HOW TO USE AWARENESS + SLOWING DOWN ENABLES YOU FOCUS ON WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT
The other day my kids we’re on winter break so I took them to a local nature park. Two of my kids were racing ahead on the trail and one kept falling behind, getting frustrated with something in her shoe, stopping at every small thing out of curiosity.
I found myself getting frustrated at the pace we were moving at because it felt like we would be on that trail ALL DAY LONG. My mind kept reminding me of all the things that needed to get done (house to clean, work to finish, dinner to cook etc.) and focusing on everything that was NOT right now.
Then I thought, “What am I in such a hurry for? What is so urgent that I need to get to?“
My immediate response was to layer shame on myself with thoughts like “See, you’re not a good mom,” “You’re missing their childhood by being so preoccupied with what’s NEXT,” “Here you go again!” “I can’t believe you’re still struggling with this.”
My awareness was high (of the Spirit and myself) enough that day that I was able to step back and see how this story was unfolding, and that nothing good would come of shaming myself.
If I had let things continue, I would have gotten snappier with my kids, or retreated even more inward (checking out), instead of doing what I really wanted to do which is just to be present and enjoy my kids.
Romans 2:4 says, “His kindness leads you toward repentance.” His love and kindness, not shame, leads to real change.
So I took some deep breaths, said a breath prayer, and renewed my mind in that moment,
“I love showing up for my kids right now”
“It’s ok to go slow”
“I choose to enjoy this day with them”
“Everything that needs to get done will get done later”
“I show up for my real life, right now.”
This is a mental/spiritual U-Turn. You notice you’re going in one direction you do not want to go in and once you’re aware, you can intentionally turn your mind toward the path you want to be on.
This is repentance. A literal turning around, and going in another direction towards the direction God is leading you towards.
You don’t repent because you have some punitive, distant God who is shaming you into changing. You repent because you have a Savior who loves you, sees your struggle and weakness, knows exactly where you are, has already forgiven all of your sin, and walks with you as He changes you to be more like Him.
And through repentance He offers transformation, and an abundant life connected to Him, your true self and others.
So if you can relate to getting sucked into the hustle and bustle of our daily technologically driven culture that says MORE, BETTER, FASTER, maybe today right now is an opportunity to slow down, pause, and turn around so that you can focus on what really matters.
Let go of shame and condemnation (which only makes us want to hide) and be led by God’s love and kindness.
Pay attention to your thoughts, and when they start going down an unhelpful path, gently turn your mind.