Full Life, Quiet Heart (how to keep busy schedules from overwhelming your soul)
I am hungry for space. Much as I hate it, ‘busy’ is my first response to any question regarding my current state of being. It’s hard for it not to be. We’ve got to make money, eat, clean the house, and follow through on our commitments. Opportunities arise, needs persist, and tasks pile up – one on top of another. So it makes sense that I answer ‘busy’ when asked how I’m doing. It’s my life. It’s your life. Busy is life.
I’ve resented it for a long time. Maybe some people thrive off of having days busting with activity, but I find myself waking every morning and longing for a few extra minutes (or hours) to linger over my cup of coffee, read a few more pages in my book, and sit beside my husband without worrying about our productivity levels. How can I have more time to do nothing despite all the things? How can I create the space I’m hungry for in all the busy?
I eliminate where I can. I say no a lot, I even say never mind occasionally. I come up with partial solutions for the necessities. I regularly evaluate what I’m adding to my days and see where I can make cuts.
But even still. It’s just busy.
But maybe busy isn’t the right word. Maybe instead I should call it full.
Busy brings up connotations of hustling through projects and hurriedly jumping from task to task. Yes, the hours in my days are all spent up, but I am conscientious about how they’re being used. I am regularly returning to presence and attentiveness. I am filling my gaps mindfully with quick runs outside, yoga breaks on the mat or a few minutes in a good book. I am listening to an uplifting song on my drive, praying when I move between tasks, drinking water as I sit on the floor and play trucks. I am looking my people in the eyes and hearing what they have to say.
Busy shouldn’t be my answer. My life is full, bursting at the seams with life and vibrancy, but it is not busy.
So all the space I’ve been longing for? Maybe it doesn’t come from an empty schedule or a day stretching forward with nothing to do. From time to time, yes, I hope that is included. There’s nothing I love more than staying in my sweats till noon and pouring myself a second (and sometimes third) cup of coffee as I move slowly through the hours. But that Saturday lifestyle isn’t for most days. Most days we should be grateful to have full lives and eager to live them well.
The space we actually need is a quiet heart.
A heart that doesn’t get bent out of shape over unmet goals or changes in the plan. A heart that doesn’t let the bustle of the external world seep into the peace of the inner soul. A heart that doesn’t let hustle, stress, or overwhelm press in on it. A heart that finds a quiet meeting space with the Lord – no matter what is happening outside.
So here’s to Monday, the week stretching ahead, and a life filled to the brim and kept at peace with a quiet heart.
“I cannot live in the kingdom of God with a hurried soul. I cannot rest in God with a hurried soul.” –John Orteberg Soul Keeping