I recently reached out to a friendvia email. We are both in the same season of life; married, in our forties with teenage kids and younger. We connect every so often, although not as often as we should, to share stories and support each other. Here was his response to my email, “We are doing well…life is moving at blazing speed. Life seemed slower when the kids were small (I think he’s forgotten what was it was like :) … now with them able to talk, think and drive…it’s all a bit of a frenzy, as I am sure you and Gretchen know…”.
He nailed it! I often feel that way about life. I feel like life it is moving at “blazing speed” and it’s all “a bit of a frenzy.” Do you ever feel this way? My friend and I are in a busy season of life; but isn’t everyone? I had lunch with a guy this week who is in his twenties, recently married with no kids. My initial question to him as we sat down was “how are you?” The first thing out of his mouth was, “I’m busy bro”. He was shocked by my response.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m not that busy and I’m trying to get less busy, then not very busy.”
I spoke with another friend by phone; a mother with four small kids.
“I have no idea where my days and weeks go,” she told me. “I’m busy and exhausted!”
I keep asking myself, “Is this the way life is supposed to be?” I try to challenge the notion that life should be busy, and if I’m not busy something, must be wrong. No matter how busy I am, busyness doesn’t satisfy my deepest longings. There’s got to be more to life than being busy!
I desire a different pace to life. A pace that keeps me focused on things that are most important. I desire to live a pace that lets me see the beauty in my life and gives me the time to love people. I want a life-speed that allows me to enjoy what God created for me. I need a pace that allows me to live my life to its full. I desire a pace that brings joy. Do you?
Here are a few questions I ask myself and others in an effort to create a new pace of living.
1 - Who’s setting the pace for me?
I often find that my life’s pace is being set by several factors.
First, my pace is often set by an unrealistic expectation I have about who I am. If we are honest with ourselves we know that our identity is often tangled up in our pace. If we are busy it affirms this person inside of us who longs to be noticed, admired, important. I’ve had to come to grips with that little guy, look him in the mirror and let him know that his true identity isn’t found in work, staying busy or being successful. I’m not defined by perfection and I’m not judged by my speed.
Second, we allow others’ expectations to be placed on us. Misery loves company and overly busy people are usually not always the happiest. These people throw their unrealistic expectations of busyness on to us, and we accept it and allow unhealthy people to set our pace for us. I’ve had to look at this in my own life and set boundaries. I’ve had to come to grips with my insecurities of disappointing others and not meeting their expectations so I could allow myself to be free again.
Allow God to be your source of strength, to define your identity, to have healthy expectations and boundaries for your life, and you won’t need busyness to make you feel important.
2 - Am I running on someone else’s track?
I recently watched the summer olympic games. What I enjoyed most about the games was watching people do what I can’t do. I can’t and will never be able to run 100m in under 10 seconds. I could never do a triple summersault in gymnastics. I’ll never swim fast enough to compete with anyone. Yet, for a moment I found myself thinking about what if. What if I could train to do that. Before I realized it, my mind had run off course.
I find that we often get sidetracked by what others are doing. We get derailed by others’ gifts, talents and ways of doing things. When we do this we step off the track we are running on, and onto a track where we don’t belong.
I have a friend who is a “multi-tasker” and a “master organizer.” These are wonderful gifts, I DO NOT HAVE. As soon as I try to be a “multi-tasker” anda “master organizer” I’ m toast and I find myself living at a speed that I’m not made for. We are all made with certain gifts, talents and abilities. When we operate and work within our gifts, talents and abilities we find that our pace is suitable and our life is more enjoyable.
3 - Do I allow myself to be reset?
Not long ago I visited a friend who was having open heart surgery. It was scary. The Dr. told him that they were going to “reach into his chest, stop his heart from beating, and kick it back on in hopes that it would beat on rhythm again.” And it did! It reminded me that I’m the happiest when I allow time for my heart to rest and be reset. I believe that the happiest people are those who take time to pray, reflect and examine.
Life is crazy and always will be. We have no control over the world, but we do have control over our time if we step back and allow our selves to be reset by God. When we take time to pray we allow God to reach into our heart, stop it from beating and breath new life into it, so it will be on rhythm again. This is essential for finding the pace we were created for. When we connect with our creator, He sets the pace for us. When we live according to His design and His pace for us, we find that our lives have the most peace and joy.
Carve out time for yourself each day to pray, reflect and examine, so your life can be reset and beat in rhythm with the One who made you.
Let God define who you are,