When I say hustle, how do you react? That word was big last year. And the year before, as a matter of fact. I think no office supply line catering to "girl bosses" is complete without a mug or planner with a big, sparkly hustle across the front. I don't know about you, but when I see it, I shudder.
I'm ready to slow down, guys. For the past few years my life has been nuts. I finished grad school and acquired a baby* and launched a business with some dear friends and that is while I was working full time and pastoring a church part time.
So instead of a new year's resolution this year, I just chose a word. I thought I was being clever, but according to almost everyone I've talked to this is already a thing. No problem--I'm not known for being clever, but I am known for being too busy, so the word I chose was slow.
Maybe some of you are just beginning your year(s) of living busily. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Seriously.
For me, and for my family, this year I want to focus on spending time together that doesn't involve worries of what is left undone. I want to be able to fold laundry without resentment and cook meals that take a while and plant a garden that I have time to tend and write more than 9 blog posts a year. I want to be fully present with whoever I'm with, even if that means I see fewer people. Quality over quantity.
It took me a while to get to this place, but it came on the heels of a couple realizations:
I have to respect who I am and who God made me to be
I don't have the emotional capacity to handle the relational intricacies of intimate conversation more than once or twice per week. I believe as a minister and believer I'm called to engage in it, but it drains me. In the past I considered this a shortcoming and "powered through". This is strange, but at times I felt my entire body vibrating with the effort it took to stay engaged and emotionally available to the person across from me. I hope it helped--but my heart and energy weren't in it. Now I know being reserved and having limited relational energy is just part of who I am, and accepting who I am is much more empowering to my ministry than pretending to be someone else. If you're like me, pick one or two days per week that are your meeting days and don't overbook yourself! Just because someone asks to meet "this week" doesn't mean they need it to be this week. They would rather see you calm and refreshed and available to listen than haggard and preoccupied.
Time feels faster as you get older, so be intentional
It's true. We perceive time to move faster the older we get. Look at it this way: when you're a 6 year old, one month makes up a much larger percentage in the timeline of your life than when you're a 35 year old. That's why when I was a kid Christmas seemed to take forever to arrive, but as an adult it always seems just around the corner. Every day that passes is a day missed, if not lived intentionally. Be intentional about how you schedule your time, how you spend your time (think: mindless activities), what you think about, and who you spend your time with. Last night my son wasn't feeling well and all he wanted to do was cuddle, but all I could think about was unfolded laundry and unwritten Bible studies. Then I realized, all my son wants to do is cuddle with me. What a privilege. Intentional living adds a new perspective on to-do lists. It also gives you the room to say yes to the things you want to make time for, and no to the things you cannot or will not make room for in your life.
Even if it seems late, I encourage any of you to choose a word or a phrase or a resolution to guide you for the year. Here's to a happy, productive, and intentional 2017.
*Adoption story coming soon - these are harder to write than I thought!