You will rarely find me sleeping in on the weekend or binge-watching Netflix. I like to stay busy and active, and our culture encourages this hectic lifestyle by glorifying productivity.
Being involved isn’t a bad thing; it keeps me challenged and excited about each new day. Stretching myself too thin and not programming down time, however, leaves me out of touch with life and even my own emotions. I begin to feel overwhelmed and unable to connect with others around me.
I have found that taking a step back allows me to enjoy everything I have going on much more. Thankfully, I’ve been able to make room for a few simple changes that help me—and I hope you—to be more intentional about being still throughout the day.
- Schedule your first appointment of the day with the Lord. Make morning prayer time a habit. Mornings can be busy as we rush to get ready and out the door, so focus on consistency. A few minutes each day is better than one huge chunk of time, which isn’t always feasible. Commit to having a conversation with God every morning and watch how those few minutes can affect your heart for the rest of the day.
- Plan a time every day to refocus. Classes, meetings, chores, jobs, and practices can distract us and leave us feeling overwhelmed. Creating a time to switch gears in the middle of the craziness has helped me refocus for the rest of the day. I use my study hall period at school to read a book that helps me grow in my knowledge of who God is and who I am as God’s child. I curl up on a couch, turn on my favorite praise playlist, tune out my crazy environment, and start learning. If you don’t want to read, you can watch a video, listen to a podcast, discover scripture, or read devozine’s daily devotion after completing homework assignments or before sports practice. Find a time that works for you to stop and refocus in the middle of your day.
- Take a break from social media when needed. When I feel really disconnected from face-to-face relationships and even from myself, I turn off my devices for a little bit. I love technology’s ability to connect me instantly with the world, but sometimes I need to focus on cultivating deeper connections rather than constant, widespread, sometimes superficial ones. Whether it’s one afternoon or a week or more, take as much time away as you need to connect more deeply with those around you.
- Create an intentional time to meet with friends without an agenda. Relationships are built out of spontaneous, honest conversation. You can’t force connections and intimacy; you make room for them. Every week, I meet two of my best friends to talk about life, our prayer requests, and anything else on our hearts. We don’t have a planned agenda; we simply enjoy each other’s presence. Our time together is a highlight of my week because I get to slow down and be real with friends who guide me in my walk with the Lord. Focus on building relationships in the moment; make room for authentic connection to grow by being spontaneous and real.
- Learn how and when to say no. This one is hard for me. I’m quick to agree to fill any need someone presents to me, and my schedule soon overflows. Pick and choose what you’re passionate about so that you can focus your attention on those high priority activities.
Taylor Gerlach, is a freshman at the University of Georgia. When she’s not being still, she loves to compete in CrossFit, swim, play guitar, and find the best taco restaurants.
FEBRUARY 25, 2018
NEXT DAY STRETCH
Listen to “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz. The verses are really fast and chaotic like our lives normally are, but the chorus reminds us to “just breathe; just be” and to rest in the arms of God.