When I was a young mom with a toddler and nursing baby, I began to experience God differently than I had as a young married woman with no children. (*cough…no, duh*)
Any of us in life stages where we find ourselves as caretakers can hear about an unhurried life and think, “Yeah, that’ll never happen. Not in this season. I’m just trying to take a shower and put on fresh sweatpants today.”
We know quite a few of you are dealing with stage of life issues because you shared such things in answer to our survey. We’ve been addressing the topics that arose from within the survey in various Facebook Live videos. Today, I thought I would take a stab at “Life Stage” here.
Some of you shared about being a mom with little ones. Others of you shared about having adult children and grandchildren living with you. And some of you find yourself as the sandwich generation, with aging parents and adult children/grandchildren under the same roof.
And your cry is, “I have so many responsibilities. How would I possibly engage anything resembling unhurried time?”
Remember, busy is a matter of calendar. Hurry is a matter of soul. In light of this, I offer a couple of ideas.
First, I’ll start by taking you back to a memory of sitting in a rocking chair in my bedroom. I was nursing one of my sons, enjoying the bonding that happens during that time. I remember very distinctly a small voice, whispering in my ear, “You know, this counts.”
I had been accustomed to following my good Christian girl to-do list fairly well. But all of that went out the window moving from one child to two. I loved being a mom, but I couldn’t figure out how to spend time with God the way I had before.
“You know, this counts” was God’s gentle way of saying, “I see you. I know what season of life you are in right now. This moment, with your son…this is how I feel about you. The care you are giving him is good and right. This counts. I am with you. You are with me.”
Every once in a while I would hear the whisper again, “You know, this counts.” It may have been a worship song that was playing in the background or a word of encouragement from a trusted friend. God was showing me that we were together and relating in far more ways than I was giving “credit” for.
I didn’t have the vocabulary for it then, but I see that as my initial awakenings into with-ness. A real live version of Immanuel, God with us.
My season of life made me tired, scattered and seemingly out of control of my schedule. But God wanted to show me that being with him, in the midst of my very real life, mattered and counted.
Second, my suggestion to you would be to make it a priority to get two to four hours per month in time alone with God in solitude. Not “me time” but honest to goodness solitude. What we call Unhurried Time with God.
Back in that season of young children, Alan and I would give each other that time by caring for our sons so the other could meet with God. We certainly didn’t do it perfectly, but we did our best to have a rhythm of Unhurried Time.
If you don’t have a spouse or relative that can help you, maybe you can swap with a friend. Or even pay for a babysitter or parent-sitter.
If you are a caregiver for aging parents or little ones, having a time of re-filling and refreshment is necessary. The airplane cliché about putting your oxygen mask on first when flying is true in day-to-day life as well. Unhurried Time is like putting your oxygen mask on so that you can help those next to you with theirs.
In order for the “this counts” to have a solid foundation, these reservoir filling times must be included. I know it sounds impossible. But with a little work and creativity, you can make some time for yourself and God. Think of it as a holy invitation, not a luxury that you cannot afford.
In no way do I want to presume to know or understand your circumstance. There are likely multiple dynamics at play in your situation.
In this brief post I do, however, want to encourage you to find a way to truly take care of yourself, and your soul, so that you can continue to give the best care possible to your loved ones.
So, here it is:
- Let the small things count in the midst of your regular day (5 minutes of silence, a few verses of scripture, a worship song, the encouragement of a friend, lovingly gazing at your child or grandchild).
- Enact a monthly pattern of just a few hours of Unhurried Time with God.
Give grace to yourself in this process. Your life is full. There are lots of needs around you. You are doing so much to help your loved ones. Let God show the same care to you. Let yourself receive so that you feel you have more to give.
P.S. We will be at the Apprentice Gathering in Wichita this September 28-30. We would love to have you join us there!
Not only will Alan be facilitating a workshop, but we are buying lunch for up to 25 people who want to learn more about Unhurried Living. And we are inviting up to 15 people to join us for dinner to just hang out ($35 fee).
Early bird pricing ends April 1. And we have a special code just for our Unhurried Living community that will save you another 20%. Use code: UL2017 when you register. LEARN MORE
Here are the speakers: