When Joy Slips In

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What if I told you making the most of your time isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?  At least, not in the way you and I often carry it out.  Especially those of us who are task oriented. We see what needs to be done, and we don’t stop until it’s done. Until we can mark it off our to-do list, we are not satisfied.  And that’s a good thing -until it becomes the only thing that matters.

When we become so bent on the task at hand that we lose sight of what, or who, is more important, we have a problem. We rush from here to there, barely noticing the beauty around us. We take for granted the blessings strewn throughout our day, assuming they’ll always be there. We run full speed from the moment we crawl out of bed until we finally collapse into it again.

I fear we’ve forgotten how to relax. I fear we’ve forsaken purposeful living, burying it beneath the busyness of mediocrity. I fear we’ve mistaken success for joy.

All for the sake of accomplishing more.

Thinking back on my younger years, I don’t recall an issue with relaxing. My to-do list felt manageable, even if it wasn’t cleared every day. Lying around in the evening reading a book seemed the perfect way to pass time.

Fast forward a few years to a home bustling with children. As the number of children increased, so did the stack of commitments and responsibilities – some were necessary, many were not.  Leisure took a nose dive.

Like most mothers, my to-do list grew to massive proportions. I was exhausted. I became all about doing what had to be done, packing as much productivity into each day as possible. Doing something simply for pleasure didn’t fit well into this perspective.

Recently, I’ve challenged myself to rediscover the treasure of rest, of relaxing, of fun. I’m re-watching classic movies, enjoying time with my children as I do so. I’m reading fiction again! It may be only a chapter every few days, but I’m slowly chipping away at it. I didn’t realize how much I had missed it.

I’m making it a point to sit more. To play that game of checkers with my six year old. To watch a movie with my teenagers. To make a quick, unplanned dash into town with my husband. To hug my grandbabies. To grab lunch with a friend. Seemingly little things, but in reality, not little at all.

Making time for these small pleasures unites me with joy.  In the midst of my busy. In the thralls of my overwhelm. There is joy.

Sweet friends, you and I both know there will always be something that needs doing.

Don’t do as I’ve done so many times. Don’t confuse making the most of your time with an all-work-and-no-play mentality, and please, oh please, don’t wait for a shorter to-do list.

Make it happen now!

Incorporate a bit of pleasure in the middle of your to-do, and as you do so, notice how joy slips in, lessening the weight of it all.

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