About half way through January I decided to become super intentional about how I spend my time. I love epiphanies don’t you?
My brain feels so much better when I take time in the morning to write my intentions for the day-well, for my life actually. It takes 5 minutes if I want it to, and longer if I have the time and it’s amazing what that does for me. When I say “intentions” for the day, I do NOT mean a to-do list, but just the opposite really. I refresh my mind by looking at my intentions on how I want to show up in life.
I’ve noticed more than ever that the message we are bombarded with is how to do more, be more, make more and have more. There are courses, and freebies, and all sorts of plans and books that we can purchase, and other mothers JUST LIKE US shouting (it seems) that they have discovered the method of this or that or making millions in five minutes a day with ten toddlers at home, ‘if only’. If only we buy this, or do that, or write a list like this, or buy a planner like this, we can save time and money and accomplish MORE. We can control our days, and our time here on earth to have a grand and full, exciting life which seems to mean in our culture more accolades, a big bank account, followers, and a (false) sense of pride. More, more, more.
I do feel like I’ve been through enough in my life by now to know this. We all get a certain amount of hours in the day and if our main goal is to accomplish what we are promised “out there” we will most certainly let ourselves down, let our children down and absolutely let God down. A full life that rewards our spirits, and those that surround us, comes from slow intentional living NOT from more. It does not come from chasing money, or followers, or by warping and molding the time we have on Earth to fit the most into it. When we fit the most into a day, we don’t see what matters. We don’t see the face of the child looking up at us, we don’t see the way the leaves move in the wind, we don’t notice the air on our skin, or taste the food in front of us. We don’t allow the incredible feeling of deep gratitude and love for our time on earth to seep into our thoughts, and that wonderful feeling of contentment to settle in. All these things are what matters, what God wants from us, and what love really is, and at the end of our lives, I doubt we can find a soul that would say I wish I had fit more into each day, but more likely, I wish I had slowed down and noticed what really mattered. Days become weeks, which become years…how we life our days we life our lives. We must stop and think.
We can live a full life here on Earth, but we can’t do many things at the same time and not burnout, or become bitter or sick or lead a life that is unholy. And it is up to us to find a way to live intentionally and there is no way to do that but to embrace living slow. It’s not easy, it requires tremendous intention today, when we are bombarded with choices, and snake oil promises (prolific in all advertisement on social media) and see non stop images of unattainable perfection. When here money is what matters, and more of it is what we should seek, and we must never be content with what we have and who we are.
Taking time each year to write how I want my life to look has been life changing. How do I want others to think of me if I would die today? What brings me joy? What do I feel God is calling me to do now? I don’t mean a fabulous new career-we can have any career or vocation, and still every day impact others in a beautiful way.
Something about putting it on paper makes everything seem so much more simple. What would give that feeling of contentment, and slow down the pace? What would make us feel like we are living the best version of ourselves, no matter what our present circumstances?
Take time to think about how we want your children to remember us one day. Rushed, stressed, hurried, gone, exhausted, bothered, distracted? Of course we will be all of those at some point, I am not denying real life or ever expecting perfection at all, just the opposite. But today all of those things seem prolific and almost celebrated and it’s a shame. We have been taught as mothers we can have it all, all at once, and now we are taught we should also show that off, and that it’s easy and expected, and where in the end, do the kids come into play? The babies, and toddlers and little ones that need a calm, present (not on the phone) mother, who talks to them, and takes them to the store, and around the block and reads to them and understands their needs for love – love in the name of sacrifice and service. Our babies and toddlers don’t need more formal education, or programs or classes or groups. They need their parents, in a strong and consistent safe home environment if possible. They deserve peace and quiet and a life that is intentionally slow and settled.
It is amazing how little time we have in each day to accomplish the most basic wonderful things that really are necessities if we require ourselves to be pushed and pulled into the life that our culture seems to demand from us. It leaves little time for much else, unless we rush, fit in, get stressed and distracted. Our health, our presence, cultivating our hobbies, and slowly intentionally using our gifts as each decade of our lives allow is where we meet joy.