(Written by Jessica Morris)
Stop. That’s just a good word.
It means (according to Merriam Webster.com)…
To cease; to not move, walk, or cause someone/something to not move or walk; to not do something you have done before.
I would love to STOP more.
To STOP moving, walking, or doing things the way I have done “before” or in the past.
STOP being rushed from one meeting to another. STOP checking things off my list, STOP wasting away precious time not focused on what truly matters.
That’s what has helped me to remain present lately. It sounds so simple. It seems so easy to understand. But in reality, it is ridiculously difficult to live in our society. STOPPING is not something us moms are good at. It’s right up there with saying the word, “No.”
Recently, I was able to go out of town with Tommy and Delle (our newly three year old). We spent a weekend outside, in the mountains, STOPPING. Enjoying the amazing weather, celebrating Delle turning 3, and soaking in the precious time we got to spend with her one-on -one.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to be on (or distracted by) my phone, computer, or work emails coming through.
Stopping isn’t easy.
But it’s necessary. It’s required. & It’s needed to be the kinds of people/moms/parents that Jesus is calling us to be.
Why? Because Jesus stopped. Jesus was present. Jesus got out of the daily grind and spent time alone. Time stopping from the hustle and bustle of daily life and ministry.
Luke 5:16 (ESV); But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
He stopped. He went away. He spent time being alone, being with God. So often I find that the better I am at remaining present with God, the better I am at being present with those around me. And the reverses it true as well… the more distracted I am with God, the more distracted I am with others. Funny how that works.
But, how is STOPPING lived… really?
I mean we’ve got work & kids & deadlines & laundry & dinner & cleaning & family & church & drop off’s/pick up’s… how does STOPPING really fit into that?
And to be honest, my answer is not super profound. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. My answer is… I DON’T KNOW. I don’t. Only you do. Only you know how this can work in your daily grind.
BUT, here’s what has worked for me (and it may or may not work for you) and has kept me focused on what’s important.
+ Be intentional when you have time.
For me it’s in the morning. I have this small window of time when I’m up and getting ready and the kids are still sleeping. This is the time I used to drink my coffee, eat breakfast (in peace), and get dressed. Now I spend this time praying and preparing myself for the day. It has made a huge difference in my perspective and how I handle any spontaneous craziness that happens throughout the day.
+ Embrace Plan B (or C, D, E, F).
This is a struggle for me. I HATE plans changing. When babysitters fall through, kids get sick, meetings get canceled/added and the entire shifts to “survival mode.” I wish I was better with this. But recently I have seen God use these little moments to give me small glimpses of his love, joy, sovereignty, and beauty. Last week, I had a day where my entire schedule/plan changed. At first it was stressful and overwhelming but after the “new plan” was made, I discovered I was actually going to get some unexpected time with my girls. And it was in that moment, sitting on my front porch with Hagen, that I was reminded to trust God, be patient with plans and people and to soak in the time I have with those I love. It was a much needed reminder that came when MY plan was thrown out the window and God’s plan was embraced.
+ Get out of the normal grind.
I need this (often). I get in a groove, a routine, a “get it done” mentality and forget to STOP and be intentional with the little moments with the girls (and God). And for me, getting out of this “groove,” this checklist mindset helps me restart. So some days, I throw all the “plans” out the window, and do something fun. I’ve also noticed how this restarts our family as well. It helps us to just enjoy time together and really soak in a fun day. So, every now and again when you sense you need a restart… toss it. Toss your plans, toss your agenda, toss your checklist and be present with your people.
So, that’s what I’m practicing this week. It’s not easy or super profound but it’s helping to remain present with the people that mean the most to me.