When was the last time you were not busy or distracted…or both?
In our 2018 living, busy is not just something we do, but an honorary badge we proudly wear.
And if that badge is not worn, then we begin conjuring up thoughts that assume the worse of that person.
“I wonder what she does all day?”
“I always see her relaxed and carefree. She must not work.”
“She doesn’t answer emails on the weekend. She must not care.”
Can you relate? I know I can.
For years I believed busyness was a sign of prestige and honor, especially in the form of my career. I mean if you are not busy working on the weekend then you obviously are not dedicated to your job and you clearly don’t want to be advanced.
It was a horrible faulty assumption I fell into as I worked to make a career for myself. I was led to believe that busyness was the only way to the top and the only way to live.
It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to wear this badge. It was how society defined success and I simply cared way too much about what others thought of me.
Their opinions mattered more than God’s.
Ouch. This is not only tough to admit, but even more tough to write. But it speaks truth.
I wanted others to think I was worthy of their highest opinions. I wanted to be recognized, valued, and appreciated. So, I stayed busy and worked when they said work. It didn’t matter the day or hour – I worked at all costs.
Slowing down was simply out of the question, until now.
Today, I am learning what it means to slow down. This ‘life is not a race’ concept is new to me but one I’m learning to embrace.
I have two very dear friends who I can thank for role modeling what it means to slow down the pace of life.
These two friends have taught me to ‘listen with my eyes’ and to build margin into my day so that I can be available whenever someone needs me.
Listen With Your Eyes
‘Listen with your eyes’ is a direct quote from a workshop attendee. She described how her niece asked her to ‘use her eyes’ to look at her when she was talking.
Sounds easy enough, right? But, how often are we looking at our phones when others are talking? Or how many times have you been listening to the other person but moving from one room to another or from one task to another?
‘Listening with your eyes’ is not just a good practice to follow, it is a practice that shows unconditional love by saying you matter to me so I’m going to stop what I’m doing to be fully engaged and present.
Ladies, I don’t know about you, but this is an area I need to work on.
When I think how this idea is carried out into real life, an image of a dear friend pops up in my head. She is an expert, if you will, at stopping whatever she is doing and looking at her girls when they talk with her.
It doesn’t matter what she is doing, she always slows down enough to show others that they matter to her and that she cares about what they have to say.
Isn’t that great? I think so many of us (me included) want to do this, but get so busy living life that we don’t allow ourselves to slow down and simply be present.
Ladies, how can you show others how much you love them by ‘listening with your eyes?’
Build in Margin
Another dear friend has taught me a second valuable less on slowing down. She is a women whom I trust deeply and I value her opinion in so many areas of my life.
Working as a solo business owner, I can easily feel isolated and alone. I’m a person who thrives on processing and collaborating with others and not having this built into my work environment can, at times, leave me feeling stuck.
On more than one occasion, I have called up this friend and asked her if she had time. Time to give me a listening ear as I verbally work through whatever I am stuck on.
It doesn’t matter what she is doing, she always stops her activities and gives me the time I need. Like my first friend, she is listens with her eyes. But, she does more. She has built margin into her days so that she can be available when others call.
And you know what? It feels so good to have a friend who is willing to slow down her life for you.
I want to be that friend! I’m sure you do too.
I want to build enough margin into my days so that others know they can call on me anytime and I will have time to stop whatever I’m doing to sit with them.
Whatever it is they are seeking, I want them to know that I value and love them enough to stop any and all tasks, responsibilities, and commitments I am engaged in.
I’ll be the first to admit that I need to build in even more margin into my days to make this not just something I do on an occasional basis, but everyday.
Friends, we live in a Martha world. But, let’s strive to be different.
Let’s work to live our lives more like Mary where we can sit and soak up not only God, but those He has placed in our lives to love and be in relationship with. Isn’t that what God wants for us?
Relationships are eternal. Let’s make room for any and all things eternal.
Praying you through,