If you are a busy mom like me, you have a lot to get done and you pride yourself on your accomplishments. In fact, many of us measure the success of our days by how many items we were able to tick off of our to-do lists. Kids, school, laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, field trips, carpooling…the list goes on and on. It seems like almost every minute of the day is spent in overdrive, rushing to get from one thing to the next. We rise early to get a head start on the day and stay up late to squeeze a little more productivity into our 24-hour allotment.
Even when we are doing something, our minds are already thinking ahead to the next task, planning how we can most efficiently manage each chore. In this mind set, with our tasks set ever before us, any interruption to the plan is just another thing to manage. If we were waiting tables or building widgets in a widget factory, that would be one thing. However, if we are building human beings (i.e. raising children) this becomes a problem. Children don’t thrive being managed – cared for apart from the heart of the caregiver.
In fact, studies of orphan children show that children who are managed, kept alive by being given food, shelter, and clothing, still fail to thrive – because they are lacking the loving interactions, the physical presence, and touch as those of a mother. This may seem extreme, but the reality is that children (and husbands) need us. They need our hearts and our hands…and our time.
In all of our intense focus on getting things done, have you ever considered what you may be missing? I’m not talking about dusting the base boards, or more time to surf Pinterest. I’m talking about being there to listen to a teen-aged heart that you didn’t even know was hurting, or being available for impromptu requests for creative exploration with the little ones. Yes, unplanned family needs.
“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…. Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”
― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
Increasingly our society is so focused on achievement and accomplishment that our relationships are suffering. We’re spread so thin there is no heart and soul left to give our families.
So How Do We Slow Down?
The idea of simplifying our lives is everywhere now. Much of our society is stressed out and looking for relief. The problem is that simplifying has become just another thing to accomplish. We’ll organize, buy planners and shelves and other do-dads to help us streamline our lives, but if our focus is only on getting one more thing done, we labor in vain.
If you want more peace and joy in your life, you can’t get it in your own strength. It is, however, freely available to all.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 ESV)
If you’re stressed out and exhausted, ask yourself how much you have been abiding in the One who gives all things if we would only but ask. By abiding in Christ, the fruit of His Spirit will organically grow love, joy and peace in your life.
“Simplicity is not a discipline itself but a way of being. We begin to practice simplicity when we intentionally arrange our life around God – what he is doing in us and in the world – and let the rest drop off.” – Jan Johnson, Abundant Simplicity