The past few days have been full of sitting on the beach, people-watching, feeling the sand between my toes, staring at coconut trees, and watching my husband cast a fishing line, realizing he most likely won’t catch a thing.
If I could use one word to describe the past four days it would be slow.
Slow moving. Slow eating. Slow getting up in the morning. Slow decision-making. In fact, the biggest decisions we have to make each day are where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sounds great, right? And it is. We’ve been looking forward to this vacation for about seven months now. But it’s been seven years in the making.
I look back on the past seven years of change that our family has gone through. There have been some challenging times: six moves, four children born (plus one on the way), death, miscarriage, learning how to navigate life with a child who has Down syndrome.
And there have been wonderfully joyous times: experiencing new places, making new friends, raising four small children, seeing God’s hand at work in the midst of all the changes.
It would be wonderful if life came with a pause button. Both for the difficult and the wonderful times. Time to sit and be still, ponder what has happened and then move on with life when we’ve breathed it all in and processed whatever has come.
But it doesn’t happen that way. We keep going. We move on with our ordinary lives out of necessity. Work happens. Mouths are fed. Bills are paid. Laundry is folded. Commitments are kept. Relationships continue.
The pace of life continues even while we inwardly beg it to slow down.
When the opportunity for a vacation became a reality for us, we took it. My in-laws blocked off their schedule to keep the kids. We tossed ideas around about where to go and what kind of vacation to take. After all, this kind of thing doesn’t happen all the time.
We concluded that for this vacation our goal was pretty simple: REST.
So we booked a hotel for seven days on the beach in Puerto Rico and we are enjoying our time away.
Yet, as we sat in the pool the other day we realized that as nice as it was to be away, sleep more than normal, and not have the daily needs of our children to meet, it also felt uncomfortable.
Feeling uncomfortable on vacation wasn’t something we had anticipated.
There were no demands. Nothing — and no one — that needed fixing. Nothing to produce. Nothing tangible to show for the hours we lived.
And we didn’t like it.
Living slow made us feel useless.
Useless felt unimportant.
Unimportant felt small.
And who wants to feel small?
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve probably noticed over the past two months some quotes, graphics, and hashtags referring to the book Simply Tuesday, by Emily P. Freeman. I love what Emily says in reference to being small:
We live in a world where we are pushed to produce, to perform, to keep up and measure our accomplishments. Unfortunately, my husband and I both struggle with this mentality. We wrestle with the need and desire to keep up with this fast-paced life.
And that’s why I have so enjoyed reading Emily’s newest book, which releases today.
In it she teaches to embrace smallness, celebrate it, and to revel in small-moment living.
“There is a daily-ness to my work, a small-moment perspective that whispers for me to connect with the work in my right-now hands, not because it’s going to become something Big and Important, but because Someone who is Big and Important is here, with me, in me, today.”
–Emily P. Freeman, Simply Tuesday-
The work for us this week on vacation is to be slow. To sleep. To reconnect in our marriage. To do nothing.
The work back home is full of schedules, family needs, productivity.
But in both places I need this small-moment perspective that Emily speaks of, to slow down and realize that the most important aspect of each is the presence of God in the midst of them.
And when I can embrace the presence of God in the midst of my work, I can also embrace the presence of God in the midst of my soul. This enables me to ‘sit down on the inside’ and draw closer to the One who is dwelling within me.
To recognize that He is the One who will bring outcomes from my work.
To realize anew that it is for His glory that I exist.
To rejoice in the fact that He is with me, building His kingdom, sometimes in very ordinary Tuesday-like ways.
To “understand that the goal of life is Jesus and all the ways he wants to offer himself both to us and through us to the world” – Emily P. Freeman–
Simply Tuesday just released today!
If you, like me, wrestle with the need to keep up with a busy life, but want to learn to slow down in the midst of it, then this book is for you.
You can purchase your copy here.
I had the privilege of receiving an Advanced copy and I’m now reading it through for the second time. It is THAT good, friends! And, the biblical truths that Emily communicates so well have been life-changing for me.
As evidenced from my little story above, I’m still a work-in-progress in truly grasping everything I’ve read. And I’m okay with that. Because God’s work isn’t always fast and showy. Sometimes it’s slow.
So, I leave you with this, from Emily:
“Here’s to listening to our questions, sitting in the darkness, and letting our experiences do their deep work within us.
Here’s to a long, deep breath.
And here’s to not letting our slowness boss us. Embrace it and learn it, but don’t let it force perfection. Let slow do what slow does best: nourish, strengthen, and hold.”