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.
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.
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…
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.
“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?