When you’re juggling a lot of roles–wife, employee, mom, student, friend, sister–or any other number of roles–it can feel like there’s no margin in your life. You feel tired, exhausted, maybe even worn-down. And in that mental state, it can seem harder and harder to believe that there’s some sort of dim light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I have days where it feels like my season will never change–that I’ll always feel tired, or that I’ll always be pressed for time.
And you know what I’m having to come to terms with? That might actually be the case. From now until I die, I might always feel hard-pressed, squeezed, even, for time. In his book, The Sacred Journey, Frederick Buechner writes about how children are the ones who live “below time;” they do not experience time in the same way as adults do because they do not yet have a sense of its earthly finiteness, nor do they carry the responsibilities that we do once we grow up. At some point, though, all of us open the door unto time and find ourselves living within the reality of limited days. Most of us are always a bit wistful for the days of carefree timelessness. But we cannot go back.
And so, yes I have lost that sense of timelessness, of freedom away from the clock. I have roles and responsibilities that will forever keep me from being free of the constraints of time. But I would not trade those good things for unhindered freedom. Everything that truly matters requires tethering, especially love.
What Kind of Tethers?
And so I am tethered to these roles and responsibilities, and sometimes I feel like I might break under the weight of them. But then I find that I am able to bend a bit more, and I find that I’m living in the grace of Christ, who does not break those who are already bending. He upholds us. He strengthens us. He fights on our behalf.
So, then, how can I live peacefully when time always feels thin? Well, in the midst of unending demands and requirements on our time, it is important–even necessary–to give ourselves time to rest. I’ve already written about why I believe the Sabbath is so central to our rhythms of weekly life, but on the smaller scale of day-to-day life, how can we rest in the love of God? How can we allow ourselves to take short breaks in the midst of our days so that we don’t break under the weight of our responsibilities?
There are many ways to do this, but here are five of my favorite, simple ways to rest daily:
- Connecting with Christ. This is so important for me–I’ve written more about it here, but the fact is that unless I’m staying close to Jesus, everything else feels overwhelming and stressful. Half an hour with him in the morning shifts my mindset toward his priorities and gives me the grace I need to do all that I’m called to do. This can look different for all of us, but my time with God in the morning includes reading the Word, praying, and journaling.
- Choosing Gratitude. It’s amazing how quickly thankfulness can change my attitude and my perspective. If I can make the choice to say–out loud–three things that I’m thankful for, I’m usually humbled to bits–in the best sense. I have been given so much, and God is with me through it all.
- A long(ish) shower. I’m not joking. When I can close (and lock!) the door, a shower offers a little time to let my brain rest, let my body rest, and let my senses rest. If you have time for a long soak, even better!
- Five minutes in silence. Put down the phone, the remote, the headphones. Sit, quietly, and try to let all of the tension seep out of your body. Ask God for a fresh dose of his peace in your heart, mind, and bones.
- A hot drink in the wintertime, a cold drink in the summertime. The sensory power of being refreshed or warmed is something that often brings me a few moments of pleasure, gratefulness, and peace–if I attend to my senses and allow myself to slow down.
Even in the busy days that most of us find ourselves in, there is grace from Christ to live peacefully. Small steps like these can help us slow down and be present in the life that we are living–they can even help us meet God in the midst of the busyness so that we can better rest in his love.