If there is one word that has been used to describe me most often it’s been busy. And this year, I’m determined to change that.
For awhile busy meant full and even fulfilled as we did the work of raising four children who were all two years apart while working part-time, writing, working out…and, oh yeah, trying to be a daughter, sister and friend in my spare time.
But at the end of my life I definitely don’t want to be remembered for how busy I was. It implies a lack of presence, a lack of attention to the here and now in favor of what’s next.
Perhaps it’s simply because I’m getting older, but I feel God suggesting he’s got something better in mind. And that something, I believe, was at the heart of last week’s post: Love the One Right in Front of You.
I’m inviting God to teach me how to live less hurriedly and more wholeheartedly, so that I might see the people he puts in front of me with new eyes–as a reflection of his love for me, even as I reflect his love for them.
Here are a few examples of what that looks for me right now (it’s still only February so more to share as the year progresses, I hope):
- I have a friend I talk to many times a week. I used to do that on-the-fly; check in, say hello and at least once a week we’d have a deeper conversation. Now I’m working at being still when we speak; not driving, cooking, folding laundry too, but instead sitting and being present, really listening to what she has to say (while not telling her or expecting the same in return). I’m finding that I’m more attuned to the heart behind her words, and it’s making me a better friend.
- I’m visiting my parents with my daughters over mid-winter break. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to their home because they are good about visiting us…and remember, I’ve been busy. But now that my children are older we’re all seeing my parents through new eyes. The walls of their home are adorned in photos of us and of the generations before them. They tell the story of two only children who treasure the connection of family; of parents who now live alone, but relish being part of the rhythm of their children’s and grandchildren’s lives. And of a needed refinement in my own heart to take time to simply be with those I love because we don’t have forever.
- I started a new job this year, which in the past would have brought out the worst in me, a compulsion to do it all and do it all to the very best of my ability, reflected in wrong-headed priorities and more busyness. But this time I’m blessed to work for a believer who exemplifies his faith in his approach to the workday: It’s all Kingdom work. When you start your day with this truth in mind the focus shifts to first loving the people you work with and then on doing the work before you as if doing it for the Lord (Colossians 3:23), and that includes knowing when to call it a day.
The result of this intentional slowing and focusing on relationships is that I’m seeing more of God in the faces of those around me. I am seeing whom he has placed before me, and even more of why.
And I’m finding it’s easier to love like Jesus when I’m not in a hurry.