With a fast flick of my fingers, I capture my son’s attention. It’s nothing fancy – I’m simply demonstrating the acorn’s second best talent: Spinning (the first of course being growing oak trees). Immediately, he’s hooked. Over and over, his small hands pinch the acorn’s cap and launch it into motion. His eye-to-acorn stare doesn’t deviate, and when a twirl topples, he simply tries again … and again. He is in the zone.
As a mother of three, homeschooler, author, church-goer and many-hat wearer, I worry I’m spending less and less time in the zone. In fact, I’d say my efforts are far more frantic and flighty than fastened and focused. My plate is full … and so is everyone else’s. We’re maxing out … and I don’t know if it’s a good thing.
To overcome the burdens of busyness, we must slow down and see. I know from firsthand experience that this is so difficult to do, but here are 3 things I have done that can help each of us have more calm, clarity and Christ in our lives.
3 ways to replace the blurry hurry, so we can see and live more fully:
1. We need courage to slow down. It takes courage to slow down, because decreasing our speed means decreasing our productivity. There’s so much to do – and each item on the “To Do” list haunts us with its convincing claim of being worthwhile. But it’s only logical that in order to add peace and perspective to the schedule, something else must drop out. Something won’t get done. Someone won’t have that thing they need/want. Something or someone won’t meet expectations (and it will likely be me!). It takes courage to be at peace with our limited time and abilities, and less-than-perfect efforts and results. It takes courage to lower expectations in order to raise standards. It takes courage to carefully choose to do less, so what is chosen can be done well.
By slowing down, the constant blur brightens and clears – and we can start to see.
2. We must elevate our focus to an eternal perspective. “We need women who have the courage and vision of Mother Eve,” said church leader President Russell M. Nelson in a recent General Conference of my church. As I’ve reflected on what this courage entails, I think at least part of it was that Mother Eve could see things that weren’t apparent, and she maintained a clear view of her vision.
She focused on the fruit – not the fallen fruit immediately in front of her, but the forever fruit that could grow within her; for her seed would fill the earth and launch the Plan of Happiness forward. That’s the kind of eye-to-acorn attention needed today. The kind that sees the oak tree in the acorn, and the forever potential in the day-to-day grind.
3. Stay balanced by centering our sight on Christ. A few months ago, I spoke at a church event directed for teenage girls, entitled, “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” To start the lesson (and to wake everyone up a bit), I asked attendees to plant one foot on the ground for 30 seconds, while raising the other. Most wobbled a bit, but everyone in the group made it to the 30-second mark. Then they tried again … but with their eyes closed. Almost as soon as the timer started, feet flopped. Everyone bobbled, wobbled and eventually put down their second foot … that is, all except one. One smiling sister remained firmly planted on one foot with her eyes tightly shut.
Several asked, “How did she do that?” The sweet girl’s answer was even more impressive than her balancing. She said that during the first 30 seconds, she stared at a picture of our Savior that hung on the wall directly across from her, and she made Christ’s eyes her focal point. When asked to close her eyes, she continued picturing Christ’s face, holding steady eye contact with the image that remained crisp in her mind. By doing so, she maintained balance. What a striking and symbolic lesson about focusing on our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Her experience reminds me that whatever I’m looking at is what I’ll focus on … and what I focus on makes all the difference in how I balance and prioritize my life.
As modern-day women, our plates are full and we’re often balancing multiple stacks of plates at a time! Imagine the troubles and broken hearts if we chose to balance plates in the dark. I am thankful we don’t have to. Christ is the light (John 8:12) – and we can look to learn … Not just glance or peek occasionally, but to focus and center ourselves on Him.
Like my little boy’s eye-to-acorn stare, we must keep an eye-to-Christ vision. As we courageously slow down, elevate our vision, and center our lives on Him, we will burn His image in our mind, and upon our countenances. We’ll be able to remove the blurry hurry and live more fully.
Jessica Poe is a mother of three and a collector of divine details. Her debut book, Everyday MOMents: Discovering Christ in the Details of Motherhood, will release in March 2016. Jessica and her homeschooling family live under the lively green trees of Oregon; where their hearts flutter for bird watching, berry picking and basking in small, natural daily doings. Read more inspirational musings from Jessica at www.jessica-poe.com.