{ABIDE Day 3} 10 Ways to Intentionally Slow Down

In order to truly abide in Christ, we must be willing to intentionally slow down.

ABIDE: five day plan to start 2016 with intentionality

Well, y’all, we’ve made it to the third day of ABIDE.  So far we’ve looked at two steps for learning what it is to abide in Christ.

Acknowledge Him First

Bring Burdens to Him

We’ve covered how important it is to commit to daily time in the Word and 3 truths we need in order to lay our burdens down with the Lord.  Today’s step is going to be hard for all us busy people. In fact, you are probably going to think I’m crazy … but don’t click away just yet. Remember, I’ve got the crazy calendar too. I’m definitely writing this post from an “I’m right here with you” perspective with a huge helping of “I struggle with this myself.”  What is this next important step in learning to ABIDE?

In order to truly abide in Christ, we must be willing to intentionally slow down.

Intentionally Slow Down

Yes, I know. You’re thinking, “She’s lost her mind. Her tag line is offering BUSY WOMEN permission to live well.  BUSY women don’t have time to slow down.” Oh friend, believe me, I feel every ounce of the irony. But here’s what I know — Being intentional about slowing down is often the difference between being effective & being exhausted in the midst of our chaos.

Slowing down can be the difference between being effective & being exhausted in the chaos. #ABIDE2016 Click To Tweet

Yesterday, we looked at Matthew 11:28:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Read over that last phrase, a promise from Jesus:  If we come to Him with all our commitments and concerns He WILL give us rest. This is what I’ve learned, when I am committed to daily time in the Word and when I am consistent in prayer and leaving my burdens with Him, the rest comes much easier.

Now I know, you’re also thinking, “Okay, TL, that’s great for you since you have a daughter in high school and you have all day while everyone is at work and school to write and nap and whatever. My life doesn’t exactly look that way.”

I know. I’m in a crazy busy season of life but our family situation does afford me a lot of time to do the things other people have to fit into the margins of their other commitments. I don’t ever want to minimize the struggle it can be to find time to truly slow down.

But this is also true: Rest is not an option for us. We need it physically and we need it spiritually.

Rest is not an option for us. We need it physically and we need it spiritually. #ABIDE2016 Click To Tweet

Where can we find those pockets of time for stillness and rest? For each of us and in every season, the answers are different. But here are a few ways  to find space in the middle of a crazy schedule.

Where can we find those pockets of time for stillness and rest? For each of us and in every season, the answers are different. But here are a few ways I’ve learned to find space in the middle of a crazy schedule.

  1. In the morning before everyone gets up. {Let me be honest, this used to be my favorite. But now, I like sleep.}
  2. In the evening when everyone goes to bed. {This one doesn’t work for me either … basically I like to get up about 7 a.m and go to bed by 10 p.m. The people in my house all have a significantly smaller sleep requirement.}
  3. The car line. {Seriously, all through middle school this was the part of my day when I didn’t place any expectation on myself. I had about 15 minutes and I just gave myself permission to accomplish nothing during that time.}
  4. Saturday mornings. {For several years when Casiday was little, Scott encouraged me to take a couple of hours to either sleep in if I needed it or just get out of the house and relax.}
  5. Rest time for the kiddos. If your kids are younger and still take naps, don’t do laundry — just be still. At least for part of the time.  Make yourself of tea or coffee and be still.
  6. No one in/No one out days. Y’all, this is one of my favorite things. Periodically we schedule a no one in/no one out day. It’s just the three of us at home. We watch movies, take naps, snack all day … but mostly we just stay put. In homes where there is lot of going and doing, this can be the perfect way to slow down. {Yes, your kids might balk at it, but stand firm. In the end, they’ll be glad.}
  7. Turn off the devices.  One of the ways I’m carving out time for intentional slowing this year is turning off all my devices {phone, ipad, and computer} for at least 30 minutes every day. During that time I’ll be reading or coloring or maybe even taking a nap. But my goal is to do things that could have been done 100 years ago.
  8. Bake bread. I know, you’re thinking, “What in the world is this girl talking about?!” But baking bread requires us to slow down. All the kneading and rising and punching down provides a rhythm for me of a short time of doing then a lot of time waiting. And some days that is exactly what I need.
  9. Take a bath. Both my girl and I are big fans of a nice hot bath. We like to add a little lavendar oil and some Epsom salts.  She listens to music and I like to read a good novel. I’ve noticed Casiday is especially anxious to get a bath when her schedule is really crazy. I think that means she’s learning the value of slowing down even in the chaos.
  10. Take 10 deep breaths. Let’s be honest, there are days {weeks?} when the cracks and crevices of our schedules are all full and we’re not really sure when we are going to collapse into bed much less actually have time to slow down. It’s in those times when I just simply take deep breaths. I aim for ten but sometimes I can only manage two or three.  Breathing in deep and slowly exhaling can be a great way to slow our minds.  

Those are just a few simple suggestions for intentionally slowing down. I’m sure you can think of more … and I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

Today’s Challenge

Choose one of the ideas above and put it into practice. Be gracious with yourself about this. The point isn’t to achieve some mystical zen state but rather to get into a habit of practicing stillness regularly.

Before I close today, I wanted to say thank you for all your kind comments and sharing of these posts. Tomorrow, we’ll be talking about the fourth step in learning to ABIDE — Develop a Rhythm of Gratitude. 

xo,

Teri Lynne

How do you make time to slow down? What are some of the ways you have overcome the obstacles to this practice of stillness?

If you are committed to learning more about practicing stillness, may I recommend my friend Shelly Miller’s Sabbath Society community? Each week Shelly sends out an encouraging and grace-filled email to those who are wanting to be more intentional about rest and Sabbath.

Some of my favorite books on rest, stillness, and Sabbath [affiliate links]:

5 Replies to “{ABIDE Day 3} 10 Ways to Intentionally Slow Down”

  1. My favorite slow down time is to pick up my crochet. It is like therapy to me. I always have a small project working so when I need to rest I sit with my yarn and needle. If the stiches are kept easy and repetitive they don’t require much thought. Also a perect time for me to talk with the Lord while I slowly and methodically create something useful.

    Ms Linda Darlene

    1. I love this!! I have often wished I knew how to crochet or knit. I know a few basic stitches but only enough to make me frustrated by what I don’t know. 🙂

  2. Michelle Ondras says: Reply

    Hello Teri Lynne. I came across your Facebook page shortly before Thanksgiving 2015. At that time I found your praying for girls post. My almost soon to be 15 year old girl just completed her first semester of freshman year. I so appreciate how you share your heart and season of mothering…I can so very much relate and your posts/blogs/articles are such an encouragement to me!!! I am so truly blessed to have a daughter and 10 year old little gentleman who are growing and walking with the Lord….but boy oh boy there are days…when seriously I want to ask…”Where did my children go…hehe!” My husband and I are so intentional in raising up our children to be God honoring kids and to raise them to bring glory to God and your praying for girls monthly calendar and #Abide 2016 blog have been invaluable to my and my family’s spiritual walk!!!! Thank you for all you do, it is dearly appreciated!
    Blessings and Happy New Year,
    Mrs. Michelle Ondras

    1. Oh wow! Thank you!! What a gift your words are to my heart today. Thank you for taking time to be a blessing to me!!
      xo,
      Teri Lynne

  3. I love your tips. I mostly take my time to slow down in the evening, after my boyfriend has gone to bed. A few months ago I also turned off my devices… For two whole days! It was the best! I got so much time left and in those moment where you usually grab your phone because you have to wait for a few minutes, now I couldn’t. And that gave me time to just sit and think a bit, or hug my dogs, or whatever. I love your idea of doing this everyday for half an hour. That’s totally doable!

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