I’ve painted for ten of the past twenty-four hours. Not on canvas, but over the old wood window casings and that orange fake wood door that’s been bugging me for the past year and even that hutch that has needed a fresh coat of paint since 2012. I didn’t plan to paint. I simply planned to not do other things. Painting all those things was incredibly rewarding and embarrassingly fun for me. Funny what comes out when you give yourself the gift of time.
The only reason there was a glorious gap in my to do list was because I fought for it. No one else will protect you from your to-dos.
A few weeks ago I took a vacation and simply stayed home. I gave myself permission to do whatever I wanted. I expected I would read a bunch of People magazines, watch HGTV during the day and eat out every night. That’s not what happened. Don’t get me wrong, I read a novel, I watched funny movies and TV shows, I took naps, but I also cooked a lot. I read a ton. I went out to some antique malls armed with a cherry vanilla diet coke from Sonic. What surprised me was that I was drawn to my work that I love, I wrote some and made some business plans–all because I wanted to.
I thought I was longing for lazy days of being mindlessly amused, but really I just needed the rhythm of life-giving work and true rest. That’s my sweet spot and I bet it’s yours, too.
For the past two years my life has felt crazy busy. We all have seasons like that. Not the the life-giving kind of busy where for me that means creating pretty things and planning baby showers with my friends, but life-sucking, soul-clogging, mind-numbing BUSY. Curse word busy. Sometimes you need to do the crazy busy for a time. That can be part of life. But once you do that, you have to recognize the need to be crazy unbusy.
I’ve noticed that it’s more difficult to convince people that I’m okay when I’m recuperating in a time of crazy unbusy. Everyone is fine if I schedule myself within an inch of my life. But start saying no and people get all uncomfortable and concerned. Really, they should be concerned if I stop un-busy-ing myself.
It’s unnatural to say no so much. Unless you’ve given an unnatural amount of yesses away. Then it’s your duty to start saying no.
But even as I start to feel the balance of my yesses and my nos, the inbox, the possible Pinterest-worthy baby shower decorations, the opportunities that might turn into other opportunities, the news I’m missing out on still keep pouring in. They pour in different ways for all of us, but the online world has made it faster, more urgent and everywhere.
“The biggest deception of our digital age may be the lie that says we can be omni-competent, omni-informed, and omni-present…We must choose our absence, our inability, and our ignorance–and choose wisely.”
Kevin DeYoung // Crazy Busy
I love the idea of intentionally choosing my absence, inability and ignorance. Because whether or not I choose it or I allow it to choose me, there’s only so much I’m able to do. God made it that way on purpose, with purpose.
Instead of worrying I’m missing out, I’ll flip it around and decide to choose be absent.
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