I wish I could take credit for the title of this blog post, but the idea of finding rest in the cracks of my crazy came straight from a Periscope by upcoming author Cara Grandle on her Writer’s Encouragement Show. (Seriously. Check her out every Tuesday 9 a.m. Pacific time for a boost of encouragement and a pep talk geared toward all sorts of creative people. End the commercial. Now back to my regularly scheduled blog post…)
If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that I have a crazy life juggling family responsibilities including a special-needs daughter, my chronic health issues, a day job, writing, and more recently starting an author coaching business. I’m always looking for ways to be more productive. To work smarter, not harder NOT so I can get more done, but rather so I can actually carve out blocks of time to take care of me. To feed my creative soul. To refill the tank. To invest in the relationships that matter most. To find moments of beauty in the jumbled mountain of responsibilities.
When your life is as busy as mine, finding rest can seem almost impossible. Mostly because we list-makers tend to think rest is a reward for getting our stuff done. As in “once I check these next twelve things off my list, then I deserve to sit down and…” Except things get added to the list faster than they are checked off, leaving the rest-taker with a heap of guilt so they spend their reward time thinking of all the new things they should be doing instead.
The only thing worse than that is when the block of time you fiercely guarded on your schedule gets derailed by a sick friend canceling your get-together or other people’s agendas impose themselves onto your free time. As in you thought you had a few days without work so you could catch up on personal things, but then the day job calls with a super rushed project that only you can pull off in time…and you need the money to pay for a child’s college tuition so you abandon your dream of a few leisure-filled days and accept the mountain of work instead. Ahem. Yes, I get real around here.
So when the crazy life pushes out your rest, what can you do? It’s all about finding rest in the cracks of time that remain.
First, ditch the guilt. You really should stop and smell the roses whenever you get the chance. The laundry will still be there to be folded and some of those marketing posts can be done on a different day. But this sunset. This song on the radio. This chance to snuggle with a child on the couch. These are the things with the greatest impact in the moment and you will be better for having invested the time in what matters most.
Second, make a list of the little things that make a big difference. (I’m reading a book by Andy Andrews on this very topic.) Maybe it’s a scripture verse on a flip calendar that you can read while fixing dinner. Or a song playing on the radio while you drive the kids to carpool. It could even be setting a timer, getting up from the desk, and walking around outside for five minutes before getting back to work. Whether it’s writing a note to a friend or reading one page of Reader’s Digest jokes, the little things are easiest to fit into the cracks of time between our other activities.
Third, embrace the season. There were times when I had small children at home when I wondered if I would ever get even fifteen minutes to myself without a “Mom” being yelled from the other end of the house or another mess to clean up. Now part of me is looking forward to my youngest son being able to drive so I can reclaim the carpool times again. The season can cover multiple years (like raising children) or it could simply be project based. For example, I’m in an editing season with my writing so I’m not feeling guilty about neglecting the new ideas simmering and awaiting their moment to shine. As someone wise once said, “This too shall pass.” While you may struggle to maintain your sanity and find rest wherever you can find it today…there will come a day when your life looks very different. And your rest will look different too.
So, in the midst of my crazy life finishing the edits on one book, planning a book launch for another, tackling that rushed day job project, cheering at cross country meets, watching football games, and trying to stay on a healthy eating plan with my daughter…well, let’s just say I’m finding rest wherever I can and grabbing it with both hands.
What about you? Where do you find rest? Any ideas of small ways or little things that can make a difference in our outlook? How have the seasons of your life changed?