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I said to a friend the other day, “I’m at the bottom of my barrel. I must take a break.”

I was talking about writing specifically, but really about life these days. For the past 14 months, I have worked tirelessly. At the beginning of 2016, I chose the word “slow” as a reminder for me that this year needed to be different than 2015’s breakneck pace.

Slow is not a word I would use to describe to me. In high school, a teacher called me “Tink” because I was always “fluttering” from activity to activity. The nickname “energizer bunny” was another favorite. Twenty years later, the nicknames still ring true — I’ve just replaced choir practice with other activities.

But I have been sick more in the past six months than I have in the past few years. I am irritable and tired. I have not made myself a priority, and it is impacting every area of my life.

Here are five ways I am embracing slow this month:

  1. More prayer: In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” I need Jesus right now. My prayer life has really suffered this past year. I am committing to being more intentional during this season. I know that a vibrant prayer life positively impacts every other area of life and I am eager for a reset that only Christ can give.
  2. Less self-imposed deadlines: I have written continuously on my blog The Mom Creative for 10 years. For the next few weeks, I am taking a break. In preparation for this break, I have not accepted any writing contracts and am giving myself permission to not write. I plan to use that time to do other projects that have been pushed to the wayside for far too many months.
  3. More rest: I have been listening to my body and not staying up late. Instead, I go to bed shortly after my children and do my best to get 7-8 hours of sleep.
  4. More creativity: When I craft, I feel alive. I believe God has gifted me with the gift of creativity, and I have pushed it aside for too many months. I plan to make a mess in my craft room, sew, scrapbook and use my talents.
  5. Less technology: I am too attached to my phone. During this season of slowness, I need to get back in the habit of no technology from 6-8 in the evenings and less technology in general. I need to be more present.

I’m at the beginning of this journey, but I know these simple practices are going to make a big difference in my life. I just wish I hadn’t gotten to the bottom of my barrel before I took action! If you too have been in a season of busyness, I pray that my story might encourage you to slow down.

What does your life look like right now? Are you like me and need to slow down? Or is this something that you don’t struggle with? Let’s encourage one another in the comments below.

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    I am not exactly the energizer bunny…sometimes I wish I had his staying power, but I believe that we all seek affirmation. In doing different things we get that affirmation. I just find that if I am seeking too many of those things, then chances are, I’m not seeking my true affirmation from God. Lately, I’ve realized that and have come to the prayerful conclusion that with my new responsibilities I’ve taken on…something’s got to go. Yesterday I went for a walk in the sunshine and I realized – I need to do this more often. Just me and God taking a walk and talking. Sometimes it may mean letting go of something we love…but I need to in order to hold on to some One I love even more. Praying for you as you slow your ways…

    • A

      Jessica and Bev, praise to our Lord Jesus for this beautiful post and reply. I struggle with not striving to earn God’s love, overdoing most days when I just need to rest in His Word and presence. Thank you for reminding me that He doesn’t ask me to do it all and that its okay to let go of what He needs me to. Praying that we all slow and drink deeply of His love in His Word and Presence :)

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        Joining with you in shifting gears and slowing down so that we can drink deeply!
        B xx

  • Anna finley

    Good timing for me as I am struggling with which things to do today and what can I eliminate today to keep from being too stressed……….thx…..

  • Suzanne

    I am trying slow too.I have been exhausted for what feels like for no reason until I really evaluated how I was spending my time. I’m learning it takes practice to slow down especially when I, like Jessica, am the energizer bunny bouncing from one task to the next. I look forward to this season of slowness. I have been focusing on more rest and less technology too. Perfect timing with this post. Thank you!

  • Mary Haynie

    I’m not an Energizer Bunny, but sometimes I feel like I am. I’ve worked hard for 38 years as a preschool teacher, then a store check out person, and than a senior care person. I’m now a stay at home wife. LOVE IT. After exercising, sending my 71 year old husband to work, devotions and housework, I’m done in. I relax, try to walk (I have a fitbit )and watch tv. I feel better when hubby gets home. I’m working on getting closer to God and putting Him first.

  • Joann Riggio

    I LOVED your writing this morning about the very thing I know I NEED to do…

    S L O W D O W N

    At times I feel like I am not being productive enough so I rush to accomplish more. I rush other people and we all end up frustrated. I am praying to just slow down and make time to sit at the feet of Jesus and my family.

    Thank you!

  • Kim Duvall

    Thank you for your transparency I can relate to where you’re coming from for years I tried to do everything for everybody and it wore me down I am so thankful that you’re listening to the Lord and slowing down because that is something that I have learned to do but it is hard – I have recently taken a Facebook fast for three months which is been great on my mind and body it gives your mind and body a break – I sometimes feel like I am the only one who needs these kinds of breaks – the Lord reminds me I truly cannot do life on my own – thank you sweet sister for sharing your heart – like you when I get too much going on it takes a toll on my health – I am truly thankful to Jesus for living us enough to speak to us about this area of our life –

  • ChasingSlow.net

    I was forced into embracing slow with my health, but God is showing me great things. My journey has shown me that He leads us deeper through slowing down enough to be in His rest. I’ve been writing about it on my blog and will be praying as you enter this journey ahead. It will be rewarding!!!

  • Janet

    Hi, I live in Nottingham, England. I read your Incourage Me blogs. Last year I came to a place where I was doing too much and had to rest and ‘stand still’ in my walk with God. This meant giving all the people I was concerned about to God, and all my problems and spending time in the Word, letting God speak to ME. I read and meditated on passages of scripture that God hadlaid on my heart and that were precious to me. I did studies of these passages, to get as much out of them as I could, using Bible Commentaries to shed light on them. Then, after several weeks of doing this, God provided an unexpected holiday for me – a Christian houseparty. As I joined in this, the Lord refreshed me and spoke to me through His Word. The whole holiday encouraged me! When I returned home, I decided to re-order my priorities. I dropped one Christian commitment, in order to give more attention to another involvement (which is now proving to be very fruitful). Also I enrolled on a painting class, so as to encourage my creative abilities. As well as this I have
    embarked on a calligraphy project, where I’m writing out verses of scripture. I am happy when I use my creative gifts! I just try and give myself space to breathe and just be and I try to take time to meditate on God’s Word. Thank you. Janet Waters

  • Angela Parlin

    Truly encouraging post, Jessica. I read so many things about doing more, and it’s refreshing for someone to celebrate slowing down and doing less. Maybe because I’ve felt God calling me there as well. Best wishes to you on your break!

  • Beth Williams

    I have been on the proverbial hamster wheel for a while now. I finally quit my job in June 2015. Life was still a bit busy, but I felt more connected to life and God. Then came 2016 and the hamster wheel is back. I try my best to rest when I can, but it is hard. My issue is taking care of my aging dad and his varied and changing medical issues. Don’t know what the next move will be, but I know God’s got this! I pray daily and more intently -usually in the shower. I don’t use technology much. I’m off computer by 6pm and don’t look at phone unless an urgent text or call comes in. God wants us to s l o w d o w n and revive ourselves!

    Blessings :)

  • pmdteapots

    I have felt this same prompting lately. Thanks for the application points to the stirrings in my heart.