Don’t we all feel the squeeze of time?
Whether it’s hurrying from task to task or just wishing for an hour of solitude, it’s easy to get too “busy.” I say that in quotes because ultimately we bring busyness on ourselves. Right?
I know there are lots of things we need to do to keep life going on a normal, healthy path. Work probably tops this list, whether it’s your job, your own business, or the endless role of being a stay-at-home-parent. Making meals, washing clothes and dishes, paying bills, and dealing with leaves, snow, or unruly lawn (depending on the season) also come to mind. Because my husband and I farm, I understand the urgency certain times or seasons can bring. For us that usually means field work. When we are making hay, we MUST MAKE HAY. It’s ready, and rain is (probably) in the forecast. For planting season or fall harvest the same holds true.
With that background in mind, let me tell you this is not a post to encourage you to shirk responsibility, let your home and family fall apart, or let your job come to ruin.
This is, however, a post to encourage you to make and carve out and fight for the moments you value.
We all have twenty four hours in a day. (If you have more, please see my contact info above and let me in on the details.) We use those hours, and we choose how we feel in those hours. I know I’ve mentioned before I think finding joy is a choice. It doesn’t mean you are always happy, and it certainly doesn’t mean things always go your way. It does mean you look for the good. It means you know you can’t control everything, but you are always in control of how you respond. Carving out moments in each day to find joy and to do what you enjoy also helps you respond better in everything else you do.
I encourage you all to think about what you love to do. Make a list, and ponder over it for a few days. Maybe even a few weeks. How many of these things do you regularly do? Which are most important to you? Do you enjoying playing an instrument or a sport, but it’s been so long since you’ve done it that you almost forgot?
After I got married I have to admit I felt lost for awhile. I loved my husband, but I found myself in a small town with few connections and no friends close by. It was a stark reality after years at a large university where I lived with many friends and had endless opportunity for interaction.
For me, getting connected to a church was important. Not just attending but getting involved. I love God, and giving back through a children’s ministry was just what He had in mind for me. It just took a few years for me to listen to His call on that.
I have played piano since forever, and a few years ago my parents brought my grandma’s old spinet to grace my downstairs. I originally thought I didn’t need it, but I get joy out of those black and white keys even if I don’t play all the time.
Connecting with my family and close friends also gives me joy. Most work can wait if my parents or one of my four sisters needs to talk. I don’t make it to every event, but I rearrange things when at all possible because it’s worth it.
Working seven days a week has its draw backs, but I focus on the mid-day flexibility I usually have, the beautiful sunsets I take in, and the new babies I see every day.
If you are a regular reader, I know you’re waiting for me to mention this next one. I run. I run to see progress and achieve goals. I run because I can. I run because nothing feels better than crunching over gravel on a crisp morning and knowing you are getting stronger with every step. I run even when it feels hard and dreary because bad days are part of reality.
When I started training for 5K’s, then half marathons, then marathons, I didn’t magically have extra hours in my day that needed filling. I knew I needed to find more joy, and I worked around the schedule I had to make that happen. It didn’t even mean cutting out anything major. It involved a little planning and sometimes lost sleep, but it was and still is mostly about being intentional.
At times when we can, JR and I love sitting around with hot cups of coffee just hanging out with our dogs, talking, and soaking up the morning sun through our huge south window. Usually there are 100 other things we “should” be doing, but often they can wait.
I have plenty of other things I want to do, volunteer for, and see, and I hope I can keep incorporating them when the time is right. I don’t have the perfect mix, but I stubbornly insist on finding joy where I’m at anyway.
Remember that list I wanted you to make? Look at the things you wrote, and ask yourself if you’re doing any of them. I hope you can say “yes,” but if you can’t, then ask yourself why. Talk to your spouse, your kids, or your friends, and see if there is a way to make more joy happen.
What helps you find joy? Share it with me in the comments; I’d love to hear!