I’ve spent a lot of time over the past ten years teaching time management. Ten years of teaching college freshmen and trying to navigate my own calendar and responsibilities have taught me a few things. Some things stay the same–put the big rocks in first, figure out what time management system works for you, create an ideal schedule and do your best to stick to it, track your time and see where you time wasters are. I’ve taught it all and done it all. And I’m always learning more.
And if I’ve learned anything as an adult-in this most recent season-it’s the art of saying No. Not just for creating boundaries and margin in my schedule which are both so important, but for helping me to foster some much needed discipline and true peace.
Discipline means saying no. Peace means being able to open up to the feeling of being able to truly take a deep breath from life on a consistent regular basis.
And in every no, there is also a yes. And sometimes we don’t want to face the yes. We don’t want to face that there isn’t money in the bank for that coffee date. Or time in our schedule for that weekly commitment (yoga class, bible study, book club, etc.).
And sometimes in that silence–alone with the iced coffee I make at home tending to those things that present in this current season–a tear may fall grieving what once was. The ability to be spontaneous. To run a quick errand. Joining your life with someone else’s makes you ponder these things. Add another human being who literally cannot function without you providing their sustenance and that only amplifies thinking about the choices you make-every single one and the life you’re creating in a different way. Not necessarily the life smiling back at you but the one that you’re walking out, living out in the pages of your calendar, and more importantly, the one that you listen to the thoughts and emotions and realities swirling round and round each night when you try and leave behind one day and move into a new one. That’s the life and reality we each get to create.
My favorite author is coming out with a new book. It actually released today. I have’t read it yet, but it should be waiting on me when I get home from work. Shauna’s voice has been a healing balm to my soul in some very trying waters over the past few years. I listened to her share last week on the IF: Gathering screen cast and at her launch party. I think it was on the IF: Gathering screen cast I stopped and went back and played this quote multiple times…
“I’m creating–and recreating– the busyness and chaos because I don’t want to face what I find in the silence.” Shauna Niequist
This hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve had a lot of silence lately. More than I’m used to or comfortable with. And it’s having me face things that I don’t really want to face. Saying no has allowed that to happen. Discipline is coming in multiple areas of my life because of saying no. Looking at the tribe my life had been surrounded with in this season and those folks who have moved on. What choices am I making in regards to food and spending in addition to my time. The silence has made me look at these three things deeply. And the silence has taught me some things.
Silence has reminded me that I need to see food as fuel 90% of the time. Even though I’m a foodie at heart my body needs good foods to function properly. My body thanks me when I treat it with kindness.
Silence reminds me that right now my priorities are my daughter and husband, pursing a peaceful and simple life, and not forgetting the importance of self-care.
One of the biggest things I’m learning is that silence reminds me I love and need people in my life. Physically. I need to be able to share a hug, put my hand on someone’s shoulder look across the table into someone’s eyes and really be able to hear so much more than what the words coming out of their mouth are saying. This is hard for me in this season. So many of my relationships are based on text messages and Google Hangouts. But I’m listening to the silence and prayerfully considering how I need to respond.
So looking forward to what else Shauna’s words have to teach me through this book.