that person that didn't let having kids change her life. But I also think there was a level of immaturity in there. A fear of being by myself because I wasn't sure I liked myself. By running around all the time and never allowing time to just be. Be creative. Be myself. Learn from books, from my relationships, from exploring the things I'd always wanted to do and never had time to do. I have started to discover myself and learn what I am capable of. I have had time to invest in others and really learn what it means to love them. I feel I am starting to live John 10:10, "I have come that they may have life and have it the fullest." I am experiencing deep peace, contentment, real joy, self acceptance, and a faith in God I didn't think was capable for me. This kind of depth in life is what I wish for everyone.

I get that life has crazy busy times. I can't escape that. But I don't want it to be normal for me anymore. Don't get me wrong, nothing is wrong with adventure. I LOVE adventure, but just like everything else, within proportion.