I just finished a book by Shauna Niequist called Present Over Perfect, such a good book. I felt like she was writing my story at so many moments. It was really crazy how many of her stories line up with mine at this period of my life – the details whisper of God’s divine movement as His plan unfolds today.
On pages 130-131 she writes…”When I was slipping out of my heels and pencil skirt – my armor for a frantic professonal world – in search of a cozier, plainer, simpler way of living, I bought a pair of Converse All Stars. Practically speaking, I needed a pair of shoes to wear to camp. And I needed desperately to go to a camp – to reconnect with nature and with silence and water and people who knew me well. The Chucks, then, became my symbol of the transition from one season to the next. They have become the shoes I wear when I want to feel truly grounded; low-key, low-drama, my plain old self…”
I asked for and received a pair of Converse All Stars for Christmas and since reading this piece in Niequist’s book, I too see these shoes as a symbol of the change God is calling me to.
This call is not unique to me, I am just tuning in more to the message these days.
It is a call to all of us – to lay down the busyness, to choose to step into each moment and be present with our husbands, children, friends, neighbors, strangers, to really see ourselves and others, to move into stillness and tune our hearts to God who wants to love on us, heal us, carry us, sit with us, to choose to love ourselves well and stop putting off making ourselves a priority, to stop missing the little things that make this life amazing, that give us memories to keep, opportunities to laugh from our toes, courage to open our hearts so we can learn, with God’s help, to love deep and be vulnerable, opening our souls that we might embrace all this world has to offer us.
It’s all good in theory right? We say “yes” to all of it and then we get back to busy.
We have to put those Converse on and walk it out. Slow in step with the Father and breathe deeply trying to slow the racing thoughts, the lists of things to do, the hurriedness of each scheduled event, the rushing out the doors, the shoveling food in, the bathing of babies, the bike rides, the next book to read, the cooking and cleaning and washing and dreaming…Slow it down. Stepping out of these prisons of busyness, running ourselves ragged, waiting to LIVE our lives.
Tomorrow we will be present!
Tomorow we will slow!
Tomorrow we will appreciate today!
It’s not easy – it’s fricking hard. You have to be so purposeful to slow down, it doesn’t come naturally, not to me anyway. It is actually more work on the front end to be so mindful about trying to slow and pay attention, it’s hard work to be present. But eventually the spirit reminds the soul which then reminds the body to simply breathe deeply…slowing, slowing, slowing… feeling its rescue, the body releases into slowness’s embrace and moves with the rhythm of the present moment.
So, I feel Him calling me to come close, to move into quiet space. He is calling me home to Him. Light a candle, sit in the stillness, struggle to open clinched fist hands that feel the need to busy and let go.
Let go of expectations,
let go of tomorrow,
let go of performance,
let go of the rush,
let go of the need to be someone, to do something, to go somewhere.
Just let go and be here in the now!
So I’m putting on my Converse and taking the plunge into stillness so I can learn to love deeply, to play hard, to laugh from my toes. So I can learn to befriend my own children, affect my home with loveliness, receive the affection of my husband! So I can learn to love myself, remember what I am passionate about, find the dreams that danced in the heart of a younger girl that have been surrendered and lost along the way. So I can learn to quiet my mind and hear His still small voice again, separate religion from holiness, move to the rhythm of His heartbeat for me. So I can learn to be still and be ok with all that that offers.
Poppa, open my eyes wide with wonder to all you have in this day for me. And then again tomorrow and the day after and the day after. Help me to be present body, soul and spirit to the treasures at my fingertips holding them in my heart, breathing them in one by one! You are a good, good Father!