“ . . . [W]e often cut out time with the one who created time so that we have more time.”
– From Better Together: Connecting With God and Each Other (A Youth for Christ Devotional)
A few weeks ago, my family said farewell to summer by visiting the mountains. As we drove north, through the quiet planes of the Texas panhandle, I became fascinated by the wind farms. Most of the giant windmills were spinning, but a few of them were still.
Stillness. Delicious stillness, though everything is spinning all around. That is what I crave.
The “nothingness” of the panhandle was comforting to my spirit. I wanted to take the peace back to the big city with me.
Before that trip, I’d been lamenting to friends: “My life is spinning out of control!” I felt like I didn’t have time to talk on the phone to people I wanted to talk to. I didn’t have time to write, and reading was a rare luxury. The task list was always looming!
In the mountains, my father-in-law suggested that I re-work how I spend my time. We brainstormed with my husband.
Now, I have set aside two mornings a week (while my sons are at school) for quiet. Last year, I filled my “alone days” with errands, cleaning house, lunch dates, and those myriads of little tasks that can inadvertently eat up time. My days were filled with good things, but I was always being emptied.
During my newfound mornings, I spend time with the Creator of time. Then, I use His gift of time to do something I feel He is calling me to do . . . the thing that gives me energy. For me, that is writing.
I wrote this quotation in my little notebook about a decade ago because it felt true, or at least almost true: “Writing is the only thing that . . . when I’m doing it, I don’t feel that I should be doing something else instead.” – Gloria Steinem in For Writers Only
The first protected morning, I wrote children’s poetry and cried at the luxury of being able to sit still and do so. My eyes brimmed with happy tears for the gift of time and for the Father’s generosity to give me poems to write.
Another day, I edited a story I’d written years ago and prepared it to send to a publisher. On this quiet morning, I am writing this blog.
This is my fifth morning for renewal, and already the world is trying to intrude. You need to be: Cleaning! Paying bills! Shopping! Volunteering! Visiting loved ones! Exercising!
Yet, if I allow myself these times of refreshment, I have more zest for everything else on that list. I’ve found that I’m free now to be content while homeschooling my boys. Yesterday, I sat patiently next to my oldest. He could feel that I was really there with him, not waiting for a chance to hop up and accomplish something. He kept giving me little hugs and saying, “Mommy!” or “I like it when you sit with me.”
Now, when I meet a friend for lunch, I am joyfully present. There isn’t the nagging in the back of my mind that I haven’t attended to another calling. A time for everything!
I’m going to need superhuman strength to keep these mornings sacred. I’m afraid of losing them to the to-do list, the technology, the low self-esteem days, the noble distractions, the whims of others. . . . Jesus, please give me the discipline!
I pray that each of you, too, will give yourself permission to take back a morning or two, a few afternoons, or an evening a week for a respite from the busyness of life. Take refuge in Jesus’s loving arms and listen for what He wants to do through you. Dare to be that one windmill that isn’t spinning. Then, when you rejoin the others, you’ll be able to share the life-giving energy you’ve gained.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10