I’m not a really great slower-downer. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can curl up on the couch, book in hand, with the best of ’em but it’s likely after a day of working and cooking and laundry and vacuuming the floors (again) and driving and emotionally supporting and sending encouraging texts and planning who we’re hosting for our next Saturday brunch. It’s probably after I’ve risen early to accomplish what I need for the day. After I’ve gone for a run or climbed a mountain. After, after, after. That’s when I slow down.
When it seems there isn’t anything left within my range of vision that I ‘should’ be doing, I stop.
Often this is as I’m crawling into bed at night because we all know that Mama’s hardly have time to stop! It’s funny that I think of our family as not being overly busy or over scheduled and yet this is still how my days go! I can’t imagine if my kids were in all the programs.
Of course many of the things that keep me busy are things I love. Reading out loud to my munchkins, preparing our meals from scratch with fresh, whole ingredients, and heading out for an evening walk are all things that fuel my soul, but keep me constantly going at the same time.
I nearly laughed out loud when someone asked me the other day what I do with my days off? Meaning, the days I don’t work. We all know that days off don’t exist in the parenting realm, right?
Don’t hear me wrong, I’m not complaining here! I love my life. It’s full and rich and brimming with awesome days and amazing gifts. I mean, I don’t need to work out or develop new relationships or plan to have a young mom over to teach her some of my recipes. These are things I love. Things that add to the beauty of my life. Things I can’t imagine being without.
But it means a day in bed watching tv just doesn’t exist in my world. It means extended hours of reading on the couch doesn’t really happen. It means an extra long time of studying the word and contemplating it is rare.
I often think about the times when Jesus escaped from his followers and went up into the mountains to pray and I find myself jealous. I love the example of life that he sets out for us in Luke 6.
Luke 6: 1 says, “One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields…” in this verse he was with his disciples and he ended up in a debate with the Pharisees about Sabbath. It was a day spent hanging with his people. A day very much like many of my own.
In verse 6 it goes on, “On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching…” This time he had a good plan for his Sabbath and he ended up healing a man with a shrivelled hand. This was a planned event. To go and to teach. Much like my planned days to write for various outlets, to mentor young women, to teach my children the word of God, I love these planned times and see how beneficial they are.
Verse 12 carries on with, “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” He left where he was and who he was with to be alone for the sole purpose of communion with his Father. He set aside time away from teaching, from doing, from relationships to just pray. Amazing, right?
These passages are such a clear example of what our life should look like, don’t you think? We see a sort of balance here in Jesus Sabbaths that I would find extremely tricky to emulate but which I want to follow more than I do. He spends one day with his people, relationship building, talking and being together. He spends another with intentional teaching and then another with seclusion and prayer.
I love these three examples he gives us and I think we would do well to follow them, figuring out which we already do well and which we need to work on.
My strengths lie in relationship building and teaching. My weakness is seclusion and prayer.
Over the summer months, months that are generally slower and quieter for us with long days and less scheduled events, I want to have this in the forefront of my mind. To make extended periods of quiet contemplation and prayer a more prominent part of my life and to bring it into the fold of what I already have going on.
What about you? Which are your strong areas and which do you think need work?