I worry a great deal about the shape of my days.
This worry is a symptom of privilege. It means I have choices. For the most part, my days are not ruled by desperate necessity.
Instead, each one of my days unrolls like a red carpet. It is a carpet woven with hundreds of tiny choices. First, what should I feed the baby for breakfast? Next, should I spend this hour playing Candyland with the four-year-old or cleaning the kitchen? Then, should I read a book while the baby naps or try to write something? Until, should I spend the evening balancing the checkbook or watching PBS with Jonathan?
Choice after beautiful choice until my day is spent, and I lie in bed wondering where the hours fled. What did I accomplish today? Why did I never manage to send those emails? How could I have forgotten to do the grocery shopping / take that book back to the library / return that phone call / schedule that appointment?
Worry. Guilt. A resolve to do better tomorrow but never quite sure what tomorrow should look like. This is the blessing and the burden of choice.
I am an overly sensitive, introverted person. I require a great deal of space in my days: time for sitting and thinking. Time for sitting and reading. Time for taking that walk, pulling the baby behind me in her sled. Never enough time for cooking or cleaning or whatever else it is I’m supposed to be doing in my life as wife and mother.
Which means, I rarely do anything without guilt. Guilt says, shouldn’t you be doing more / working harder / accomplishing bigger?
I don’t think this is only a problem for mothers at home with small children. I can remember breaking out in hives from the stress of life as a college student. My life is more complicated now, but I have, at least, learned to avoid that kind of strain. I have learned, at least, to let myself live slowly, even if the price I pay is no longer hives but a constant, low-level guilt.
I want to be done with guilt. I want to believe that my most important job, the most critical task, requires space. It requires quiet. It requires rest.
The most important item on my daily list is always this: to be his witness. To open my eyes and see. To open my ears and hear. And only then, to open my mouth and sing of what I have seen.
It might happen while I sit still. It might happen while I work. But it will never happen when I rush.
I want to remember that the person with the most important job of all was never in a hurry. Jesus knew there was time enough.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
Yes, and from ancient days I am he.”
We are twins. Separated at birth. Now I’m convinced of it. 🙂
Should have guessed. I mean, our haircuts are a dead giveaway.
Thank you for the beautiful deep breath that see from me!!!!!
You are so welcome, Tracy! Much love.
I am very thankful I found this article. I, too, am an introvert who needs space and time. My One Word this year is Freedom. Freedom from fears, people-pleasing, and anything else . . . like guilt . . . that hinders me from following Jesus and sharing His love. Thank you for this.
So glad you found me, Deb. Praying more freedom for us both in 2014.
Requires space … requires quiet … requires rest …
YES, those are the most critical!
LOVED the pictures!
For too many years I thought of witnessing akin to badgering people. But this . . . this is being a witness . . . “to be his witness. To open my eyes and see. To open my ears and hear. And only then, to open my mouth and sing of what I have seen.” Thank you for this. To see, to hear, to sing praise. Yes to this.
To be His witness! Wow! Thanks for the reminder. How easily we forget!
Christie, I’m new here – I so related with this. For me its the combination of introversion and the need for achievement – if I can’t look back on the day and see my list of accomplishments, it feels like I haven’t really lived.. one thing that really helps me is making fun my goal for the day.. often writing down “I’m doing nothing today” frees me to do exactly that and teaches me how to be easier on myself.
Thank you for this! I can so relate to those guilt feelings. I deal with them pretty much daily. There are phone calls to make, closets to clean, other things to do but I want to read a book, play a game, or have coffee with a friend. I tell myself I will “get it together eventually”. Thank you for the reminder that Jesus was never in a hurry -He knew there was time enough! He took time for people! Always.
It truly is always so refreshing to come here. Just yesterday I was wrestling with guilt (I do many days but yesterday was particularly strong) so I really needed this today. You really do have such a warm and inviting place to visit. 🙂
I want to be done with guilt too. I think I make too many decisions based on this. I’m weary of it. Let Christ be my master, the commander of my time and my presence. For every decision made to appease guilt, a new tendril threatens to strangle me.
I always love your words, Christie. So. Much. (Also, I love your photos!!)
Triplets. Just sayin’. You nailed it Christie.
Beautifully written, and something I was just praying about last night. Thank you for being the voice of God for me this morning. 🙂
Exaclty. And such a comfort to know that this struggle in my mind and heart is in others, too – the enemy has no unique plans. Down with guilt! Onward with a slow life and good witness.
Beautiful, insightful, and full of truth. Your words washed over me this morning like a warm, cleansing shower as I read them. I can identify with everything you said. Thank you so much, Christie, for your heart and the needed reminder. You are such a blessing.
Beautiful, as usual, Christie. And I love the pictures, especially the bottom one, with that small man hunching before a very old fireplace . . . and a 21st century electronic device recharging in the window frame. (And if Shelly is the triplet, she didn’t get the memo about the haircut!!)
Solitude. Introvert. Choices. Reading. Thinking. I am a member of that mystical body. Thanks for sharing.
Oh my goodness! I had hives for a season in college, too! And I still struggle with the guilt of “not enough.” Thank you for writing this.
Gaaah! To wake up every morning feeling like a failure…surely that isn’t what He wants? I struggle too. I’m an introvert too.
Kindreds. I could write a book in the comment box about this very…..Instead I will send you a fb comment or an email. And we are almost twinsies on the haircut now. Pixie here too. Beautiful read.
I’m so grateful to each of you who took the time to comment. Of course, I posted these words on living slowly because I believe them, and yet I believe them even more now that I know I’m not the only one. I wanted to respond to each of you, but life intervened in the form of an ice storm. It turns out my idea of the good slow life was heavily dependent on heat and running water and coffee. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that once I have internet again. Until then, thank you.
Wow, this was so great. I too, like someone said above, desire “achievement” as well as a need for quiet time to recharge in my day.
And I loved this:
“The most important item on my daily list is always this: to be his witness.”
So true. And we never need to feel guilt slowing down to be with Him.
So much beauty in those words “The most important item on my daily list is always this: to be his witness. To open my eyes and see. To open my ears and hear. And only then, to open my mouth and sing of what I have seen.” I am also an introvert and need to carve out time and space to just be.
Thank you for the reminder to slow down, savor life as God intended it. We can’t take our accomplishments with us to Heaven, but we can bring our hearts overfilled with love for Christ and others.
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 2 Corinthians 4:5
Quadruple — no, the womb would have been way too crowded. Cousins, then.
I am practicing the slow life by not even getting around to commenting until today.
Beautiful. Your posts are like a long, slow breath of fresh air. I am always so encouraged by your words. Thank you!