Being in ministry keeps my life at a fast pace. It seems like there is always the next event to be planning, people that need contacting, the weekly classes that need to be prepped. There is always something to do and focus on. When God called me to ministry as a high school student, I knew that this was the life for me. I wanted to the pace and I wanted the action.
Now that I’m a few years out of college I have realized that I don’t quite have the energy level I once had. Now that I’ve been living the ministry lifestyle, I truly know how much goes into keeping up the pace. It’s different than I expect. I’m different than I expected. Turns out I’m more of introvert then I realized. The more I spend time with people, the more I need to spend time alone. It can be hard to balance it all. Commitments, to-do lists, trains of thought continuing on the work track when I’m at home… I’ve had to learn a lot about intentionally slowing down my life. I’ve had to learn where to say yes and where to say no. It’s easy to fill up every second of everyday, but it isn’t necessarily wise.
I’ve made some tough decisions over the last couple of years to help myself intentionally slow down. It seems like everything comes at a cost, even quieter living. One of the major decisions that I have made is to not work full time and be content with a part time job. This is something I’ve struggled with over the years. In a society where most people without kids have two incomes, Jeremy and I decided that a part time job allows me to invest myself more fully in other areas. It seemed like the more hours I worked, the less energy I had for mentorship and doing things after work. I would just want to come home from work and be a blob at home to recover for the next day. I may not be paid or considered “on the job” while I’m mentoring and hanging out with students, but I know my reward will be greater in heaven then it will be right now on earth. When I have a kingdom perspective, I can see that the things that get little to no credit are of great value because they are done with a pure heart and the right intent.
Another way I am intentionally slowing down my life is by investing in the things I do, beyond mentoring and people. Starting this blog has been a great outlet for me. When I am in the quiet of my home, I pick up my laptop and write about the things that matter to me. It’s been a lot of fun to come up with blog ideas and dream about the things I would like to share. Even though the readership of this blog isn’t on a national level, I am greatly affected just by writing the entries. Yes, I hope others are touched and intrigued by my ramblings, but really my blog has been a chance for me to develop myself and the person I am and want to become.
I have learned that some days need to be viewed as sacred. Just like the Old Testament called for a Sabbath. There are days in my life where I know it’s important for me to keep them free from the clutter of a busy life. The day of the week might not be the same each week, but for the most part Fridays are my sacred days. I try to make no ministry plans on Fridays so that way Jeremy and I can keep our one day off together focused on us. It’s not possible to keep every Friday free from plans, so I’ll often keep certain nights of the week free for just hanging out at home. I’ve learned that I can only go so long with something schedule on each day of the week before I burn out and start to resent my schedule. Being protective of certain dates and keeping things sacred has helped me to build in slowness to my schedule and my life. It gives me time to breath and time to relax.
I realize that not everyone has the freedom to make the decisions I have made. Some people have to work full time jobs or over time to make ends meet. Some people might think that I’m even lazy for balancing my schedule and trying to keep some time sacred and slow. I’m still in the learning process because the opinions of others do matter to me. The truth is that I can’t make everyone happy and I can’t make people see things from my perspective. All I know is that I am called by God to live a life of sustainable ministry. The longer I do this, the more I can see the importance of building slow moments into the schedule. It looks different for everyone. I’m definitely more introverted than most, so I have come to realize that my down time needs are greater than others. At first this frustrated me immensely because I felt that I wasn’t being “Super Amy.” God is working my heart to show me that I don’t need to be super, I need to be healthy. Even the things that I have made time for in my life, I know will have eternal rewards and I feel like the balance I have struck is one that allows me to be filled so I can empty myself out with others and not run dry. Living at a slower pace is counter-cultural and that is why it takes serious effort to be intentionally slow.