Do you feel pulled?
I think we all feel pulled, tugged, and frazzled by distractions.
You know. Laundry. Work. Ministry. Kids. Friends. To-do lists. Bills. Social media. All of the things we wish we were doing, and all of the things we are already doing.
Many of you know that I’m a cancer survivor. When I first heard the words, “You have stage 2B cancer,” I was in the busiest stage of my life. I didn’t really spend a lot of time thinking about my distractions that day. Instead, I looked into the face of the guy I loved, and I started thinking about how much time I hoped to spend with him. I held my children close, hoping I’d see them grow up.
25 years have passed since that time.
9,125 more days than I thought I’d have.
Other than the scars I still carry, the one thing I took away from that time was that people matter. We will always be busy. We will always have a list of things to do, but in the end it’s people that mean the most.
If you joined me on Encouragement for Today, I shared a story about engaging in my own life. I talked about how quickly time passes, and how we battle to engage with those we love.
To be present.
Today, I want to share 10 ways we treasure those precious moments, even in our busiest seasons.
1. Take off our forever glasses
The Bible calls our days a mere “handbreadth” (Psalm 39:5). That can sound like a downer, but it’s not. We don’t have to treasure every second, or make every day special. We simply understand that this day — the one we are in right now — is a gift.
2. Give more weight to people than my phone
“My phone is my life.”
I’ve said that. Tongue in cheek. It’s my calendar. It’s my connection to editors and ministry leaders and email. Texts and notifications keep me on task. It’s my library. It has a lot of cool apps. I can check 10 different news sources with one glance. I can follow up with friends and do ministry using social media.
But it’s not my life.
My life is the people around me. When we create an intentional no-technology zone between us and the people we love, it says, “I appreciate you more than this small, suck-my-time-away device I’m holding in my hand.”
3. Pray for them
There’s power in prayer. I believe that. I know it to be true. Pray for the people you love daily. Put a picture on your visor or bathroom mirror. Whisper their name every time you see it.
4. Tell them
I don’t think that affirmation is my gift. When people say really awesome things about me, I take in stride. Yet sincere words from those closest to me land in my heart.
When my grown child says, “Mom, you make me feel safe,” I hold those words close. When my close friend, Pam, pushes past the crowd and says, “I was hoping I’d see you today,” I feel treasured.
Be specific. Sincere. Point out a quality that you love about that person. Let them know that their presence makes you happy.
Sometimes words aren’t needed, or we don’t have the right words and that’s ok. Touch them. A hug (if they are a hugger). Your hand in theirs. Sit close. A touch on the shoulder.
6. Text them
My husband has started texting me for no reason. It’s a couple of words — “love you.” Or an emoji. There’s no other reason than to check in. The other day we flirted by text. I loved it. Who knew that sweet texts could make such a difference.
Send encouragement to a friend, or a family member by text. Short, sweet. Uplifting. Let them know that you are thinking of them.
7. Make time
I have an appointment on my calendar that says, “teeth cleaning.” I’m not going to let anything interrupt that; after all, it’s on the calendar. It’s important.
Put time on the calendar for that one. It might be a half hour. It might be a bike ride on a beautiful spring afternoon. Protect it as much as you would those other things on the calendar that aren’t near as precious.
8. Turn it off
If the TV has been the third “voice” in the room for a while, start turning it off. Take a walk. Play a game. Just be with each other.
Years ago I wrote a book titled, Real Teens: Real Issues: What Every Parent Needs to Know. I polled hundreds of teens about a number of topics. I asked them the one thing they wish they could tell their parents. Many of them said they wished their parent(s) would laugh more. They saw them laughing with other people. They knew they were capable. They wanted it in their own relationship with their parent.
Remember that there’s a light-hearted person who once used to live in you. Invite her back into your life.
10. Slow down
I was talking with a friend and she said, “I struggle to turn down the good things, because I’m afraid they won’t be there if I don’t.”
Then she shared the price she pays for saying yes to all of them. It seemed really high.
Sure, God has good things for you and for those you love.
But not every job is our job. Not every single opportunity needs to be seized. Not every activity needs to be on the calendar. I know there are seasons where it’s hard to slow down, but let’s say no where it makes sense.
I don’t know about you, but this takes work on my part.
To breath a little deeper. Linger a little longer. Rest a little more. Not only will those we care about appreciate this slowed-down version of their mom/wife/friend/ sister/daughter, but taking a deep breath every once in a while is a gift to us, too.
- Read Suzie’s Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today devo, “Engaging In Our Own Lives.”
- Join me next Monday, March 6th in our newest 21-Day Adventure: Living a Life of Thank You! All you have to do is subscribe to this blog, and you will be included. I can’t wait!
- Free chapter of Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads