I’m reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman and I’m still mulling over the significance of Ordinary Time.
I’m seeing it everywhere, and I’m confronted by my own behavior toward it. The perspective that is tilted in my mind to prefer the feeling of significance that comes from busy and hustle.
Even though I don’t like it when hear myself say “I’m overwhelmed,” I like the feeling of importance that being busy brings.
I’m learning to see my days, seasons, and calendar as a means of creating a new perspective on balance.
Busy doesn’t equal important.
In Ordinary Time, I battle against feeling underwhelmed, and I’m beginning to see that this is the most important battle of my life.
Yesterday was not my birthday. It was a normal Monday with the usual activities: no pressing deadlines, holidays, or appointments on the calendar. And I wasn’t feeling my best. Somehow on a day like this, the simple act of sweeping under the table feels like I’m going to have to move a mountain to find the strength, energy, and motivation to get it done.
This is the battle against the underwhelm.
And it’s the worst feeling.
I think I complain far too quickly about being overwhelmed when I have appointments, play dates, errands, and other things to do on my plate in the same day because when all of that is wiped away – and it’s just me and my 3 little people looking at each other all day long – I wonder, what’s the point trying to get anything done? It will all be undone, and the work to get the little things (laundry, dishes, sweeping Cheerios) done again mocks me.
It can feel like I’m in a holding pattern of little, unimportant tasks. I begin to feel from the inside out that I may never get to set my hands to the soul-work that I long for in myself and with others.
I’m too quick to surrender to the lie of the underwhelming – there’s really no reason to try, this day has no meaning anyway. Or the lie that all the busyness is meaningless too. Or the lie that comes in physical form which I can’t put into words – it’s that underlying feeling of empty that begs to be filled with the 3 “CH’s” – chips, chocolate, and champagne – which never fills anyway, it’s just another lie.
This battling or some days – the lack thereof – leaves me with an ache. A pain that has no apparent beginning nor end.
This pain will slow me down. But I’m old enough now to know that the pain doesn’t define me nor does it last forever. And just because hustle feels invigorating, slow doesn’t have to feel discouraging.
I need to practice gentleness with my inner person and in my self-talk. Encouragement is a wonderful thing, right? Why not learn how to clearly encourage the right thoughts, actions, and feelings on days like this.
Learn to honor the slow days.
It seems to me that when I give in to this low state and wait, life always seems to pick up speed again, projects pile onto the To-Do list, the calendar moves on and fills up, and I’m back to the other end of being overwhelmed.
But oh how often I have regretted wasting time during seasons of underwhelm because I couldn’t see clearly through my feelings and the lies.
I’ve decided to balance the underwhelmed feeling by working ahead.
Procrastination may fill me with speed, but it drains me of purpose.
So when the lies creep in that I don’t have significance today because there isn’t anything on my calendar, I can look to my long term goals and baby steps. I need to take break down the projects that aren’t due yet and almost seem silly to work ahead on and start them anyway.
I have to stop hiding when I feel underwhelmed.
Today is the perfect day to set my mind on doing just the next logical thing.
Today is my birthday, I’m thinking ahead to the field trip this Friday, and beginning to plan for a speaking engagement in December.
And the idea of taking a few burdens off my future shoulders is nice too. I’m cutting myself a break, doing a little extra work, sitting to sip an extra chai, and thinking positively about my life.
Right now, in the middle of Ordinary Time, in the face of underwhelming circumstances, I can live balanced, purposeful, and gently.
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