“Sometimes the most productive thing we can do for ourselves is nothing.”
I think I read that in a post from Ann Voskamp. Such a beautiful writer by the way. I love this quote, because it holds sooo much truth. Unintentionally, I put this theory to test in 2016, and I gotta tell you, it can lead to more happiness than you think.
After the crazy, hectic year that was 2015, in 2016 I was ready for a change of pace. 2015 brought on graduation from college (my second time around), 2 new jobs, planning a wedding, moving, and getting a dog. Several big life changes all in 1 year, can you see why I was ready for a break? Immediately following the wedding, I sort of retreated a bit. I did not want to do a darn thing on the weekends other than relax and spend time with my new husband. Once the weather got nicer I became slightly more adventurous.
Derek and I spent a lot of time practicing our bows for October 1st (opening day deer season). We also enjoyed taking Bryan to the lake to go swimming, which he eagerly would perk his ears up at the word and happily hop up into the pick-up truck for a ride. On the way we would stop by the local ice cream shop, get a treat, and enjoy the drive through the backroads surrounded by the beautiful midwest scenery. If we weren’t preparing for hunting season or spending time with the dog, we often hung out in the shed while Derek tinkered around, had bonfires (usually just the two of us), and tried new recipes on the grill. It was, truly, a year of rest and relaxation.
I did not necessarily intend for this, but in a ’round-about way I cultivated the type of lifestyle I think I needed to get back in-touch with the things that matter most to me.
Having all that spare time allowed me to pursue interests I hadn’t been able to pursue in years, or at least not to the multitude I wanted to. I began reading, writing, and enjoying nature more. I began a bible study, and took more time to pray. I made a point to spend time with my husband, quality time, doing simple things and enjoying God’s presence all around us. A simple ATV ride in the waterway behind our house has become a means for us to grow closer in a fun, light-hearted way, and I always eagerly climb up into the seat with a big ole’ grin on my face.
This past year, it was not the big things, large tasks, and hefty goals set and achieved that lead me to this wonderful place of peace in my life. No. It was all the little moments added up over time that made this year one of personal growth and development. We hear it all the time, that it is the small things that are the big things. 2016 proved that to be so true for me. All the times sitting on the lawnmower in the shed while Derek and Bryan worked on a project (well, Bryan sniffed around a lot which I’m sure he thought was helping), time spent sitting in the tree stand while my husband was across the food plot waiting on a deer to come by, time spent sitting on the back porch journaling while the dog ran around in the yard; these times are the ones where my heart grew twice in size and my soul filled up so much I feel somedays it could burst with gratitude!
We live in a time of frantic-frenziness. A time where keeping busy and “doing it all” is praised, even at the expense of our own happiness, health, and relationships. We continue to think of more-is-more, when really we all know and have heard that more-is-less. When are we going to start realizing the truth in this, and put it to the test. In 2016, this is what I unintentionally did, and I gotta tell you it is true. Less is more. Time wasted is time well-spent. You will never regret the time you took to do something good for yourself, including rest, so make time for it! I truly believe you cannot take care of anybody else until you take care of yourself. Figure out what it is that you need, that your soul needs, and make time for it. Put it in your planner and schedule it if you need to, you are much more likely to get it done that way. Make 2017 a year that you cultivate your fullest life. God bless!