Slowing Down + Simplifying
Busyness has always been my friend.
I’ve always liked the idea of having a lot to do.
And I don’t think I’m the only one who has had this mindset.
I don’t know about you, but I suppose I equated a busy life to mean a full and meaningful life.
But can we just be honest for a second? Being busy is exhausting.
Not to mention, being busy is stressful and I know personally that when stress starts to show up normally so does some sort of unpleasant attitude in me and nothing about that is enjoyable for anyone around.
The Bible tells us that our whole purpose of being on this earth is to glorify Christ and bring witness to Him with our lives and lately I’ve been cornered by the question – what if I’m too busy to glorify Christ?
In fact what if I’m “too busy” to take time to deepen my relationship with Christ, to embrace the small opportunities to be a light for Him throughout the day, to truly exemplify Christ in not just my words but even more so in my actions??
And what if the things I’m attempting to find purpose in are actually taking me away from my one true purpose?
If you’re asking yourself these questions and feeling a little bit guilty of possibly having an overfilled schedule too – you’re not alone. Our culture in general looks at busyness as a positive, in fact it even encourages it. Everyone seems to have some sort of side hustle these days but in the midst of all the hustle we forget to ask – what’s it all for?
See, lately I’ve been deeply convicted by the Word of God and the sin patterns I see in my own life that have led me to the conclusion that I need to slow down. Over the past few years my go, go, go lifestyle has left me feeling more run down, made it harder to invest in my relationship with God, and left me with confusion and lack of direction.
Jesus shares a clear message on slowing down in Luke 10:38-42
“38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus[a] entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary.[b] Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Here we see an account where Jesus stops in at two sisters homes. One sister, Martha, rushes around concerned about serving and hosting and getting things checked off her to do list and the other sister, Mary, simply sits down and is present with Jesus. In this story Martha basically asks Jesus to scold her sister for not helping her and in response Jesus instead condemns Martha for running around and doing useless thing and in contrary actually praises her sister Mary for her stillness. He praises Mary for being willing to sit, listen, and slow down.
And my goodness, when I read this story I swear you could take the name Martha right out of there and plop the name Rachel in because this woman is me. I am the Martha. And I don’t say that proudly… I say this because there have been so many times in my life that I have been like Martha, running around with plenty of projects but missing the purpose I was called to. And how unfortunate to think about all the moments I have missed with Jesus because I was busy with things that didn’t matter!
I share this because I know that I am not alone in the exhaustion and stress and overwhelm of busyness I’ve experienced. I know that there are other women and girls that also are just tired of being tired out by their lives.
In Psalm 46:10 the Bible tells us:
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The truth is, over the course of the past few months (and during my break here from Bold + Beloved) I have been convicted by the busyness of my lifestyle and have made a point to slow down and be still.
And to be honest, this effort has drastically changed my relationship with the Lord. I have learned to take more time to be still, to listen, and to praise God and it has grown my relationship leaps and bounds with the Lord in such a short time.
I felt like I had to share this today because this concept of slowing down and being still is SO simple and has made such a big change in my life, yet it has taken a LOT of work to implement.
Truly, I am still working everyday towards becoming more of a Mary than a Martha. I thought sharing a few of the ways I’ve intentionally made a point to slow down in my life with all of you might be helpful! So here are a few of the “slow living” lifestyle changes I’ve made and you can too :)
1. Slow Mornings
intentionally waking up early enough to give myself time to ease into the day. I actually have to wake up earlier than normal to do this but it helps me when I try to plan enough time to enjoy simple things. Some of the things I give myself time for is making loose-leaf tea in an actual tea pot and sitting down to drink it while doing my devotions and prayer during the morning. I try to over estimate my “devotion time” so that I don’t feel rushed during prayer or reading my bible! I also allow enough time to make myself a hot breakfast that I can sit down to eat and do a yoga stretching routine to get my body awake and moving.
2. The Days Priorities
figuring out what really ACTUALLY needs done throughout the day. I at times allow myself to get overwhelmed by a lot of the things on my to do list that don’t actually need to be done. I like to look the night before at my plans for the following day and mark off which ones actually need to get done (for me its devotions, eating dinner, and getting a shower – simple but what actually has to get done!)
3. Prepping for the Next Day
I like to take some time each night to prep for the next day – this way I don’t allow for the feeling of rush or hurry in the next day. Some of the things I prep for the next day is my work clothes, lunch, the coffee pot with a timer, my smoothie or shake, and any early dinner prep I can do like chopping up veggies ahead of time.
4. Wind Down Time At Night
about an hour before bed I have started to invest in some wind down time where I put my phone away, read a book, do some stretching, drink a glass of tea, and wind down for the night which has made me feel so much calmer and have time to truly enjoy simplicity and slowness
Hope these tips help you all too!