I have been reflecting on slowing down a great deal in the last few months.
Sometimes life throws things at us to force a slowdown. A loss can slow us down, grieving takes time. Job loss, job change, the birth of a child, an aging parent that needs extra care, or a college age child moving out can all be the things of life that cause us to slow down, or at least take pause, whether we want to or not. However, something that can slow someone down, that usually only shows up unexpectedly, is an illness.
In the middle of the summer of 2018 I wasn’t feeling great, achy, feverish, exhausted, then my right foot went completely numb. Within twelve hours my other foot went numb, as did my hands, partially. It has been an experience like no other and one that not only caused a slow down but a full stop. I could barely get up and down the stairs for weeks. I was in constant pain. I was at one doctor or another almost daily trying to find the cause and the correct treatment.
Fast forward to January 2019 and I am recovering. However, my life is revving up again slowly, both out of necessity and out of deliberate choice. These are some things I have learned during my slow down . . .
Embrace people – I have learned to embrace the people in my life more than ever. I deeply desire to be with them, and to be with them in a such a way that they feel my presence, love, and attention. I fail at this daily but I also strive for this daily, and some of my most important relationships have improved and deepened because of it.
Embrace what you can do – To do’s. We have so many things we “must do”. I have learned that my “must do’s” are not always actually necessary. There are so many things we tell ourselves we must do in order to be good moms, wives, friends, employees, etc. Of course some of those things we must indeed do, however if we are honest with ourselves, there are a lot of things that we don’t actually have to do but we believe we do because of dishonest, and sometimes destructive messages from our culture that we can’t let go of. I bet each time you log on to social media you find something more that you believe you must do to be good enough. Stop it! Get off of social media and call that person you reallymust call because you miss them dearly, or plan the coffee with the friend that you keep saying, “I will text you soon” to.
Sometimes our “must do’s” are means we use to avoid other, more difficult things in our lives Ultimately, this isn’t good for us, or anyone else in our lives so I encourage you to muster the courage to stop, and face those difficult things head on. By all means, seek assistance if these difficult things are way too big to face alone.
Furthermore, there is truly only so much we can do. You only have so many hours in the day. There are things you will probably have to learn to say no to, even good, wonderful things. That is ok! Once we learn to embrace and accept that we have limits on our time and energy we can become excellent at what we truly must do, front and center being caring for our relationships.
In my next posts I will talk about Embracing home, Embracing a slower pace, and Embracing surrender.