By Elisabeth Corcoran
I've been thinking a lot about moving more slowly. How I run through my days. I've been running through my kids' childhood. (In nine years, they won't be living with me anymore. Nine years... ) How Jesus calls us to give him our burdens and in exchange He will give us rest. To quote a speaker friend of mine, Keri Kent, Jesus never said to us, "Get over here! I have a lot for you to do!" I laughed loudly when I heard her say that. Maybe because it resonated so deeply. Maybe because I've deep down actually thought that. A good Christian woman serves God. That's what we're supposed to do. Sure. But are we supposed to run ourselves into the ground? Do I want my children, my daughter especially, equating ministry with exhaustion and meetings and tasks that don't really fit who I am?
I had the privilege to go away for two days right after the new year started. I love doing that each year to look back over the past year... you know, take stock. I spent the first day reading my journals from the past fifteen months. If you're not a journal writer or even only a sporadic one, no big deal, right? But if you're like me, a fairly faithful everyday journal keeper, well, then that's another story. It took me nine hours to read them (and I knew how everything was going to turn out!). And when I was done I had a headache and I was depressed. And why was that? Because a few themes bubbled to the surface for me in that marathon reflection. One, the number of times that I complained about something in my life gave me pause... okay, to be more honest, I was ashamed; because I am really, really blessed. And two, the number of times I said something like, "I'm low energy this morning" or "wish I could stay here on the couch in my jammies today... that's not gonna happen for another week or so" were innumerable. And it made me sad. It made me sad to think that I've filled this past year of my life with activities, many of them apparently that I don't enjoy, that I don't find fulfilling, that just don't fit me or my season of life. I'm running. But for what? For who?
If I think I'm doing all of this to please God, well, I think I've got another thing coming. Because to be truthful, I don't know the last time really that I handed God my day or my agenda and just asked him what He wanted me to be doing. I've been doing what I've been doing for years now and I think it's starting to hit me that what I'm doing and who I'm wanting to be just don't fit anymore. I've been round-hole/square-pegging it for a while. Longer than I want to admit. Longer than I may even know.
So I'm left with some questions. Should I keep on doing and doing and doing, or can I stop? And if I just stopped for awhile, even a long while, what would that mean, what would that look like, and dare I ask what's really deep down - what would other people and God think of me? Who stops? Who isn't busy? No one I know. But I'm letting myself realize and re-remember that God called me to an abundant, free, joyful life, not a packed-out, constricting, complain-y busy one full of activities that just endure and that sometimes make me cringe. And, and this is the best part, bottomline, my Heavenly Father's going to love me no matter what. Even if I stop. And even if you do too.
So, Moms, think about it. Are you running too hard, too fast, through your life? Consider stopping, breathing, resting, finding the real you underneath it all, asking God what you should be filling your time with. Even if it's just for a little while.
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