Summer is my favorite season. I love the heat, the water, the long days. Mostly, though, I love the slowness. I tend to live a little more freely in the summer. My mind resets somehow from why to why not. Why not eat popsicles on the porch before dinner? Why not hit the beach, take the trip, bathe the kids in the Target baby pool? I just love it. And I can feel myself shift into summer mode. It's tangible. I feel lighter, more open, more energized, more centered. And this year, I'm using my awareness to be super intentional about this summer. My only goal this summer is to slow down. I'm quitting busy and chasing slow. And it's going to be awesome.
"I'm so busy. Things have just been crazy." I tell people that when they ask how I am. Is that even an answer? I don't say I'm tired and overwhelmed. I don't say I'm happy and fulfilled. I say. "I'm good. We're just so busy." Do you do that? I do. Even when I mean to say something different. Busy works its way in. Why? I mean I am busy, but it's not the number one takeaway I want people to know about me when they ask how I am. I actually don't even want to be busy, and yet here I am - busy. I make busy, need busy, crave busy. Even though I I don't want to really be busy. What I want is simple. I want simplicity. I want presence. I want authenticity. I want people who I love and things that bring me joy. I want to see the glory of God everywhere. I want simple simple simple and yet I pursue busy busy busy. Why?
My husband recently told me about an article he read. It suggested that in our culture, "busy" projects status. It used to be that things projected status - if you had a big house, fancy car, designer clothes, that projected status. Not anymore. Now it's all about how busy we are. We equate our level of busyness to how much we are wanted and needed. So, if we are busy, we are important.
We want to be busy because we want to be important. I get it. I know I want to be important. So the illusion becomes the busier I am the more important I am. It makes total sense. In an attempt to fill the need to be needed, we get busy. But does it work? Are we really needed by any of the things we busy ourselves with? Or our we so busy being busy that we miss who and what needs us most?
I've found that, for me, the simpler I keep my schedule the more saturated the moments are. The less I multitask the more engaged and satisfied I am; and the more I learn what can wait. The less I talk the more I know people. The less I commit to, the more committed I am to what's important. So why do I still pursue busy?
Because I want to be important. I want status. If I'm asked to do something - bring cupcakes or come to a party, or pick up someone's kids, or give money, or lead a Bible Study - I find value in the busy. I find value in being needed. But often it's an illusion. The party doesn't need the cupcakes as much as I need to rest. The party will go on without me if I need a date with my husband. I can say no. I can choose what's best for me. But I don't. I choose busy because when I choose busy, I think I'm choosing important.
I know what you might be thinking - I want to be good person too. I want to help and be there for people and be involved. But saying no to busy doesn't have to mean saying no to being good or involved or helpful. It just means we get to prioritize EACH commitment EACH time. So, is it important enough THIS TIME to give up time with our family? Is it important enough THIS TIME to give up having a quiet night alone or with my husband? Sometimes it is. Sometimes we really are needed. And we need to be there for the friend, the child, the school who really needs our gifts and presence. But sometimes the answer is no. Our kids need us home, our husband deserves quality time, and we need a break. Every situation is different. And every time we can pause and examine and choose.
When we value ourselves and how we spend our time, others will value us and our time too. Sometimes it's ok to to just not want to do it. Because sometimes all you want is simple. All you want is saturation. All you want is to see the glory of God everywhere. When we stop seeing it everywhere, it's time to lose a little busy. It's important that we do our part for the whole but not at the expense of being whole. We are important. Busy doesn't make us important. We just are. Because we are alive.
I say it all the time. "How are we so busy? How did this happen?" I finally know why. I have a mindset that busy equals important. Busy equals needed, wanted, loved. If I simplify, I run the risk of not being noticed, of not being important, or needed, or loved. If I simplify I might not have a purpose. What?! It sounds crazy, I know. But, busy means a lot to us. I have really good news, though. It's not true.
Our purpose is not to run errands and head committees and chauffeur our children to a hundred activities. Our purpose is simple: love all, love always. Love is simple. It is saturated. It shows us the glory of God everywhere. And love can get left behind when we chase busy. How can we love when are racing at breakneck pace to keep up? We think we do the busy in love, but really love got tired a hundred miles back and we left it. Instead we took obligation, duty, and social norms with us and kept chasing busy. But listen, love is still back there, waiting to be picked up, waiting to show us what life is all about, waiting to relieve us from the chase. So I'm stopping to go back and get it. I'm adjusting my pace so love can keep up and stay with me. I'm letting busy lose its power and I'm claiming the simple, saturated, glorious way of living. Because busy is not important. I am. You are.
So Summer, bring on the slow. I'm ready. Busy is over rated, and I'm choosing slow. It's a challenge, but why not? Why not saturate my moments? Why not take my time to make sure I see God's glory all around me? Why not rest in the truth that I'm important. Period. Not because of anything. Just because I am. Go on without me, Busy. You have no power here. I'm with Slow. I'm with Love. And I'm here to stay.