Slowing Down {In Opposite World}

Slowing down in opposite World

2 weeks ago, my family went on vacation.  One of the things I looked forward to were the walks on the beach.  My plan was to walk briskly for about 30 minutes daily to enjoy the sand beneathe my toes, the water splashing on my ankles and in the process burn some calories.

So I announced to the the family I was going on a beach walk -”who wants to come?”  My daughter cheered and grabbed her bucket and off to the beach we went.

Little did I know that her plans for the beach walk were nothing like mine. 

As we stepped out onto the sand she saw a seashell, so we examined it and dropped it into the bucket. We went 2 more steps and there was another beautiful seashell, into the bucket it went…2 steps more and another pile of shells were there to admire.

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10 minutes later and we hadn’t even left the beach in front of our condo –and I got anxious. 

Okay Lexi, that’s enough picking up shells – let’s walk a little.” (this was not going as planned –I wanted to burn calories and be productive –which meant we need to move it!)

I began to walk but she was 2 steps behind.  “Lexi, can you walk faster?”

She couldn’t –she was enamored with the sea shells.  So I suggested we walk in the water and get our toes wet.  Lo and behold –a jelly fish. 

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So of course, we had to stop and check it out, take a picture.  Have mercy!  Can we not just walk?

So we walked  and there were other kid’s sandcastles to stop and look at, kites flying, dogs running on the beach, birds swooping into the water to catch a fish, and dolphins – yes, we saw a school of dolphins close to the shoreline.

30 minutes passed and Alexis was having a ball…but we had barely walked 100 yards.  She was simply taking it all in.  And I on the outside pretended to find this all interesting but on the inside was thinking –I need to”walk”! Bah!

Then she said something that went against every fiber in my body.

“Mom, can we just sit down right here and talk?”

Sit down on a walk???

Hmmmm…a mini-tug of war played in my soul…

then I sat.

And we talked.

Nothing profound.  But vastly important in my little girl’s world.

How hard it is as mothers to simply slow down –Opposite World bids us to move it!  Get those kids signed up for soccer, piano, gymanstics, basketball, football, baseball, –you name it, it feels like everybody’s doin’ it!

Opposite World tells us to get our calendars full –stay on the move.  If you don’t –your kids might miss out or they won’t be cool or they won’t learn important life lessons or they won’t be socialized or they won’t, won’t won’t –who knows what won’t happen –just don’t take your chances on finding out what won’t happen! Get movin!

But then, I think of the times when my children are the happiest. Like when I jumped on the trampoline last week with my son.  10 minutes of jumping and my son’s arms were wrapped around me crowning me “the best mom ever“!  Or at bedtime, when I’m reading a book out loud and I say I’ll read an extra chapter – *boom* – the “best mom ever” title comes out of nowhere!

Or when I tell the kids they can sleep in their sleeping bags in the family room or it’s game night, ice cream sundae night, or movie night.  *Boom* -I morphe into the best mom ever.

So why is it that we feel the need to run run run run run our kids all over God’s green earth to keep them happy?  Opposite World says this is what kids need – move it! 

And a dear friend tells me –when she stops running…she gets depressed.  Cause life is hard and it hurts and she keeps busy to keep her mind off of her pain.

 Ann Voskamp writes:

The six kids rouse.  we race. The barn…and hurry.  The breakfast…and hurry.  the books, the binders…and hurry.   In a world addicted to speed, I blur the moments into one unholy smear…Hands of the clock whip hard.  so I push hard and I bark hard and I fall hard and when their wide eyes brim sadness and their chins tremble weak, I am weary…

The hurry makes us hurt.

And maybe it is the hurt that drives us on?  For all our frenzied running seemingly toward something, could it be that we are in fact fleeing –desperate to escape pain that pursues?

~One Thousand Gifts pg. 66

 Dear sweet mamas of little ones who are on summer break…

Slow.

Down.

Sit with your kids and enjoy a fresh watermelon or a warm sticky s’more.

Swing on a swing, throw balls, pick flowers, jump on the trampoline, shoot a hoop, draw with the chalk, and count stars.

Don’t let your to-do list and hurry –hurt.

Opposite World is a hurting world.  We need to offer them the rest that they can find in Jesus. They don’t have to run run run all over God’s green earth to find meaning –they just have to run into the arms of the maker of the earth.  And there –they’ll find rest.

Jesus said – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

And so our lives should look different. Because when we run after Opposite World, we run right past hurting people.  We miss the signs of a weary husband who needs encouragement or a lonely child who just wishes we’d linger in the sand for a while.  We miss seashells and seagulls and seeing into the hearts of loved ones and lost ones.

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“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

I’m on this journey with you –together let’s commit to slowing down for the summer.  Linger over God’s word. Linger over chapter books and summer smoothies and popsicles and catching fireflys.

Chime In: Friends, as I shared in the above story.  Slowing down is so very hard for me.   How have you overcome this temptation to hurt in the hurry?

Walk with the King,

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Beautifully said Courtney. What has helped me is viewing my kids (and husband) as my ministry. We spend a lot of time together as a family at home – cooking, playing, going for walks, etc. But for me that is something I have done purposely as growing up, I wished my family would have spent more time together. My struggle is getting together with others as they are so busy with activities that they don’t have time to simply have fellowship. When inviting another family over we are planning months in advance because of “busyness” which saddens me greatly as such is the world.

  2. Christen says:

    I have loved every post in this series! Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Hi Courtney,
    I love this series, and this post is a great reminder. A few things have helped for me. I don’t have a Facebook account, which has helped so much. I had one for a while, but I found myself feeling like I needed to check it every 5 minutes! Deleting my account made life more simple instantly. We only have our kids do one sports/activity at a time. Even just one seems like a lot sometimes! Finally, I purposely started saying no to a lot of things when I overdid it last year. I said yes to way too many commitments , and they all seemed good because they were volunteer spots at church, but boy did it overwhelm things in my life! I learned a good lesson – not every “good” opportunity must be taken…it’s the most important opportunity (family) that must be taken.

    Thanks again for the encouragement!

  4. It IS so hard to slow down. This past year God has been teaching me about allowing margin for people interruptions…to make sure I’m not too busy doing “ministry” that I am unable to be a listening ear for a friend; to not be in such a hurry that I miss out on speaking a kind word to the cashier at the grocery store; etc. I’ve been learning to wake up each morning and pray that He would accomplish what He wants to accomplish in/through me in that day, and He’ll work everything out. And you know what? He always does!

    • Suzette says:

      I love what you said about making sure we’re not too busy doing “ministry” that we can’t do “actual ministry.” What a great reminder.

  5. Marilyn Kok says:

    Children will remind us to slow down and smell the roses but only if we listen will we hear them. Enjoyed your post. I’m a grandma now and miss the opportunities I could have had but didn’t take. Enjoy your family while you can and before they leave the nest. God bless you & your family. :-)

    • Elsje Raap says:

      Never too late, though, Marilyn! God’s mercies are new every morning. Thankfully, I can still give this kind of time to grand-babies and other little people (as well as my grown up and almost grown up children). It’s a never ending tug-of-war though, isn’t it!
      “Be still and know that I am God”
      LOVED this article.

  6. I am right there Courtney, I socialized myself and my son into a burn out last week, it was not beneficial to us this socialization myth. We are homeschoolers and we couldn’t do that because we were busy socializing he he he, we are working on a God centered and filled balance. Be still and know that I am God, I haven’t been still enough to even acknowledge God. I am so grateful to have mercies new everyday that I might please God with my schedule, putting Him first. Have a blessed week. Tara.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Hi Courtney, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog & I really needed to hear these words today! Even though it’s winter here on the other side of the world I will stop & be with my daughter & my fiance just because I can.
    Thank you so much for all the effort & time you spend walking this with us, even those of us in miserable ol’ Sydeny Australia.

  8. Yes yes yes! I’m so grateful we are all seeing the importance of slowing the pace. I have felt such conviction in this area. Wrote a blog post about it too! we need to shout this loudly over and over. Awesome post. Will take your words with me to the beach in a few weeks.

  9. I took my daughter down to the water today and just watched her throw bread to the seagulls. Then we watched the sunset, the cats running around, the pelicans, the man cleaning his fish, and what ever else was going on. I took that time to just live in the moment. It was wonderful. We hugged and giggled all the way back to the apartment. Haven’t done that in ages.

    Thanks for the reminder. This subject was in my devotional for the day also. I think it was a HUGE nudge from God.

    Blessing and have a wonderful day.

  10. I loved this! So true and so well said! Thank you!! It brought tears to my eyes and conviction to my heart!

  11. Melisa H. says:

    It’s like you’ve read my mind. I see people all around me who are “on the go” all the time, complaining of how they have SO much to do (hmmm… who signed up for all these extra activities, I wonder??), how exhausted they are, and how there aren’t enough hours in the day. Maybe it’s because of my age (I turned 40 recently) that I am purposely trying to be “in the moment” more often. I am mostly a stay-at-home mom (with 2 small “jobs” that combined are not quite part-time), but I am so thankful to be able to spend as much time with my daughter (10 yrs old) as I can (jumping on trampoline, talking, feeding ducks and taking care of the injured wild duck that landed in our yard, goofing off, crafting, talking while we eat a snack together after she gets home from school) but also able to lend a hand or ear to those friends and family who need it (phone calls, taking a meal over to someone, etc.), not to mention be here for my husband. ALSO, I think the fact that I lost my mom to cancer also has something to do with it…. I want to be sure I spend as much time with my daughter as I can and not be too busy with “things” and “stuff” that I (or she) will regret it later. Yes, I’m sure a lot has to do with the fact that my mom is gone and my daughter never got to meet her grandma. Time is precious… we should not waste it.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks Courtney for the reminder. I get exasperated many times when I don’t get enough “me” time. Yes, my daughter loves it when I spend time with her. When I come home from work she insists that she wants a break from studies to talk to me while I drink my tea. It’s very important to her. She likes to listen to stories about my childhood and wants to talk and talk while I don’t have enough time or I feel she doesn’t have enough time away from her studies, but I tend to forget that time spent with her also is important.

  13. Lisa Richards says:

    Hi , we have just moved from rural Wales where we had the beach just down the road, so can REALLY relate! We now live in Rochdale in England so my daughter can go to college as we have just finished our HS journey. I have 3 daughters and a son so our time together is so very precious as they are all growing up so fast and are now 19,16,11 and 5. Every second we have together feels like grains of sand just falling through my fingers and I just want to treasure every second and make LOTS of memories. I think when they are away from us and all grown up, that is what will draw them home where they know they are loved and had happy days. That is why I soooo enjoyed this post. Living back in the city
    now I really have to stop myself in this new and very opposite world to Wales and remember to slow down and make those memories before it is too late. Like the blink of an eye our children are grown up and we only have now to love them and show them Jesus.
    God bless
    Lisa ( A South African family who lives in the UK, and really enjoys your blogs)

  14. Dear Courtney, it is just the other way round in our family. I want it slow but my little girls, 7 and 5, press on and on: what’s next, Mom? What are we going to do now, where are we going, what next, what next… And I have the feeling we never stop to look at something anymore and we never talk anymore. When I make us stop and sit and look they sort of throw a fit and fly to their rooms. I am alone with sitting and looking and wanting to talk. *sigh* I know I SHOULD throw that TV out for some weeks and have mor of our garden and less outings. But I am so weary of the “princesses” and me beating myself up because I let them. It is not going well at the moment. I have to pray more.

    I hope when summervacation time comes around in july with no school (we cannot homeschool in Germany), less of friends and less of stress we will get closer again.

    • I’ve had a similar situation with my daughter aged 9 (my son 12, NEVER has trouble slowing down :-) ) but I think that just as we sometimes forget how to slow down so do they and school definitely makes that worse! They spend all day being moved on from one activity to the next cramming curriculum into their day….don’t get me started on the problems of school!
      But persevere, if they see you enjoying a book or some quiet craft time with ALL electrical off limits, they do slowly come round and it’s so fabulous when it happens! Keep trying, keep praying and I’m sure you’ll find each other :-)

    • kristin says:

      Dear huppicke, I hear your heart and I understand! Let me encourage you to begin afresh by taking some time just walking and enjoying the outdoors together when the girls arrive home from school. They may not find it all that exciting in the beginning, and maybe even complain, but after getting used to the idea they will probably start “seeing” the creation all around them, discovering all sorts of things. You can point things out to them and even sit down on a bench or the grass and chat for a few minutes and ask them an open-ended question like, “Tell me about something that happened to you at school today.” Incorporate reading an interesting chapter of a chapter book about subjects they’re interested in and read a chapter at your mid-way stop each day. How fun would that be?! They will probably be dying to know what happens next in the story. I’m sure you’re doing a super job with your girls. Everyone has rough moments. They will come around if you continue to pray and persevere. :)

  15. Sheila Cristófano Johnson says:

    Dear Courtney,
    Thank you so much for this beautiful/important reflection… You are so write when you said that words is always rushing. If we don’t stop to say “no” to the opposite world, we will be pushed with them and this “necessities” to be cool!

    My little girl is just 3 months old and I felt already on this rushing with her.
    Im already thinking about how I’m going to be in the future with her (and hopefully, with other children) as the others steps come… And I pray that my children may said “the best mom ever” too! ;)

    Thank you for this encouragment!
    God keep blessing you as a mom, wife and at your ministry.

    Hugs and love*

  16. This really hit home. It was a reminder that I definitely needed to hear.

  17. Sometimes we must say no to “the good” in order to make time for “the best.”

    Thanks for this reminder today!

  18. Roseanne says:

    The quote from your friend really fits me to a T. I need to run to the arms of Jesus and give Him my pain intead of wallowing in it.

  19. Exhale….a wonderful reminder for us to be present with our kids! We spend our summer mostly in our neighborhood (lake, pool, a couple friends). We leave for church on Sunday and get groceries while we’re in town. I do keep a handful of activities at times when my 4 & 8 yr old need a more structures period. If love to hear from others on fun activities at home!

    Btw we will spend a few weeks in Ohio…our absolute favorite is our time at lakeside riding bikes for the week!!! Love summer with my family!

  20. Our lives are a little backward because my husband does lawn care and landscaping for a living so we do vacation and more relaxing things in the winter. Our summer is probably too busy this year. We have some opportunities that we did not have in years past so we are taking advantage of them. However, after reading your post I am looking at our schedule and reworking it to have some do nothing days. I want to have time to just let things happen with my sons. That is after all when our most sweet and tender moments happen. When we bond the most and when I learn what is most important to them. Thank you for this post. It was timely for me.

  21. Ouch Courtney – you just stepped on my toes!! It was just last night evening i saw my daughter jumping on her trampoline and I thought I really should go jump with her. But I continued doing what I was doing – thanks for this post.

  22. Stefani says:

    What a great reminder! Recently turned down a paid ministry opportunity because of this very reason. My husband feared my boys would take a back seat to the intense hours I’d work. I really wanted to do something BIG for God and this ministry was definitely that. However, once I was still enough to ask God for guidance the more He impressed in me that I have never really atopped, slowed downamd put my family first. I’ve only been a stay at home mom two years and realized I was still busy as if I was working.

    I also realized it took more faith for me to stop, surrender my time to God and my family than it would to live in a house with 8 troubled teen girls! After prayer my husband and I agreed for me to stay home and JUST be there. I feel so much peace knowing I will look back in years to come and WON’ say, “Gee wish I woulda worked more.”

  23. Love this post! I try to do too much.

  24. I have to schedule my slowing down….which seems counterproductive to the spontaneousness of kids, but if I don’t schedule it then we are too “busy” to slow down. It may be sad, but it works. Sometimes it looks like “fun with kids” written in my planner and I let them lead what they want me to do with them and other times I plan opportunites for slowing down and enjoying each other. This was a great post!

  25. I struggle with slowing down daily! I try to get everything on my plate done, so I can get to the moment where I can enjoy the moment! But that moment never comes because more is added to the plate! I have 4 sons, 3 of whom still live at home and are teens, and I always thought that once they were older and more independent then I would have LOTS of time, but this has proved to be the contrary. My time is always filled with other tasks, but as I once heard, We are as busy as we want to be! That is very true. I don’t have to have everything perfectly done and checked off to sit and just be! I need to discipline myself to do so. As my children are growing older and leaving the home I realize that all those little moments that were there that I did take advantage of has filled my heart and memories with little treasures. And Those are the moments they remember as well. And all the many times I did not take the time to enjoy or cherish because I had to do ONE MORE THING, are gone forever. Today is the day the Lord has made, Let us REJOICE and BE GLAD in it! Not zoom past it! Thank you so much for this series and all of your series, you have filled my life with hope and light, my husband and I greatly enjoy it.

  26. Steffanie says:

    Courtney, you hit the nail on the head! This post was just for me! As I am reading this, I thought of the TO DO LIST that I had not made more than ten minutes ago. Here it is starting my first full week of summer vacation and I feel like I have to keep moving, cleaning, shopping, errands, etc. Anyway, you are so right! Yesterday, was a day my husband and two friends simply did just took in God’s beautiful creation on our boat here in Charleston. Then driving back our tire on the trailer blew and we did not have a spare tire! What a way to end the day, but through it all we had the encouragement of our friends, fellowshipped with them, and a loving God who helped us all get back home. We definitely were made to “slow down” yesterday, and I can see that God was with us through it all and kept us safe. You’re right! We need to slow down and enjoy God’s beautiful earth and life He has given us.

  27. The timing of this is just perfect!! My family and I leave for the beach this Friday morning and as the planner that I am, I’ve already caught myself planning all kinds of “got to do” things. I so love the reminder this gave me to above all MAKE TIME for just relaxing and enjoying my husband and girls!!

    I also love how you shared those times the “best mom in the world” title comes out!! My girls are the same way…when I agree to just lay on my bed with them, turn on the music and have what we call “hugs and tickles time”…well, I get that “best mom ever” title EVERY TIME!! Love, love those times and it saddens me how there have been several times I passed up those opportunities so I could get one more load of laundry done or those dishes washed, etc… Praise God for the new fresh opportunities since then to make the RIGHT choice and answer with a “yes”! =)

  28. This really hits home! We are always rushing, but for what? Thanks for all the encouragement!

  29. Thank you for the reminder, as we’ve just begun summer break and our calendar for the next 2 months has something or 3 things scheduled every day! And I wonder how I will get my errands done, the house clean, everything on my to do list with 3 little ones in tow. I can’t wait for our vacation in July when I can relax without feeling guilty. I love having my kids home all summer, but I do get overwhelmed at times trying to keep up with the housework, cooking, church work, and allowing the kids to have fun experiences each day.

  30. mreeanne says:

    Growing up my mom would ALWAYS say, “I’m too tired,” to anything I wanted to do. I would ask her to play a game- “I’m too tired.” I would ask her to play frisbee- “I’m too tired.” I would ask her to go for a walk- “I’m too tired.” Finally in frustration I snapped, “OK, let’s walk to the mailbox!” The response was, “I’m too tired.” Looking back she was probably depressed, but as a kid all I knew was that she was simply “too tired” to spend any time with me.

    I do not want my kids to remember me as being “too tired” or “too busy.” So I purposely schedule family time- taking the kids to the splash pad, game night, going skating… The activity doesn’t matter as much as spending time together and having fun. They love it when I join in on their fun- watergun fights, kicking a ball around, or even better getting down on the floor and playing with them.

    For some reason I do have a hard time getting down on the floor and playing with Lego or my daughter’s dollhouse. Yet, this simple play is what makes them the happiest. I am working on joining in on their fun more.

  31. This is wonderful and much needed. God bless.

  32. Cindy Thornton says:

    I loved this story. My kids are grown and many times I wished that I had slowed down. I was a single mom so I had it all to do. Now I have grandbabies and a niece that are a big part of my life. I try and slow down with them. Thanks for reminding me of that precious time that only last for a short time.
    God Bless you

  33. I stopped reading blogs for awhile, due to lack of time, but yours kept popping up in my head. So I decided to see what you were up to and you have no idea just how much I needed to hear this…at this exact moment.

    THANK YOU!

  34. Wow! Thank you for this. As a pastor’s wife and a person wired to be constantly on the go I am constantly reminded (usually by my husband) to stop and embrace where we are and enjoy the moment. I am learning and enjoying the moments. Thank you for being real and transparent in all your posts it means so much!

  35. Michelle says:

    Society puts a great deal of pressures on working mothers like myself. After I am gone all day at the office, then I have to do all the cooking, meal-prep for next day, and cleaning that stay-at-home moms have all day to do. Not to mention bathing kids, homework, and trying to squeeze in a conversation with my husband every now and then. I am not complaining about my family, it is just that sometimes I feel quilty if I have to work late and instead of baking a home cooked meal, we grab a pizza. Or if my laundry piles up for a couple days. I don’t have time to exercise. I have no time for friendships even. I don’t have the luxury to be a stay at home mom, as my family needs my income and health benefits. Life is hard. It is constant go-go-go. Thank you for the post to remind me to try to find ways to slow down.

    • Oh, Michelle- Just had to respond because I think we have the same life. These same thoughts run through my head all the time. Sometimes, when I hear “Slow down,” or “Enjoy these moments with the kids- they go so fast!”, it almost just feels like more pressure or one more thing on the to-do list. Where do I find that time, though? Who do I say no to? Who do I disappoint? Do I not wash laundry or sippy cups tonight? Do I tell my daughter I couldn’t pack a lunch for her because I was playing Legos with my son? Do I tell my husband there’s no clean underwear because I was playing Barbies with my daughter? Do I say there’s no dinner prepared because I wanted to sit down and read a magazine or call a friend for twenty minutes after work instead? People say I’m overscheduled, but whose activity goes on the backburner? Do I not try to squeeze in all the different Mother’s Day celebrations for moms, grandmas, in-laws, etc? It goes on and on, and each choice leaves me with a guilty feeling when I say no to someone or don’t complete a task that I feel was my responsibility. Usually, I can’t choose someone or something else, so I cut myself out of any sort of downtime/me-time/sleep and wind up feeling tired and resentful. I know that isn’t right, but it is hard to make choices that will disappoint someone or leave something that seems vital undone. But, I know that my sense of responsibility robs me of joy. Sometimes, I’m sad at the end of the day that my completed to-do list has come at the cost of playing one more game with the kids or taking twenty minutes to do something fun for myself. No one will remember how awesome Mom was because she kept that laundry system moving or always had a fresh set of sheets on the bed- they’ll remember how awesome Mom was because she played games and built forts and read stories… but that’s a tough place to take solace in when no one has clean underwear or socks or shorts for tomorrow! Argh… such a balancing act. Hopefully, the slower pace this summer will help us take a breather and worries less about the have-to things and more about the want-to things. I did play Operation with the kids on the floor for an hour today, and I didn’t even have to take an Advil after listening to that obnoxious buzzer over and over. Little victories! :)

      • Katie & Michelle….I am in the same boat…..I love this Opposite World series that Courtney is doing….but reading this, I cried….I felt so much pressure immediately. I work 40 hours a week, with a 2 hour commute every day..so by the time I get home….(my husband has been on 2nd shift), we start homework, I cook, we eat, I’m trying to clean up and pack up left overs so my husband will have something to eat when he comes in at night, then it’s shower time and bed time….by that time they are wanting me to read stories and I know, I know, I know….I need to slow down and take time, but most nights I’m so exhausted and just ready to sit down and veg out….and have some down time…..I hear all these sahm’s saying that dishes and laundry can wait….but if mine wait, they’ll never get done because I literally have a couple of hours a night…and my husband is super helpful, but he isn’t home much either…and unfortunately my income is needed in our household….I envy sahm’s….I want to be one, and have wanted to for years…..I have so much guilt hovering over me every day because I work…..I love my children, but I’m EXHAUSTED! I want to enjoy my time with my kids, but just to be honest, I don’t always…and the other night we got home from vbs and it was time to take showers and get in bed, my daughter asked me to paint toenails and I told her it would take too long…and she said well we can do our fingernails, I’m really good at it, and I said let’s do it tomorrow night…..WOW….I feel like the worst mom in the world…..I missed such a great opportunity just to have time with her, and I threw it away….that is NOT how I want to be and NOT how I want her to remember our time together, that mom never had time for her….I am praying about this….trying to take 1 day at a time and a lesson learned…

        • Adrienne says:

          As a mom who has done both, I really feel for you ladies. I have so been there!!! What helped me the most was to ignore every voice except God’s. Let God lead you in how you should spend your time. Learn to relax and let go of perfection and let him help you decide how to use your time. No you CANNOT do it all. God does not expect you to do it all. He knows we are weak and have limited energy. You ARE NOT the worst mom in the world! God was very clear that he wanted me to work outside the home and I’m so glad I did because it was following his lead. Your path is not the same as Courtney’s path or my path. You have to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. God gave you these children and He has also given you everything you need to be their mother. If you are tired, pray for energy. If you are overwhelmed, pray for peace. Lift it up to God that you know you are weak, that you are not superwoman, but that is okay because it is through our weakness that we find God’s strength and draw upon it!

  36. I enjoy the information on your web sites. Thank you so much.

  37. Monica S says:

    So true. We try not to every schedule sports during summer cause it’s our play time :) I tend to rush as well and I too am trying to focus on playing with the kids more and hurrying less. Thanks for the reminder :)

  38. This is the perfect article for the beginning of the summer. Although I no longer have young children…they’re grown now, that opposite world that you wrote about still has a magnetic pull. I love the term you used for it….”Opposite World”. May I borrow it? It so perfectly describes the difference between the environment that God wants us to live in and the world that seeks to draw us in with distractions and despair. Thanks so much for sharing this great piece!

  39. Thanks for the great reminder Courtney. This is sooooo important, but so very hard to do! BTW, I am loving Jeannie Allen’s book that you recommended, “Anything”, Thanks for the recommendation!

  40. I absolutely LOVE your “{In Opposite World}” series. All the truths you are pointing out are so critical to our day and age, our society, our faulty mindset. Thank you for sharing what God shares with you!

  41. I love this post!

  42. I can so relate to this w my 3 yr old who wants help me do everythg it takes me twice as long to get anythg dn or he will want me to drop everythg and play w him and I just want to get everythg o n my list dn so I can have the rest of the day to do fun stuff. Lol I know I will miss these days. One day

  43. Lorelie says:

    Love this post:):) I am the opposite! (not opposite ‘world’, haha, just opposite). I LOVE to stay relax and love when classes (be it swimming or church kid’s programs etc) come to an end! We live on about 80 acres so we live a very slow and relaxing life. The only thing wrong with it is that I eat too MANY fudgicles;)

  44. Kelly(@RNCCRN9706) says:

    My son is 9. He has one activity at a time, usually all sports. We tried Boy Scouts for a month& he didn’t like it. He doesn’t want to learn piano either so no running to lessons. I also work full-time outside our home but 3rd shift. I’m an RN and people are always getting sick, someone has to watch over them at night. Day shift puts me into sensory overload. Too many people hovering around the nurses station. Doctors, medical students, ancillary staff like physical therapists, dietitians, social workers…it just got to be too much. Night shift has less staff on duty at night but we make up for that in teamwork.

    Looking forward to meeting you in two months!! You and Sheila Wray Gregoire have been such an inspiration to me over these last two years. More than you’ll ever know! May God continue to bless you and yours!

  45. Adrienne says:

    LOVE this! I am new to the stay at home mom thing after working full time since my daughter was born and it will probably be temporary, but I am loving slowing down and enjoying every moment with my daughter. I am trying to really listen to what she says and learning what she enjoys. I am learning what a blessing it is to be able to sit down with the whole family to dinner and actually eat together. I think people enjoy out-doing each other with how many events/things they can squeeze into their weekends and in actuality, we are exchanging people/relationships for busyness. Thanks for your wonderful ministry! You have made a difference in my life and I’m sure in the lives of so many others.

  46. I so enjoyed reading this Courtney!! I have started a new business at home but lately have been feeling guilty for not focusing on my God and my family like I should. I now have been trying to take time out to read the Bible more, read to the kids more, go for a swim and jump on the trampoline (which also makes my son’s day). It is very rewarding when I spend more time with them more so than any of the bows or other items I make. I don’t want to look back and say I should have spent more time with them when they were younger and I should have talked and listen to God and my husband more. Thank you so much for encouraging us to follow God’s guidance to slow down than to follow the world’s view of “you have to stay busy”.

  47. Praise God! This post blessed the socks off of me and my spirit was in total agreement! My husband recently went to India for 10 days on a mission trip and with him being gone and me being at home with the our precious daughter The Lord reminded me about how lovely it is to slow down and be thankful for every moment!!! Well said!!!

  48. Thanks for this post! I think about this daily as my youngest child will be headed to kindergarten in the fall and I know that I am going to have so much “me time.” I want my life to slow down so much but it seems to pick up speed each year, and I feel helpless sometimes to slow it down! :(

  49. Courtney~ This is such a great series you are bringing to us and this message really hit me. I often have my own agenda for how things should go and taking the time to slow down and simply “be” is difficult for me. Thank you for your sweet and gentle reminder!

  50. Great post Courtney. It’s amazing what we can learn from our children. The simple yet vital concepts of life. I think a lot of moms may shy away from down time for fear of feeling lazy. I know I am guilty of that! But the truth is we all need to stop and “smell the roses”, and enjoy life with our families. The time goes by too fast.

  51. Treasure says:

    Still one day of school to go here-but last night swimming in a friends pool and tonight a trip to the lake I’m so looking forward to how many times we can just go swimming and play as a family! Also looking forward to lots of movies and popcorn and BOARD GAMES!!!!!!!

  52. Busy was an understatement. I felt like a drill sergeant or traffic manager, keeping kids moving and going and doing what they needed to get done. I recently had surgery, and cannot do anything. ANYTHING. After 2 weeks, I realized I was grumpy because I couldn’t do what I wanted. I’m asking God to change my heart, blind my eyes to the household messes, and open my eyes to the treasures in my 4 beautiful kids.

  53. I recently found this site and loved reading about slowing down. Stay at home moms and working moms need to find some time for family. I am a stay at home mom and believe it or not, felt guilty for staying home when my kids were small. Almost every other mother I knew was working and I felt lazy for not doing more. However, I’m so glad I was able to be home with them. I just wish I hadn’t felt the need to please others. I was constantly trying to take on volunteer work just to be able to say I was doing something other than being a wife & mother. I really wish I could have relaxed more. I was the one just like the story of the walk on the beach, not wanting to take the time to stop. I’m still trying to learn that God is the only one I need to please! Thanks for this great website, Courtney.

  54. Thank you for sharing this! It’s so hard to not get wrapped up in the go, go, go of this world and forget to enjoy each moment God has given us; especially special moments with our loved ones. I’m trying to savor every second I have with my 3-month-old son and my husband! The nights may be sleepless most of the time, but these are days we can never get back once they’ve passed.

  55. This really blessed me so!!! I agree with you, but just need to hear it again from time to time. My Mom was amazing at this… Time slowed down with her while growing up. I want my kids to experience the same things with me! :)
    Blessings,
    Leslie

  56. I have only recently found your blog, and I enjoy it. I appreciate your genuineness as sometimes I get discouraged reading blogs because it feels like they have it all together with their recipes and crafts and perfect family activities. This post really hit home for me. I fell like I am always in a hurry, yet what am I rushing toward? No matter how much I do the to do list never seems to get any smaller. Thanks fkr the reminder to be more intentional with my kids!

  57. Every mom needs to read this. The frenetic pace at which we live our lives makes us run when we need to sit, react when we need to reflect, and chase after a finish line that never seems to stay put. Thank you for sharing this message with weary moms everywhere. God bless

  58. Love, love , love this post.!!!

  59. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 29. I lost my thyroid the week after my 30th birthday and since then it’s been a rollercoaster of radiation, another pregnancy, trying to get my thyroid hormones balanced just right so that I have the energy to just get out of bed and take care of 2 little boys. This year I was off my medicine for 10 weeks which means I was without a normal energy level and felt very sick for a totally of 6 months because it takes 6 weeks for the medicine to begin working full force and then my dose wasn’t high enough anymore so I had to up it and wait another six weeks. On top of that we had just finished a six month deployment..so I’ve pretty much been bone tired exhausted for the past year and we don’t even do any outside activities..lol. As my kids enter school age and we begin our own official homeschooling journey, I can easily get caught up in all the things we “should” be doing, the things my brothers and friends have their kids doing and I often feel like we aren’t measuring up. Then God reminds me that my body just can’t handle that level of “doing” and the very best thing I can “do” is to snuggle with my boys and read a book or lay outside on a blanket and watch the clouds roll past. My cancer was a gift in that it taught me to buck expectations and slow down. Life is far too short.

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