Slow down, Supermom

supermomI’ve struggled for awhile with society’s glorification of busyness. It seems we are running from one activity to the next, proud that we can do it all. I know, because I was part of the madness. Supermom with a capital S. The queen of cramming it all in, I could work two part-time yet really full-time jobs, say yes to every opportunity and event that came my way, lead playgroups and arrange playdates for my kids, teach Sunday School, get my workouts in, plan elaborate birthday parties, shuffle my kids to drum lessons, hockey and soccer all in one night, volunteer weekly in each of their classrooms, and oh yes, bake up a pan of bars for conference meals. Yep, I was Supermom alright. But the truth is, I was exhausted, rushing through life like it was a race and not a journey. In the midst of all that activity, I was missing out on the whole point. And I realized I needed to end the madness. I needed to just slow down and listen to what God wanted for me.

I’ll be honest, listening is not one of my greatest strengths. I continually struggle with learning to listen over the need to speak. My husband is truly the best at this. It definitely helps our marriage that we’re opposites; I love to talk, he’s a great listener. Interestingly, he gets in conversations often with people and complete strangers who will tell him very private things because he’s willing to listen. Weird but true, right?

7d099184000be060ef270958fc75a4ceI’m quite sure that God gives me opportunities to listen all the time, but it’s in those rare moments when I’m not in a hurry that I actually hear. Yesterday was one of those moments. During my quiet time, one of my prayers was: “God, help me to see the unexpected today.” After my normal routine of going to the gym, I ran into Target to grab a few items. {Isn’t it interesting that you can go into that store needing only a handful of things and you come out with a cartful? But I digress.} As I was unloading my items at the checkout, I overheard the gentleman in front of me talking with the cashier. She was describing a beautiful place with some mountains surrounded by lakes, and then they both talked about how long it had been since they’d been there and how expensive it was to travel there — $6,000 just for an airline ticket. As he left and it was my turn, I could tell she wanted to talk. She proceeded to tell me that she finds it interesting how she meets people from all over the world. Turns out she is from Bosnia and he was from Croatia, neighboring countries that fought a horrific war in the early 1990s. (A little history lesson: In three short years, the Bosnian War resulted in the genocide of up to 150,000 people, an estimated 50,000 women raped, and over 2.2 million people displaced, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II.) I asked her how she ended up in Minnesota. With a little smile, she said she came with her parents to America as refugees in 1996, and they settled in Iowa. Eventually, she married and later moved to Minnesota after her husband was offered a better job. She admitted she missed her family and wished she could go “home” and see them more often. I left thinking about her story and the life-changing, undoubtedly frightening, selfless sacrifice her parents made to ensure they had a safe place to live — in a totally foreign land. Wow.

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Typically in such a rush, I would have missed that entire exchange. But in that moment, I was present, listening to her story. And that unexpected exchange made my day, verifying for me once again that every one of us has a story. And those stories are part of our journey. Your story and my story are different, yet somehow connected at the same time. Pure bliss. Often, I’m so focused on going from one activity to the next, or rushing through my day to get things done, that I fear I miss those moments. Admittedly, I’m the one standing anxiously behind my cart, sighing rather loudly, looking at my watch because, of course, I’m running late for something, as the cashier chats on and on with the customer ahead of me about their cats or whatever. {For real. Not my shining moment.}

I recently read Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, The Best Yes, about making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands. Basically, it’s a book for those of us with too much on our calendars who need help navigating the Supermom madness. If you’ve never read any of her books, well, you just must. She is authentic, funny and downright wise. There are so many parts of this book that resonated with me. One I’ll mention is this:

“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.”

How we spend our soul matters. Slow down, Supermom.

Do you have such an overwhelmed schedule that you feel you are missing out on what God has for you? Are you like I was, running from one thing to the next? Do you ever just stop and pay attention to the stories around you? Life is one crazy, complicated mess, but it can also be a beautiful, inviting story.

I encourage you just to slow down and listen at some point today — to the cashier in lane 6, to your daughter in the backseat, or to your co-worker in the next cubicle. You might not be able to check something off your to-do list, Supermom, but like my exchange at the supermarket, you’ll be enriched by the unexpected.

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P.S. My favorite people post comments. {tee hee} I’d love to hear from you!

 

9 Comments on Slow down, Supermom

  1. Chris
    January 28, 2015 at 7:43 am (3 years ago)

    Jul, thanks for being our Super Mom! We love you!

    Thank you,

    “Some of your Favorite People” (aka your family)

    Reply
  2. Rita
    January 24, 2015 at 11:11 am (3 years ago)

    I love this – I know we’ve exchanged stories before about how crazy our lives can get. I try to remember to slow and breathe. Now I will slow down and listen!

    Reply
  3. Kim
    January 23, 2015 at 6:39 am (3 years ago)

    Good words, Julee! It’s interesting how the definition of busy changes in the different seasons of life!!

    Reply
  4. Wendy
    January 22, 2015 at 4:25 pm (3 years ago)

    Another great post Julee! We all struggle with this problem and unfortunately (or fortunately) it took Bill getting Leukemia almost 5 years ago to slow down and stop sweating the small things. Some days will still be crazy but I will always put down that unfolded laundry to snuggle with my kids 🙂

    Reply
    • Julee
      January 22, 2015 at 4:38 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes! I love your perspective, Wendy! I hate that we often have to learn life’s lessons through difficult struggles, but so glad good things are the result!

      Reply
  5. Brenda
    January 22, 2015 at 3:40 pm (3 years ago)

    Julee, this is my favorite post so far!

    Reply
    • Julee
      January 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm (3 years ago)

      I so appreciate your kind words, Brenda. Seriously. You have no idea. I sweated this one…

      Reply
  6. Trish
    January 22, 2015 at 2:39 pm (3 years ago)

    I, too, have one of those crazy mom schedules, but after traveling in 40 countries and meeting people from all over the world in my pre-family days, I still love to stop and listen to people’s stories. (I say as I just waited waaay too long for my my airport shuttle to leave the airport, but learned a lot about Robert, the shuttle driver.) 🙂

    Reply
    • Julee
      January 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm (3 years ago)

      I love it, Trish! Sorry your shuttle took forever, but maybe this was a good reason. Robert probably deals with hurried travelers every day and was probably thrilled to have you listen! Have fun at Leadership!

      Reply

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