Monday, January 5, 2015

The Value of a Slow Life

In December, our family had the pleasure of visiting Ft. Walton Beach, Florida on an unexpected work vacation.  Mr. Butler had work stuff going on during the week so the kids and I had normal life with a phenomenal view!

The 6 months prior to this trip had been too full.  I overextended my physical body, jammed too much into our schedule and refused to accept no.  This negligence in listening to the needs of my body and family resulted in some major health problems that forced me to slow down and absolutely quit some days.  Seriously, not a good time for anyone.  But I started getting better and this trip slowed the freight train I'd been traveling on to a nice snail pace.  It was just what I needed, but it had to end.  Every time I get busy or stressed I can't just take a relaxing vacation.  So, as I prepared to return home and over the next few weeks of the busy holidays, I contemplated how simple abundance could begin to describe my life.  I couldn't change the era in which I was born.  I couldn't deny stress existing in my life from time to time.  

But there are some things I absolutely can change.  Things like organization.  When things have a place, a schedule, a plan, it simplifies things.  Staying on top of household management reduces my stress and strengthens my ability to handle other stresses when they come better.  So, first Monday back after the holiday and thanks to God's mercy I'm well and getting (and keeping) life more organized.  

I have power over how often I pray and study,  My communication barriers extend into my prayer life.  When life gets complicated or hard, I tend to shut down. That means even from God.  But of course that's the worst time to do so and it doesn't have to be.  Simply expressing to God (and others) what I need help with is a struggle but it's also the lifeline to moving past the hurdle.

The most challenging thing I have control over is how I value a slow life rather than idolizing the quick and urgent.  The contrast of our modern society with 50 or 100 years ago is constantly made, but then brushed aside with acceptance of 'life is just busier now'.  But I'm beginning to realize that this urgent busyness is just another temptation of our age like overspending, materialism or pornography.  Just because the neighbors have drunken parties until all hours doesn't mean I have to.  Same goes for so many things, yet because a lot of people feel compelled to demand neck-breaking speeds and packed schedules I feel like I have to as well?  The urgent and hectic will always find its way into your life, much like sorrow or sin, but we shouldn't give it a room to stay in as long as it likes.  

My instincts have always valued slow things like nature, growing your own food, building your own things and doing life for yourself rather than outsourcing the hard stuff.  All of that takes time, though.  After a very hectic and dysfunctional 6 months, I am convicted about the way I want my family to do life.  There is always a lot that can and should be done and I am learning that putting it off only makes life harder.  Still, working hard does not mean working stressed, rushed or frantic. Simple abundance starts in my heart and in the way I do life today.  

Today I wait with smiling eyes.  Today I try again with hope.  Today I ignore the billions of other people that pretend to be in my back yard.  Today I honor the ones set before me with focus and intentional love. 

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