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Too Much Space?

Many of us find ourselves saying things in 2020 we might not have ever anticipated saying. Hearing people say, “I miss going into the office!” would have been unusual in any other year but makes complete sense in 2020. And, I never thought I would hear my kids say, “I can’t wait to go back to school!” with such conviction.

One of the phrases I keep hearing sounds something like this, “I just don’t know what to do with all this down time.” For years, many of us have been moving at an unhealthy pace hoping for the day when we might have a moment to catch a breath. And now that we have some space, we are all so conditioned to the go-go-go pace of our typical lives we don’t know what to do with margin. Ironically, many of us find ourselves just as anxious in the slower pace as we were when we were moving at 100 miles-per-hour trying to cram more into a day than we had time or energy for. If you find yourself experiencing some of this restlessness, here are some ideas to consider:

  1. EXTEND YOURSELF GRACE | We have spent years conditioning our bodies, brains, and souls to adapt to an unhealthy pace. Just like a person shifting from years of unhealthy eating to a healthy diet, we should anticipate a season of detox. Give yourself some time to adjust to new rhythms. And keep in mind others are going through these same adjustments as well. It would be good to extend those around you grace as well.

  2. EMBRACE THE DISCOMFORT | If this is a season of detox, it will be uncomfortable. This discomfort may serve as evidence that we aren’t self-medicating but working to learn new healthy habits. Instead of trying to ignore or escape the discomfort, be mindful of and thankful when the discomfort is evidence of growth.

  3. GAIN CLARITY | Times of disruption can lead to clarity we may be blind to in the normal routine of life. The disruption of this season can bring focus to what is most important and can reveal what we thought was important but in reality, wasn’t. When you have down-time ask yourself good questions like, “What/who do I miss in this season that surprises me?”, “What/who don’t I miss?”, “What am I thankful for?”

  4. PRAY | In times of disruption and restlessness, one of the worst things we can do is rush to action. Sometimes the best thing is to slow down and seek God’s wisdom. Prayerfully ask God to calm your internal storms and guide your path, remembering God loves you for who you are not what you do. Sometimes the best thing to do when we don’t know what to do is to be still and listen.

  5. REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU AREN’T IN CONTROL, BUT YOU ARE IN CHARGE | One of the great ironies of life is that we try to control what we can’t control and play victim to things we are in charge of. We are not in control of many of the circumstances life throws at us, but we are in charge of how we respond to these realities. We are in charge of our attitude in times of disruption. We get to choose if we will have a heart of bitterness or a heart of gratitude during this season. And while we aren’t in control of when this season will end, we are in charge of whether or not we apply some of the clarity and healthy habits gained during this season to our lives.

So many of us are so ready for 2020 to end that it can be easy to forget each day is a gift. Be willing to slow down, give yourself permission to enjoy the slower, quieter pace, and open yourself to the possibility of growth.

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