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I will slow the external and grow the internal

Reclaiming naptimes: slow the external and grow the internal.

It’s that holy hush of the afternoon where babies sleep and the kettle boils. Palms rustle just enough to remind me where I am and somewhere in a distant part of the house a clock ticks, tocks.

For an introverted mother of two little boys who never stop ramming, jumping, roaring, giggling, vrooming, chasing, wrestling, and begging for food (or miiiiiiiilk or dooooce!!!) this hour comes as salvation to my soul.

(You know I’m reclaiming nap times, right?)

There’s a pull to the bedroom where my heavy eyelids could find solace but there’s an even greater pull to the quiet place where I find room to breathe and space to remember.

Often in that quiet hour I’ve rushed to “get things done”, because we all know life is about accomplishing things, right?? Like folded laundry and answered emails and clean sinks and tidy schedules and dusted shelves?

Yeah, that.

A few weeks ago I had Lasik eye surgery. By the very next morning my vision was better than it ever had been wearing contacts for the last fifteen years. There’s nothing there helping me to see – I’ve literally been healed from the outside, in. And as I went for surgery my prayer was: “God, give me new perspective. I don’t just want to see, I want to see.”  

And now back on my couch, feet propped up on a coffee table decorated with matchbox cars, I can see clearly again. I see that I need rest, I need margin, I need permission to dream… not just for my family, but for me.

So this next season I’m treading lightly. Let’s not do things the way they were being done before. Let’s find a new way. Let’s find The Way again.

Together we’ll exhale and use our imaginations and revive those dance parties that somehow got lost in all that busy.

Because seriously, I need to dance a little.

And in those quiet hours while the babies are tucked up under late afternoon sun I will boil my kettle and open my book, I will play music and I will learn to write again. I will care for my soul like I know I should. But I won’t do it because I “should”, I’ll do it because I want to and that will be enough fuel for follow through because I’m done with counterfeit guilt. I’m done with ticking boxes. I’m done with being all things to all those around me (even ones who’ve asked for nothing but I’ve thought I “should” probably give something). I’m done living under false obligation. I’m done living by my own strength. (How did I get there, anyway?)

My responsibilities can be my freedoms, if only I have the right perspective.

And from time to time I might sleep during those quiet hours, but not because I’m exhausted and spent and dry and drowning. No, I will not collapse at the end of my figurative rope (even as an escape from jumping off the edge of my figurative cliff). I’ll curl up under my knitted blanket because sometimes that’s the best way to celebrate having margin.

They say that trees grow the most during winter as their root systems reach and stretch for water and life and now I am purposing in my heart to do the same.

I will slow the external and grow the internal and know that it’s right in my soul. I will let my roots grow down deep and not rush the coming of spring. {Amen.} My longing will not hasten it, my groping will not accelerate it.

So I’ll relax and taste of the slow of winter. Spring will come in the springtime. Amen and amen. (It need not come sooner.)

And until then I’ll try to tread lightly.

Dear friends, are you a busy bee like me, in need of some margin? What are you doing to feed your soul this winter (or summer)? 


p.s. I know I’ve written about this reclaiming nap time theme a bit lately. Perhaps it’s redundant… but it’s a big focus for me right now and I’m seeing good fruit because of it.

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  • Reply Chasing a Daredevil and Twins 20 July 2013 at 8:26 am

    A great reminder of what’s really important. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Rachel 21 July 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Oh I so love this post… Reminding me I also need to take time for myself ..always running ragged folding washing moping floors .. Work part time… Kids activities etc etc … I am going to sit in the sun with a cuppa and take time out and do it often! Thanks Adriel ur posts r fantastic

  • Reply Lindsey Whitney 26 July 2013 at 6:39 am

    Wow, Adriel. This is so timely for me and so beautifully said. I too am in a crossroads… my home day care is slowing and I’m trying to decide where I want to go with my life. Do I want to be a writer. I’ve given myself to the end of the summer to decide and I’ve begun to notice that having a little margin… some quiet time… some room to breathe has been so refreshing to my soul. I’ve seen my hunger for God reawaken and my creativity spring to life. I am (mostly!) more patient with my family. Thanks for this reminder and I will join you on the journey — headed to check out your original post now.

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