I’m giving myself permission to be unbusy

Get Unbusy

I made a decision, or a choice rather, to be unbusy. Not only to be unbusy, but to be unrushed as well. I can be less rushed when I’m less busy, to be sure. Something had to change. I needed more margin.

I watch our culture wear the busy badge with pride. And for what? To win the most exhausted award?

There are elements to busy we can’t control. But many, and you know it’s true, many we bring on ourselves. I know I do!

I don’t have to say yes to every invite. I don’t have to say yes to every request. I don’t have to fill up the calendar with all the “shoulds”. I am not a victim to the time monster. I don’t have to be slave to the obligations others think I should.

And I certainly don’t have to say yes to every request my children make.

Clear the calendar, leave margin

Part of homeschooling my 10th grader is teaching him how to be responsible for his time. High school for homeschool looks more like college than high school. He works during the day many times. His classes are once a week at various locations. He works independently through the week in preparation. But that means he must use his time wisely. He doesn’t always.

I find myself telling him to look forward first. What do you see in the week ahead? How can you plan now to execute that well? Similar to what I shared in the last post about starting with the ending. I tell him to do now what he can so he has margin for the pop-ups that are unplanned.

In the same way, I want to plan my life in this season to give God margin in my life to pop-up what He will.

I can fill up a calendar with the best of them. I can run until I can run no more. But I’m 43 now. I find I’m craving more simplicity than ever before.

Seasons exist for everything.

The people in front of me are greater than any task on my list. I’m finding that my 40s has brought less pressure than my 30s. I don’t care so much about what people think. I don’t have to be the best at everything I do.

I’ve sensed God drawing me back to my home. He’s been drawing me back into a quietness I can’t fully explain.

He quieted my businesses without much explanation. They didn’t stop, they simply hushed their haste.

Earlier this fall I had a week of extreme anxiety flare-ups. It had been over a year since I struggled with anxiety. My eyes opened to a racing heart. Through the day catching a breath grew more and more difficult. Only someone who struggles with anxiety can understand the physically scary feeling of your chest clamping down.

Much prayer later, it seemed quieter in my soul. Nothing changed in my circumstances, but a deeper peace took a position.

In the weeks that followed I can only say that I began sensing Him calling me to a season of rest. A season of simply being. A season of producing less, achieving less, consuming less.

I feel this call toward home. Simply living and living simply.

It reminds me of the first couple of years after I began staying at home after leaving my full time job. I began discovering the joy of being in my home, making a home, and creating a different kind of life. It was a brand new season and something I’d never had the ability to do before.

Do you ever sense God shifting your season? How does that make you feel? Uncomfortable? Nervous? Excited? A little of every feel?

For me I used to be someone who had to understand it all. I wanted to know all the whys. As I’m aging, I find myself needing less understanding from God. He’s God. He’s the Potter and I’m the clay. He’s careful with His children. When He shifts my seasons or calls me closer to home or to a less busy life, I can trust Him.

These days I’m working hard to keep my calendar mostly open. This is intentional. I’m leaving space for God to fill. I’m leaving space for my soul to breathe. I’m leaving space to say yes to anything God desires to bring my way. In the process I’m trusting in a season of rest. I don’t know what the future holds or what God has for me around the next turn, so when I sense Him inviting me to slowly rest, I say yes, Lord.



When I Find Myself Longing to See the Man At The Store


The only time I make it to the local gourmet grocery store is when they have a particular Tuesday special.  It runs every few months, and during that month, I will visit at the beginning and end of  the month to stock up on the specials that I wait months for.

I find myself looking forward to seeing the man I know will bag my groceries.  I know what he will say to the cashier when he bags my groceries.  “I think this young lady came in for the Tuesday Specials. What do you think?”  I will smile and laugh the same way I do each time he says this.  The cashier will grin like she does every time.  If my boys are with me, he will say the same thing to me he says every time. “Some fine young men you’ve got with you today.”  I nod emphatically swallowing down the ‘Yes, yes I do!’

He’s the only grocery bagger I would allow to help me to my car.  I don’t need help.  I have 3 handy helpers with me, but this 80-something-year-old gentleman longs for the conversation.  I can tell.  He is a veteran.  I know nothing other than that, but that alone makes me admire and respect this man and want to linger a few more minutes than I need to.

Each time we have the same exchange.  I will tell him I can push the cart to my car.  He insists, “No, no, I want to help you.”  20 degrees doesn’t stop him.  He pauses to grab his hat, chuckles, and says, “I’m not stupid,” while he pulls it secure, covering his thin layer of hair.

I’m not sure why this man has secured a special place in my heart.  It may be because of his service to our country.  It may be his gentlemanly ways.  It may be the wisdom of life in those aged eyes.  It may be how he reminds me of Steve’s own grandpa who has a similar demeanor. It may be many things.  But the one thing he reminds me of is how much we were created for relationship.  How our souls yearn for human connection.

We all face many of the same struggles dressed in different clothes.  Underneath, we have all been created in the image of the Father, created for relationship and community.  This man reminds me of this in the most beautiful of ways.

On my most recent visit, I drove away pondering how much we could learn from our older generation.  As I turned the corner at the gas station, I noticed a group of older men laughing over a cup of coffee inside the back corner of the store.  No hurrying away.  Simply hanging at the gas station.  Relationship adds beauty to our moments we can’t create alone.

My boys weren’t with me on my last visit to the gourmet grocery store, but I told them I saw ‘our nice old man’.  I watched their faces as they reflected on the exchanges they’ve shared with him.  It doesn’t take much to touch a soul.  A little kindness.  A little authenticity.  A little connection.  A little something that says “I care.”

Approaching the slow zone to meet with God


The mental checklist threatened to ruin the pace I was determined to set for the last week of summer. Slow.  In the town I live in, the speed limit is 35 wherever you go.  We are pretty good at slow here. We are forced into slow.

The mind is a fierce fighter. 

As christian music softly filled the silence of the car, we meandered towards home.

When Jacob spoke, his words hushed my internal conflict instantly.  “Mom, I love to watch people solving problems.  Or when they are in a situation and they have to find a way out.  I love to watch how they figure out their problems.”

I will miss these conversations.  The ones that occur at spontaneous and random moments.  The ones we have at 8:30, 11:00, whenever a thought occurs.  The ones that make summertime a bittersweet season.

“That’s neat.  Like what kind of problems do you mean?”

“Well, like that man right there,”  he pointed to the cross walk.  A man I see in our town no matter the time of day or night.  A man I have felt burdened to pray for for the last year.  A man who looks to be recovering from a stroke and is always out walking.

Nothing is random in life.

Jacob continued, “I feel like we should always be praying for people with problems.   You know people who need help.”

My body felt as though it had taken a plunge into a refreshing spring on a scorching summer’s day.  The underwater silence.  The peace.  The outside world is silenced and everything no one else can see is alive, vibrant…..REAL.  You resurface and your lungs feel they may explode and you know you can’t retell it.  They need to see it for themselves.

Hands gripping the steering wheel, I resurfaced.  “Jacob, I’ve never shared this with you, but that man you are pointing to is someone I’ve been praying for for the last year.  I’ve told Daddy about him and a few friends.  I don’t know why God has placed him on my heart.  But the fact that you just felt the urge to pray for him is like hearing God speak to me through you.”

A moment ticked by.

“Mom!  Did you just hear what the radio said???”


“They just said, ‘We need to remember to pray for those in need.  Those who need our prayers.”

“Well, then we must pray right now.  God is clearly speaking to us.”

I prayed.  And I thanked God that He is a God that still speaks to us.  That He is a God that cares deeply and passionately for His people.  That He cares enough to intersect our to do lists, school supply labeling, house-cleaning days.  And I prayed that my boys would KNOW that they serve a REAL God.  And we prayed for a man we don’t know, who God has put in our paths.

As we neared our house, I said to the boys, “There will come a time you will have conversations with people who do not believe in God.  They don’t believe in the Bible.  Because they don’t believe in the Bible, you can’t say that you believe in God because the Bible tells you so.  You can tell them you know God is real because you have seen Him in the most real ways imaginable.  And you can share exactly how God has worked in your life.  Then let God do the work from there.”

Later that morning, I heard Zachary retelling Steve how God talked to us in the car.

One of my favorite songs reminds me that “God’s not dead.  He’s surely alive.”

Oh the sweet gift of the Lord to give a gift like that on a day I was desperate to hear from Him in a noisy world.

The gift of a normally annoying speed limit that forced me to SLOW DOWN.

God is in everything.  But He is magnified in the slow.

Go slow this week.  Hunt for Him.  Seek Him out.  Make the most of every moment.  They are fleeting.  The slow allows you to linger a bit longer.