True story. At the beginning of this year, I felt like God was nudging me to tell me 2017 would be the year I would find my true pace. Huh, I thought. This past year was pretty hectic. I bet my true pace will be much slower, much more relaxed.
I took time to pray about being open to my true pace, and I spent some time envisioning what it might be like. In my mind, I pictured myself in a beautiful backyard setting tending to lush, green gardens. I pictured going into my office after a morning of leisurely working to go write. The words, naturally, flowed. I made some business calls, did an occasional speaking engagement, and had time for all my hobbies. My house was clean. I thought, Wow! I love thatpace! I wonder if that’s what it will be like … then I conveniently forgot all about it.
Fast forward to mid-August. My yard virtually yells at me whenever I walk by it, saying “Please spruce me up, Lady!” My major remodel that I started Memorial Day weekend, certain it could be done in two weeks, (it’s alright – you can laugh at me) still isn’t finished. I’ve had to be incredibly selective about my activities, my time, my focus and my priorities. It’s taken concentrated effort to make sure my family has stayed on the top of that list. If I thought I was busy before, I feel like God took that pace and put it on steroids! I have, in a word, often felt overwhelmed.
As I sat there praying yet again about where to shift my focus and what to put my hand to, I was reminded of that nudge at the beginning of the year. Wow, God, I thought, You sure think I can handle a whole lot more than I think I can. When’s the vacation? When’s the gardening supposed to happen? How am I supposed to grow my business and my ministry and finish my house and stay intentional with my kids and my team? My poor editor is wondering where I am!
God gently reminded me that none of those things are mine. Not the yard, not the house, not the work, not the ministry, not the book – not even my kids. They are all His and it’s His grace that covers them. He directed my attention to the incredible lessons I’ve learned this year, like how to insist on times of rest regardless of the size of the storm. I’ve learned to lean into God even more deeply because I’ve had no choice. I’ve learned to let go of what I can’t get to (not easy for a perfectionist) and to be at peace with what I can do. I’ve learned that good is enough. I’ve done far more than I would’ve thought possible and witnessed incredible blessings in the midst of it even as I’ve had to let go of some things I dearly love to do. And I realized in that moment it has all been worth it – the struggle, the sweat and the tears, the challenges and the late nights, and especially the whole new level of control I’ve learned to surrender. It’s all been worthwhile.
Life is full of seasons. Some are slower and reflective, while others are all about movement. Sometimes God calls us to rest, and sometimes He calls us to action. Through it all, I keep going back to the story of the godly woman in Proverbs 31. She is a very busy person, yet she is clearly at peace. The Bible says, “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks,” and “She is clothed with strength and dignity. She can laugh at the days to come.” I’ve come to realize it’s not so much about pace as it is about intentionally leaning into God through it all. I used to pray for God to clear off some of my plate. Now, I pray God makes me strong for my tasks, whether big or small, and to stay at peace, wrapped in His presence and goodness. And that is my prayer for you.
For Further Thought: Ecclesiastes tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven,” (3:1f). What season do you find yourself in? How can you allow God to use this season to teach you how to lean into Him more? This week, consider asking God to show you the pace He wants you to be at versus the pace you think you should be doing. He may slow you down; He may speed you up. The salient thing is to trust in His leading as you go.