Not my 15 minutes of fame.
I’m referring to this post and my desire to be more than a list-checker, more than someone who laments the busy-ness of life.
By the end of this post I’m a little embarrassed. I feel like I should be telling you how busy and productive I’ve been, how many tasks I’ve checked off, and all the systems/gadgets/tricks I’m using to get more done.
Instead I’m telling you how I strengthened my soul by feeding eternity in me – those desires for Christ that manifest themselves in a love of truth, goodness, and beauty.
Here, let me quote myself:
I am talking about doing things that nourish, encourage, motivate, cultivate, and foster a love of the truth, goodness, and beauty that Christ has put in our hearts – the place where He has written eternity.
What kinds of things can we do to grow that place in us, and in turn, how will that grow our love of Christ?
I think I probably do spend 15 minutes on many days doing something soul-strengthening, and I think I am fairly good (maybe too good) at resting. The problem is that I often feel like I’m wasting time if I’m not being “productive”.
I’m a tortoise-type, married to a hare, constantly conflicted with productivity and peace.
Life and kids and my husband’s business and homeschool and sports and church necessitate busy, I suppose. So even I have to find leisure time for my soul, since I can so easily lose my peace to the whims of everyone’s desires and expectations.
Does beauty nourish my soul?
If counting the blessings leads to gratitude, maybe tracking the soul-nourishing moments will lead to peace. Or at least, better perspective.
I read books.
This week I am on three books at once. I will be on the same three books next week, because I am that tortoise. I try to read faster but I think the real problem is that I don’t capture enough 15 minute increments for reading. I wait for long moments and wish for reading-binges that never materialize.
I took a few 15 minute chunks this week to get back to All the Light We Cannot See. I won’t even tell you how long I’ve been reading this book – not because I don’t enjoy it; not because it’s difficult. Just because I am s l o w with books.
I might also have a problem with starting too many books at once, but I like to have a variety so there’s always something to match my mood. I’m reading The Weight of Glory and re-reading Celebration of Discipline.
Is that last one irony, or what?
It was maybe more than 15 minutes.
I went upstairs to deliver a message to my daughter the old-fashioned way (no yelling from the bottom of the stairs; no texting). The bed was unmade. The sun was shining in her window just right.
I had worked outside that morning and gone for a run, and I didn’t mean to but I laid down and it completely sucked me in.
There’s something about the timing of a nap – too long, and I feel awful; too little, and I feel cheated. Thankfully, there was a knock at the door and I was able to free myself from the clutches of a sleep that promised to be too long.
I brought in beauty.
Peonies are my favorite right now. They’re so full and long-lasting and they smell like a rose crossed with a marshmallow.
Soul-strengthening sometimes looks like letting yourself rest or enjoy life in a way that feels indulgent.
I don’t buy the me-first agenda. I don’t honestly believe that I have to put myself and my needs before my family. My needs and the good of my family are wrapped up in One, and living as a whole-person includes serving others and being productive and feeding eternity in all of us.
But I also know that a martyr dies, literally, for their cause, and working to the point of exhaustion makes me feel like I can be a martyr here and now, which makes me grumpy, which sucks the peace of out this beth shalom – this place I want to be a house of peace.
Ask me how I’m doing.
I hope my answer is better than lamenting the busy-ness I choose for myself, and more about choosing those 15 minutes here and there to indulge in the soul-strengthening search for truth, goodness, and beauty.