Hey, what do you do when you are super anxious?
When I am feeling worried or overwhelmed I develop unrealistic expectations and I get snippy! I develop unrealistic expectations and get snippy over the smallest of things; over things that are really of no great consequence. Things that didn’t worry me a day ago and certainly won’t worry me in a few days’ time! Suddenly these things scream at me for attention and I feel like they must be dealt with immediately – that’s the ‘unrealistic expectations’ part.
Most of us don’t need anyone to tell us that we live hurried lives. Hurried lives are more than busy lives. Hurried lives are preoccupied lives because we always have the next thing we have to do in our heads and so we are not present in the current moment.
Have you ever had a small child put a hand on either side of your face to make you stop and look at them?
Have you ever arrived home with no clear memory of the journey?
Have you ever felt like your head will quite literally explode if you try and stuff in one more conversation or request or thought?
These things are often indicators of a hurried life!
I had an eye-opening moment a while back.
I had taken some long service leave - 6 weeks to live life without going to work. Wonderful!
It took me a while to slow down!
I knew that I had been living a hurried life before I went on leave and I know that a hurried life has its costs … but the way I figured things I was still spending time with my husband and children and grandchildren and getting to see some friends and family; I was still getting into the garden and craft room – still living life.
But as I slowed down my view of the life I was living started to change. Things began to look different.
I was falling off to sleep one night when this picture came into my head.
When you drive on the freeway at 100 km an hour you still see things out of the car window. At 100 km an hour you can still see trees, buildings, other cars, even people in the other cars.
But at 100 km an hour the detail of what you see is pretty poor. You can quickly glance at the person in a car in the next lane when you are travelling fast. But when you are stopped at the traffic lights you can get a much better look at your neighbour and that view improves even more if you get out of your car and climb into theirs – I am not recommending you actually do that on the freeway – but you get my point!
I realised that I had been convincing myself I could travel at 100 km an hour and still be relationally present with people; still genuinely ‘see’ the people in my life.
When in fact all I was doing was glancing in the direction of those I cared about most!
Something I had read a while ago came back to me, “The rhythm of work and ceasing work is written into the very core of our being.”
It’s how God made us – to work for a while and then rest for a while – to leave the freeway regularly and take a drive at a speed more suitable for a country laneway. God has made us to work and to take time to rest from our work, enjoying the people we live with and the world we live in.
When we keep that rhythm, we are much more likely to stay connected with God and each other so that even when we are busy we know how to live fully in the moment.
Over the next week or so why not take notice of your speed. 100 km is fine on the freeway but the freeway is no place to live 24/7.
Have you ever met someone whose love and enthusiasm for life is evident in every word and action? There is nothing they don’t enjoy. They embrace every single thing in their day as a wonderful opportunity. They are always on and they always give everything all the energy they have.
I know a young man like that. He’s the youngest of three and as soon as he could walk he wanted to tag along with his big brother all the time! The little guy loved going to footy training with his brother and the sheer enthusiastic force of the little boy’s personality meant that he invariably got included in the training sessions even though he was much younger.
After a while the big brother got a bit tired of his enthusiastic and accidently limelight stealing sibling. So, one season the boys’ mum decided that the little one would stay home to give his big brother some space at footy training.
Well, the little boy was not happy! Really, really, not happy.
It was as if someone had cut off his oxygen supply although he sure had enough breath to let rip – crying and yelling and begging to be allowed to go to footy training.
Eventually he went to his room to cool down as instructed by his mum!
He was surprisingly quiet in his room and that’s because he was laboriously writing a note; mustering his very best six-year-old spelling and calling on a handwriting neatness he didn’t usually bother with. The note read . . .
You are the mennest mum in the whole in tyr world. I hate you
Love Charlie XXX”
When presented with the note his mother’s response was inspirational – she had a moment of sheer parenting brilliance. She said, “Charlie, that’s lovely handwriting!”
She knew her boy didn’t hate her and she was pretty sure she wasn’t the meanest mum in the whole world. She knew from experience that her ‘give it 110% all the time’ boy would now be emotionally exhausted and needing a safe place to fall. So, she made that space for him.
The Bible describes God in many ways, but one lovely image is of God as a mother hen gathering her children under her wings, keeping them close, knowing what they need and protecting them just like a good mother does.
Have you found your safe place under God’s wing?
Who can you be a safe place for this week?