It is often hard to find space to think, or rest, or wrestle. Much of our culture pushes us to always be moving, always be doing, always be striving. There is little value put on simply being.
What really matters
It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that unless we are producing something we are wasting our time. On the contrary, I find that I waste more time putting my energy and time into things that are tangible and make me feel like I have accomplished something, but don’t really matter in the long run. It is those quiet moments, when I’m able to be still, that I have a chance to remember what is important. For me some of those things are:
- Doing meaningful work that helps people
- Giving myself away in friendship
- Connecting with God
How many of the emails I send or the late nights coding really move me closer to doing the things I believe matter most? Not many of them. But, when I slow down and enjoy what is around me, my perspective often focuses and my vision clears. I can work with purpose, and then leave it to be picked up the next day and enjoy other aspects of life.
Walking out the door
I’ve taken some opportunities recently to slow down, put down my iPhone, and just watch and listen and reflect. The other day I had fixed my lunch and sat down at our kitchen table with my iPad next to me wanting to catch up on a few blogs, but I looked outside and it seemed so beautiful, so peaceful. I grabbed my lunch and sat on our back porch swing just taking in the sounds of the leaves rustling, the birds chirping, and the sun pouring in a gentle warmth. I brought my iPad with me and never picked it up. I was only out there 20 minutes, but I left feeling incredibly renewed and refreshed.
The next week I was at the office by myself one day and walked to the square to eat my lunch. Feeling the sun on my back and just removing myself from my work gave me time to think about my family and what was going on in the world. I came home that evening and told my wife she should bring our sons and have picnic in the square one day soon.
Of course, creating space doesn’t have to happen outside, it can happen driving in the car, dancing in the kitchen, or reading in your favorite corner of the couch.
Joy is all around us
These little moments lead me into joy, take me out of the grind, and remind me of why I’m living. It is powerful to realize that I don’t have to go on a week long retreat or backpack in a National Park to find quiet and rest – they are available in small ways every day.
So, here’s to more picnics, more morning walks, and soaking up the cool autumn days.
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