Busyness is an illness of the spirit – Eugene Peterson
I have never known the peace in stillness until I needed it the most. It can feel disastrous, at best, knowing deep down that you need to stop working so much: stop trying to be the prettiest, the best at your job or grinding your gears for internal status-seeking. I can be utterly addicted to my to-do list. However, in recognizing Easter Weekend this Sunday, in the midst of a world health crisis (trigger warning), I realized that it is OKAY to be imperfect.
That is the point of God’s grace. For me, I’ll run circles around myself – folding clothes, researching new topics in psychology, online shopping, tending to things, running the dishwasher, putting on a new face mask – that I never just have the time to breathe & enjoy the present moment.
Finding the inability to stay present on the one day God has asked us to be still, feels ironic. Which brings me, literally, to the heart of the conversation, slowing down to face God is an act of love.
Am I loved?
Does someone see me?
Am I safe?
We can fool ourselves by believing we are living in God’s grace when we are constantly in motion. You can make a drug out of any addiction – a way to anesthetize yourself – binge-watching television, dieting, cleaning, having sex, shopping. They all work to help numb the pain of inadequacy for a little while, all while isolating you. I think there is an awakening that takes place the moment you recognize the grace of God. The grace in which God has created a world full of unconditional love. One that shares and celebrates the unique experiences of every human being. A world that does not judge based on a letter grade.
To pause, reflect and discern is an act of self-love.
Spending our lives racing on the highway can lead to an ultimate collision. An ethical and moral collision of the human body, mind, and spirit. God taught me this a year ago. I was rushing to pursue my Ph.D. and make it to a client’s appointment. I was all consumed with being good enough for academia, that I literally crashed my car and experienced a head-on collision.
Pausing to enjoy what we have built-in spite of feeling incomplete can be highly rewarding. In retrospect, the word that has changed everything for me is – I’m okay (not exceptional, just okay). People love it when you are always proving something of yourself and proving something of yourself can be something of a false prophet. But on a deeper level, it is okay to just be okay (even if it is for a moment).
It is an act of bravery to stop speeding down the highway of life, pull over the car and look up towards the mountains. Slowing down this Easter Sunday has helped me put into perspective what truly matters despite my academic success, my writing or my status in society.
It has reminded me to take care of myself and to just be okay.