By the time Christmas break came this year, truly, I needed a break. I needed the chance to stop feeling the pressures of everyday life and just rest and refresh — body, mind, and soul.
To be honest, today is my first day being fully “back at it” since before the holidays. I think most people probably resumed normal schedules last week. I took an extra week post-holidays because I needed some time both to reflect and to prepare.
See, I experienced a feeling during my three-week break that I hadn’t entirely known I’d been missing. It was a feeling of lightness — of burdens lifted. I felt worry-free and available.
And as I relished in that feeling, I realized: being busy doesn’t make me happy. In fact, it frequently makes me quite the opposite. So why? Why do I choose to live the way I lived in 2015, when, to some degree, it’s in my power to live otherwise?
True, there is nothing magical about this day or this new year that changes my ability to make certain choices. Yesterday, today was just another tomorrow. But at this which feels like a new beginning — and which by all means can be — I’m choosing to reset. Instead of continuing to battle with “busy,” I’m deciding to seek to be still.
Here are three things I’m choosing to treasure in 2016.
1. God’s Word: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
When I allow myself to be “busy,” the first area that suffers is my time with God. In 2016, I’m putting the Bible back in its rightful place. With God’s help, I will accomplish the desire He has placed in my heart to return to a time of daily devotion. My plan is to do a complete read-through of the Bible this year via daily readings from my Chronological Life Application Study Bible. No matter how busy each day may be, He has reminded me that I need to take time to be still in His Word, because He is God.
2. My Kids’ Snuggles: Be still and take time.
My kids are 9, 8, 6, and 6, and they still love to be close to mom. When I allow myself to be consumed by my cares, I fail to be available in the way that they need. In 2016, I want to set aside my cares and sit alongside my children. If I’m too busy to be with my kids, then I’m too busy. No matter how many people or tasks need my attention, I have to take time to be still with my kids, because time will not be still.
3. A Quieted Heart: Be still, my soul.
The older I get, the faster time seems to go, and the more anxious I feel in the race against it. The battle with busyness has so often been in my mind, so even when my body may be at rest, my heart and my head remain caught in a flurry of worries. I’m tired. No matter how many thoughts need thinking through, my soul needs permission to simply be still, because the feeling of incessant urgency leaves me drained and with nothing to give.
I hate that I’ve let the cares of life crowd out the things that are most important, but you know what? That’s why I’m so thankful for the mercy of God and for His free gift of new beginnings. I’m never going to get it all right; I’m always going to need a do-over (or two), and He is never going to run out of things to teach me. Thank goodness His grace is sufficient through the process.
As I begin 2016 with a plan to be still and to treasure these more important things, there are a few measures I must be prepared to take.
- I must be prepared to say “no” to some things. There is only so much I can do and give, and not every task or ask will be possible and right.
- I must be prepared to say “yes” to some things. Yes to my bedtime. Yes to my quiet time. Yes to my family. Yes to God.
- I must be prepared to let myself off the hook. I am not Super Mom or Wonder Woman, and no one expects me to be.
- I must be prepared to not “muscle” my way through. My best year will be lived not in my own strength, but in the power of Him who is strong in my weakness.
- I must be prepared to commune with the God of Peace. In His presence is fullness of joy, and only in Him will I find the true rest that refreshes body, mind, and soul.