Slow Down

It looked like a party had erupted in the backseat of my van.  Rainbow sprinkles and shiny mica were everywhere... it's a good day when you arrive home from the beach with sand between your toes and ice cream stains on your shirt.

It was no small feat loading six children into the van this morning and all of the beach paraphernalia, however it was worth every moment once we laid the blanket down onto the white sand and savored the day.  Sand, sun, laughter, waves, memories, family... all intertwine to make a beautiful day.

Why is it so hard to slow down... to savor?

It takes time.  It takes work, to actually relax.  It is something I find I have to force myself to do in this frenetic culture that is constantly trying to keep us going, going, going.  But oh, the freedom, in the slow and steady.  

Once I was out on the sand with the waves and laughter of my children as the music in my ears, I could unwind.  No distractions pulling at me.  The pile of dishes, basket of unfolded laundry, and to-do list were miles and miles away.  All I had was what was in front of me... six precious faces, delighted to be at the beach.

We built sandcastles and memories, collected sea shells and stories, soaked up sun and each other's smiles, and just enjoyed being together.

 We had no agenda other than to be. 

Far too often I have been guilty of living this life as if it is a schedule to keep rather than a journey to enjoy.  A constant motion of doing this thing and then the next, checking off my list, keeping an eye on the clock and for what... to do it all again the next day.  Where is the joy?  I felt like I was missing out on my life because of all the stuff I had to do.

Jesus said
 "I came to give you life and give it more abundantly". 
 (John 10:10)  

This rushing around being frantic with activity was not what He was referring to.  So much of what I have been learning about the Lord (and myself) over the past few years have come when I was STILL.  My mouth was shut, my eyes were closed, and my mind was just focused on Him, on His love for me.  And in those moments I have felt fully alive.  I can face my day refreshed and focused on what is truly important and when the urgent comes with it's demands, I can ignore them and choose what is best.... 

 What is best for me is not going to be what is best for you.  You need to take time and decide that for yourself but I think I can safely say that what is best, is not what is busiest.  Busyness distracts us from what really matters... it is the "thief that comes in the night to steal, kill and destroy"( John 10:10).  The days may feel long but in reality, the years are short  and at the end of it all we will be wishing we could have more time.  More time to spend with those we love, more time to do something we enjoy, more time to share memories, to laugh, to savor, to bless others....

Reality hit me like a stone as I watched my children playing in the waves.  My oldest is fifteen, he is driving, taking chemistry, and writing a novel and yet it seems like just yesterday he was tugging on my apron asking to help me bake cookies.  He is taller than I am now... oh how quickly the years go by and if I am not careful, I will miss it.  My toddler giggled beside me as he buried his feet in the sand, his baby sister next to him with a shovel, happily eating the very same sand.  The big boys were splashing in the waves while the Princess lovingly built a sandcastle where the waves could not destroy it.

As the sun was setting and  we walked back to the van I looked over my shoulder at the beach, scanning to make sure we hadn't left anything.  All that was left behind was our footprints in the sand...

Where are you leaving your footprints today?  Are you caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life?  Is there an opportunity where you can just slow down today and savor the present?

Savoring the simple,