A woman who loves me sat me down about a year ago. She told me I had so much time. (What a gift she gave me!) She looked me in the eyes and told me that if I ran around and tried to do every single thing now, that I might burn out. And, even if I didn’t burn out, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the process along the way. I wouldn’t be able to celebrate the victories in life if I was always stressed about moving on to the next accomplishment.
I felt like she gave me permission to slow down, to be ordinary. There was no expiration date on any of my goals. There was no great rush. It was okay if loved putzing around the house and writing a few hundred words. It was okay if my biggest (and GREATEST!) celebration at the end of the day was that my boys had an adventure outside for hours that afternoon, loving each other well. It was okay to find joy in this very moment, rather than plan for the future.
She gave me a gift because she said, I see you. She said, I know you’ll do fun and exciting things in this life. She didn’t diminish my gifts or hopes. But, she did say, I’m afraid that you’re going to fast. I’m afraid you’re not resting or finding your identity in Christ alone. She worried that I’d be tempted to place my value in my production…what I did or created in the world. She challenged me to hold metaphorical hands with the Lord and just move forward, making sure to have energy to be in constant communion with God, making sure I had energy to love my people well, and even making sure I had energy to take care of myself.
She gave me permission to stop worrying that I wasn’t going to get it right…and I want to do the same for you.
I see you buzzing around. I see your mind buzzing even when your body may stop for a moment. I see you.
I want to hold your shoulders firmly, guide you to my giant white couch, and I want us to sit down for a talk.
It’s not a bad talk, you’re not in trouble (that would be my first fear). I want you to be encouraged when you leave.
But, I also want you to rest. You being exhausted by the end of the day every day after day does not serve anyone well. I know you’re doing your best. I know you’re trying to live up to the potential people have always seen in you. I know you’re trying to stand out and make an impact and not waste any bit of life. I also understand that you doubt every day that you even know what you’re doing, or even if it’s the right thing to be devoting your time to. But, doing something has to be better than nothing. Yeah?
And that’s the biggest pitfall you’re going to find. Buzzing around in circles is not getting you closer to where you want to be…it’s just making you tired. I know you’re trying to do right by a lot of people. I know you’re trying to get it right, to live wisely. I just want you to know that you’re doing a really good job. You have so much time.
Don’t believe the lie that you have to do it all, and do it all now. It’s a lie that will fragment you, burn you out, and run you ragged.
I’d love to see you stop. I’d love to see you rest. Just for awhile. Just to catch your breath. Just long enough to clear your head.
Then, I’d love to see you live from a pattern of rest. Not rushing, not striving. Swinging into work, swinging back into rest. Always, always, tethered to the Lord.
You’re going to do great, sweet girl. Celebrate the victories. Take note of all the good. Keep track of your progress, because you ARE making progress! It’s going to be great–and the world will keep spinning when you stop to take a rest. I promise!
With so much care and love,
Hayley (who preaches this to herself, all. the. time.)