Fall is a strange season. I always feel like it’s a season of possibility and potential, and I love the flavor in the air of fresh starts.
When I take a look at my expectations of this season, though, I find that I focus on filling it up with great things, rather than making space for rest. It is when the tempo starts to be too hard to keep up with that I realize what’s missing and how much it matters to have margin. I find myself lacking contentment and catching a bad case of the “never-good-enough”s.
I got to chat with a group of moms this week about this very subject, and we talked about how we all know that we are missing rest and margin in our lives, but we feel caught up in the rush and unable to slow down.
So what do we do when we realize we need to carve out some space? Here’s what we came up with:
1) We acknowledge our gremlins. These are the pesky voices of fear, addiction, shame, and perfectionism that get in the way of our rest and enough-ness. If we don’t start my calling out the things we use to fill empty time and occupy fearful minds, then we have no way to combat those temptations when they arise.
2) We look for a healthy rhythm instead of balance. We’ve all seen how this idea of balance is elusive and perfectionistic. Instead, we seek rhythm, which takes into account the season and the priorities of each individual season. This is where we look to Scripture to model our lives in the rhythm of rest - Sabbath. We were created to live in this rhythm of working for six days and resting for one. It’s an ongoing rhythm.
3) We assemble our toolbox. This is the way that we combat the busyness of the everyday, by carrying with us both tangible things and intangible things to take out when we have a few moments to slow down and breathe. Some tangible ideas could be lighting a candle, finding a comforting scent, reading or journaling, repeating a mantra, or focusing on some deep breathing. Other, more intangible concepts are qualities we want to pursue and carry with us like humility, healthy boundaries, wisdom, and asking clearly for what we need.
4) We let the light in. Brene Brown taught us that shame can’t survive when it’s doused with empathy that comes from a community of people who can understand us and say "Me, too!" We must find and open up to those in our community who can help, who can pour out, who can connect, and who can help us steer our ships well. These are the kinds of people that Shauna Niequist is talking about when she says, "We sometimes choose the most locked-up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story."
May this season be a season for each of us of telling a different story, and of seeking and finding rest in the Lord.