How to carve out a few moments in time for yourself

Yesterday I carved out a few moments in time to stop and look at five boxes of books I’d packed up to take to the thrift store. Did I really want to get rid of each book?

“Yes,” I firmly answered myself. (I love books. I should have been a librarian.)

So far, so good. I figured I had about six more boxes to go.

It isn’t that I was moving anytime soon.

No, this was my way of retiring. Packing up all the books I wouldn’t need again. Pastoral books, church planting books, mission books, Bible commentaries… you get the idea.

Left on my bookshelves were hundreds of novels, writing books, cookbooks, and Christian non-fiction I’ve been wanting to read, or re-read, but haven’t had much time to do so.

These were the books I was keeping as my “retirement reading”—waiting for quiet days and cozy evenings sometime in the far distant future.

But guess what… the far distant future has arrived

Tom and I are retiring from pastoring next month. Time to put the shepherds out to pasture.

Soon I’ll have time to read for pleasure. Or at least I hope I will.

Carving out time for pleasure reading or any other quiet activity isn’t always easy in our busy lives, is it?

I know how busy I can get filling my life with things I have to get done.

That won’t change in retirement.

There’s ALWAYS stuff you have to get done!

And the noise level in our heads? Wow!

All day long we have voices speaking into our thoughts from people, things we read, hear on an iPod or radio, watch on TV or view on the Internet.

When do we have time for our own thoughts—the thoughts that aren’t talking back to the noisy thoughts from outside ourselves?

Where are the moments in time to just “be,” to rest our thoughts, to quiet our minds, or to muse as we watch a golden leaf fall from a tree?

How do you shut out the noise?

You do it by being ruthless. You have to turn off the radio, the internet, and the TV. Put your phone on mute and leave it in another room.

Most of human history has survived very well without these devices. You’ll make it just fine if you carve out some moments in time every day without them.

One of my favorite memories is of sitting on the front porch of an old house quietly crocheting a blanket for a new grandchild while the rain fell all around me. I was alone, warm, dry, and totally enjoying God’s creation.

I had carved out a moment in time for myself.

Here are some ideas for planning YOUR moments in time:

  • Use the quiet to stare out a window and just look at a tree. Listen to the birds. Let your mind just rest in the beauty of creation.
  • Pull out your colored pencils and Zentangel or Doodle.
  • Cook or bake something you enjoy without the pressure of having to serve up dinner.
  • Sit on the back porch and read a book. 🙂

You’ll be amazed at how much your soul is rested and refreshed by this simple practice. In fact, I call these moments “soul breaks.”

I hope you plan one today.

Hugs,

Susan

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