Wait. Sit still. Be quiet. Not now. Not yet.
Can you think of a time when you were little and were told any of those words? I sure can! Like in the back of the station wagon doing a squirmy dance ’cause I had to go potty. Or when I was a teenager and pretty sure I was old enough to go to that pool party with a boy I hardly knew. And guaranteed, there have been a million moments as an adult when I’m pretty sure I’m needing something and not getting the answer I want.
Unfortunately, I still strongly dislike those answers. I am a person that gets things done now! If I have work to do, I don’t relax well until it’s done and off the list. And I usually have ten lists going at a time of things to get done. The older I get, the harder it is to sit still. I used to be able to read for hours. Now, I feel so pressed to get up and get busy, I struggle to enjoy a book like I used to. Unless its two in the morning. Somehow, that makes perfect sense to my brain. I guess because that time was just going to be used for sleeping anyway and if I can’t make up the sleep in the morning, there’s always more coffee.
Even to sit through a movie nowadays leaves me antsy. I have to keep my hands busy with some mindless activity to stay awake through the whole thing! Ugh! I really don’t like getting older!
Yesterday was a beautiful day where I was. The sun was out. I had worked feverishly the day before to clean all day, organize a million of my details, do several loads of laundry, and I went to bed exhausted but pleased with myself. This left me with little to do yesterday but enjoy the day with my family. And enjoy, we did! I sat in the sun and talked on the phone with a friend for the better part of an hour, read for a while, played games in the sunshine with my kids and hubby, and watched a movie at night with my daughter. And as much as those were my favorite things, I felt so antsy inside. Like I was missing something. Because I wasn’t busy enough.
I remember my dad being that way and it bugged me! He would stop over to my house full of little ones to spend a couple hours with me, and the whole time he was telling me how guilty he felt for not working–for wasting the day! “Dad,” I would say, “You’re spending time with me! It’s a gift, not a waste.” But something in him drove him to feel like he was failing if he wasn’t working hard all the time.
What is this? Is it not being content? I looked up being content in the Bible this morning and found several passages telling us to be content where we are. They were so good, but discontent is not really what I was feeling.
I think it’s more like this bad habit I’ve created for myself of always looking for the next thing, and a bad case of the should’ves. Have you noticed that when we are eating we are thinking about how good the next bite will taste instead of enjoying the one we are currently chewing? I can be walking on the beach, happy as can be in the sunshine, thinking about a different fun thing I want to do. What is that?
Strangely enough, having once been a little girl who desperately needed security, I have become a woman who loves change. Perhaps because of how much we have traveled, I don’t sit still in one location very well. I need to see new things and try new things and feel adventurous. That’s a good thing, right? It sure has helped me accept a lifestyle in which there has been lots of change. As my husband gets called into different jobs in which he travels the world, and not much remains constant from year to year, I have had to learn adjust.
Regarding the should’ves, perhaps because of years of insecurity I feel like I constantly am being evaluated for my performance. Mostly by me and in my own head. Is there ever a way to be enough despite our insecurities? I am convinced that the main reasons people behave badly are deeply rooted in insecurity.
Friends don’t let friends “should” all over themselves.
I read this recently and it cracked me up. And made me think. We are so quick to reassure our friends and loved ones that they are enough, yet we are so hard on ourselves. It comes down to this. Every person has a purpose. It’s bigger than the laundry that is waiting for me or the errands I need to run. I’m talking about why I am where I am on this planet right now. Each path is different. For me to look at my path and expect it to be yours is wrong. In fact, I probably shouldn’t even be looking at your path!
Minding our own business–I’m a huge fan!
If I’m being obedient–for me that is daily asking my God to show me exactly where He wants me–and listening carefully for His direction, I can be content and it should be enough. No matter what society is telling me about what I should be doing, or even friends with the best of intentions, I am responsible to only One.
So, can I be still? When is the last time I was? I have a friend who has been going through some emotional turmoil lately. I have encouraged her to spend some time alone–well, alone as in just her and God. It is vital in this world of constant noise, to create a space outside the din to breathe and be and make the air quiet enough to actually be able to hear a still, small voice that says “You are enough.”
So, listen for it. Carve some minutes away to spend time with the One Who sees you all the way to the ugly and still wants more. Who has no standard of measurement. Who finds you beautiful and worthy of all He has to offer. Breathe.