Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Slow Going

I've been recovering from surgery for a week now, but it feels like it's been a month. Healing is slow going. There's just no way to get around the fact that it takes time. As good as it sounded to lay around and rest and watch movies, it gets old fast. I was looking forward to a break from my kids, but when push comes to shove all I want to do is be healthy enough to take care of them. Screaming and all.

My usual and preferred pace is frantic. Like having 3 doctor's appointments and 4 dentist appointments in 4 days. Or having a houseful of extra kids. And why do I like to be frantic? I'm not sure. It may have something to do with avoidance. And importance. If I'm busy I don't have to deal with my feelings, my marriage, my kids or other people. It's a nice to have a barrier from all that sticky relational stuff.

As I've been laying around, there's been plenty of time for reading FaceBook statuses. Everyone is very busy. Busy, busy, busy. And I think when we say that we mean:

I'm super busy! = I'm a fun, important, popular person who is in great demand.
I'm not doing much. = I am an unimportant loser that no one really likes or needs.

It doesn't take long being around a "busy" person to start feeling like a loser or even unGodly. (Seriously, God wants us to be crazy busy right?) And that nothing you do matters. Or your personal problems could never be important to them. I think this especially pertains to those of us in ministry.

When Mike and I were young and just starting our ministry and family we were struggling with a few things. We were looking for someone we could go to for help and encouragement. The people we thought of were always so "busy" and "exhausted" from their ministry, we didn't want to burden them with our problems. So we never asked. We never got help. That being said I'm sure if we had gone to them they would have made time for us. But the busy mantra was not exactly a welcome mat, you know?

This year has been really different. Between the leave of absence this winter and now surgery I've been forced to slow down. And I must say I don't really like it. Maybe because I feel like if I'm not running all over I'm part of the loser bracket.

The good news that God is teaching me is that slow going does not throw you into loserville. God values the importance of rest. Genesis 2:2-3 says:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

And He provides rest for us, Matthew 11:28-30 says:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

When we take the time to slow down and rest, there is time for seemingly insignificant things like reading the Bible and praying, games, reading books alone and with the kids, watching movies together, going for walks and bike rides, teaching kids to tie shoes and read. Why is it that it feels insignificant and a waste to do things that are obviously more important than running to appointments, business meetings, church activities or shopping?

It's a timely lesson because we are three weeks away from September and the beginning of school, church and extra curricular activities. I tend to get a little carried away about what I should be involved in every fall. This year I'm going to go at it slow. I have two precious years left with Maren at home. I want to be home with cookies and a listening ear when my 6th, 5th, 3rd, and Kindergartner get off the bus. I want to spend plenty of time with Jesus and in the bible. I want to go on an insane amount of cheesy, romantic dates with my husband. I want to help him with the things God has called him to do. I want to be available to people that are hurting.

To do all that, I've got to slow down some other commitments. A lot of those outside commitments help me feel busy and important but don't help me be more Christlike or a better wife and mom. We are important and worthwhile simply because Jesus loved us enough to die for us and prepare a place for us with Him in heaven. We don't have to prove anything. Jesus proved it on the cross.

What's it going to take for you to slow down and focus on the important things God has given you in your life? It might mean saying no and disappointing people. It might even be saying no to *gasp* a bible study. Or maybe not taking on regular commitments in the evening after work so you can focus on your family.

I'm going to be praying about how my life should look and I hope you will do the same. I'm going to talk to my husband about it and I hope you talk to your spouse about the pace of your life and family.

I don't think being busy and trying to keep up with this fast-paced world is going to push any of us in a more God-honoring way of life. So, don't be afraid of slow going.

Matthew 6:31-34
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 62:1-2
My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.


Sarah Johnson said...

I love that you wrote about this. It seems that so many conversations among moms and others is convincing people how busy we are. I know I do it too. Chad seems strangely unaffected by this. People will ask him what he's been up to, and he'll just be like "oh little of this, little of that." And on the inside I've having a cow, "Don't tell people that - they'll think you're not busy enough!!!!" But I'm growing to appreciate his unassuming attitude. The truth is, it is very hard to build into children's lives when we go from thing to thing. And I'm learning you can only build one brick at a time.
I love this poem and I think you'll love it too!
"Hurry, scurry
Worry, flurry
There go the grown-ups
To the office, to the store
Subway crush, traffic rush
No wonder
Don't grow up anymore
It takes
a lot
of slow
to grow."
- Eve Merriam

Wayne Pederson said...

You're learning what took me years to learn; slow down and listen to Jesus. No more busyness equals success. Jesus accomplished all his Father had for him to do. But he went alone to a solitary place to pray. I like The Message translation of your verse: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced thythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."