How do I slow down?!.....Word Filled Wednesday

"He will quiet you with His love." Zephaniah 3:17

Well, how do we slow down?!

I was once preparing for a talk called "Don't Waste Your Life!" when a dear friend asked what the topic was about. I told her it that it is about God's plans for us ( and how they are very different from our own at times!), our relationship with Him, and the busyness of life. She then said, (and I love this!) "Well, are you going to tell me how to NOT be busy or just that I am too busy! Because I already know that!"

I can relate to her frustration. Sometimes we get caught up in the "busyness trap," and we don't see a way out! We know we are not feeling at peace, but don't know how to slow down. Sometimes we are looking for a "magic formula" or some "secret."

I wish I had a "secret" to tell you. There is no "magic formula." We all know in our hearts what we need to do, but we struggle with doing it! It is so simple- we need to begin taking things OUT of our schedules instead of continuing to put them in! I heard some sound advice from Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life) once- anytime you add a new activity to your life, you need to take something away. I know, I know, it sounds too simple. Then, your next question is HOW?! How do I remove "stuff?"

The first thing we need to begin doing is PRAYING about what God's will is for our lives. Now, we are really good at doing this when some big catastrophe comes up, or we have to make a huge decision, but we forget about the "little" things. Maybe we just don't want to "bother" God with the "trivial" stuff. Or, maybe we really don't want God's input into our activities because deep down we know He will tell us to let go of some things. Maybe we have just never thought about before!

Jesus was a busy guy here on earth! He WALKED (no cars to get Him there in a matter of minutes or hours, it took days!) the land, healing the sick, casting out demons, performing miracles, teaching the people, and ministering to them. But, I never saw Him stressed about His workload! Why? Two things. First, He got away OFTEN to pray! As busy as He was, He met with Father continually. And, the second was He always did the will of the Father.

I am sure that while He was on earth, Jesus could have healed many more. He could have taught more. He could have done more! But, He sought out God's will for Him, and when God said, "Go to the next town." It was time to go! In His obedience, He followed the Perfect Plan, doing exactly what He was meant to do.

How many times do I pray about my kids' activities? Now, I am pretty good about praying for God's will in my own activities (learned that the hard way!), and I seek out His will for what I am doing. I always tell people I need to pray first before I make a commitment. (Like I said I learned that the hard way!!!!) But, with my kids, I just barreled ahead, signing them up for all of these activities because, my goodness, if the girls don't dance, they will be deprived, or if Andrew doesn't play football, well, ALL boys play football. And, if you don't play soccer, you can't live in America!

God has really been dealing with me in this area over the last few years and it has been so LIBERATING! (Both for me and for the kids!) It started one spring when both girls were in dance and Andrew was busy with scouts and basketball. The girls were also playing soccer. A typical Saturday was two soccer games and a basketball game before noon. Well, the girls were supposed to get dance recital pictures taken, (different times) and Andrew had to do an activity for scouting. I was freaking out, wondering how I was going to pull all of this off, because they were at different times. The Holy Spirit spoke directly in my heart, "Tracy, you don't HAVE to get the dance picture! You'll take plenty of your own pictures. They just had soccer pictures done and Spring school pictures. Just because it is written on someone's calendar, it doesn't mean you HAVE TO DO IT!"

Freedom!!!!!!!!!!! I never realized until that moment that I didn't have to do these things!

I don't have to go to that meeting, just because they are having it? I don't have to sign the kids up for this, even though "everybody" else is?!

The climax came the next fall. I had already decided that we would take a break from dance. The girls weren't "in love" with it as much as mom anyway! So, we decided we would only do soccer for them, with church on Wed. nights and Indian Princesses once a month. Well, mom missed the deadline to sign up. I immediately felt guilty and horrible. I rushed to the YMCA with my check, hoping to still get in (it was only one day after the deadline!). They wouldn't take my money, but they did put me on a waiting list. Then, I felt a leading to pray. I realized I hadn't really sought out God's will in all of this. I know He has plans for my children as well as me, and I needed to seek Him out in all of this. Well, I prayed that if it was His will that they do soccer, then He would open that door. But, if it was better for the girls not to play in the spring, that He would close the door. I surrendered it to Him and asked Him to be over it.

Well, the girls did NOT get on a team (hallelujah!) and it was wonderful! They were so happy! They were able to play (like kids!) after school and our Saturdays were spent as a family, doing some chores, running to Target for our groceries, and then having fun! They just needed a break. They both are playing again, but it was a season where God's best was that we didn't do it.

Jesus promises that His burden is light. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, (remember- Jesus prayed and spent time with the Father, and obeyed the will of the Father) for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If we are not experiencing peace, then something is wrong. Isaiah says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” If God has truly called you to everything you are doing, then He will equip you to handle it all! Let us seek God and ask Him what we should be doing with our time.

"My soul finds rest in God alone."

I pray that you will experience the peace that passes all understanding as you continue to seek Him out- above all!

My prayer for you today (from Psalm 20)
"May the Lord answer you when you are in distress (when the washer has broken down, when you are feeling sick, when your child has failed a test...)
May the name of God of Jacob protect you.
May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May He remember all of your sacrifices. (Selah- think on this...)
May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the Name of the Lord!
May the Lord grant all of your requests.
We trust in the Name of the Lord our God

In His grace, love, joy, and PEACE,
Please visit Lori at All You Have to Give for more inspiration!

11 thoughts shared....:

maritz said...

what a powerful message! God bless you always.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is Thankyou!

I'm so thankful that I clicked on your link. His word and your testimony has been a blessing to me today.


Susan said...

Hey Tracy,

GREAT word and devotional to go with it.

I really enjoyed this...

Have a blessed day♥

Karen said...

This was so good...I can never get too many reminders about slowing down and choosing the "better" things....

Lauren said...

thank you for these words of wisdom! I loved the picture to go with the verse too! :)

lori said...

Girlfriend....THIS was incredible! I swear we live parallel existences! I've been in the same place, when the Holy Spirit spoke up and moved us into a place that was right for us...not necessarily what 'everyone' else was doing....the result has been that we are all much happier and calmer and able to enjoy each other...oh, we're still busy, but we have stepped back to see what the Lord would have us do....

amazing what happens when we listen, huh!

love you!!


Cathy said...

Thank God He quiets us with His love. I love that verse.

Denise said...

Such a nice post.

Mary Moss said...

Yes, My rest in is God alone! So many times I feel either drowned out by or drowning in all the noise and frenetic activity level of daily life!

This is a good 'breath prayer' to remember. Glad I stopped by today:-)

pinkyshelo said...

Amen for His words.. Blessings I received through your post

Chelle said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts today, wonderful, as always!