“The world can wait.” As I stumbled across the words they felt familiar, like something I could settle into. A year ago, I would’ve laughed at them, believing that nothing could wait and nothing could stop me. I lived like everything was urgent. Last January found me exhausted, over-committed and unable to shake a bad case of bronchitis because I’d spent fourteen days coughing my heart out while carrying on with my too-busy schedule as usual. I didn’t know how to rest, how to say no, how to maintain any sort of healthy balance for my soul or my very sick lungs.
That winter, something started to shift. I started reading Shauna Niequist’s Present over Perfect, and this concept of slowing down, saying no, starting over started changing everything. I realized that for so long I’d been placing my worth in the hustle, in how much I could get done and how often I could say yes, in trying to earn what Jesus has already won for me. I was tired and sick and sad. I missed writing and stillness and people and slow mornings. I didn’t want to live like that anymore.
A year later, I’m in the very same week with the very same bad case of bronchitis –which the doctor insists is just a very strange coincidence. But thankfully, this time I’m also a very different person. In the space and stillness of the last year, I watched God remake my life. I feel more like myself, more aware of my limits and of God’s presence, more invested in things that matter to me. More sitting across the table from people I love. More writing and stillness and baking scones. More laughing and crying and telling the truth. More time to think and breathe and know God’s word. I’m learning to rest when I’m tired, stop when I’m sick, say no when I have nothing left to give. I’m learning also that the world turns just fine when I step away, that it’s not all up to me, that I’ve never been the one holding it all together.
The change has been profound, but definitely not always pretty. With learning to rest comes learning to turn down good things, to disappoint people, to cut what you just don’t have margin for –no matter how much you wish you did. A year of feeling each day’s finite-ness, of sometimes choosing laundry + meal prep over going out, and at points, of scheduling rest right into my calendar. A year of finding some pretty scary things in the stillness, but also of finding God to be more than capable and never afraid or surprised or expecting me to handle it on my own.
If you’re feeling frantic and fragile and too tired and not enough, I believe there’s a better way. I believe that God can rebuild your life on the truth of His love and sufficiency and sovereignty. That it isn’t too late, and that there’s rest to be found.
That the world can wait.
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