I’m a rusher, a multitasker, a list-maker. I routinely try to carry in so many grocery bags from the car that I inevitably end up dropping half of them, taking twice as much time to clean everything up than if I’d just carried in a couple at a time like a sane person. After our second son was born, and I was trying to balance a newborn and a kindergartener and also a book deadline and that crazy amount of newborn laundry, I caught myself running up and down the stairs with baskets of laundry, trying to use my time well while the baby was sleeping. Running. In my home. As though I was participating in a timed obstacle course. In my home.
All this to say: I’m not by nature a slow, cool, wander-through-life kind of person. I wish I was. Instead I’ve always been quick with a side of frantic, efficient with a dash of manic. And about two years ago, that whole way of living stopped working for me. I don’t know if it was age or God or that second baby or another book deadline, but rather dramatically, I was no longer able or willing to run my life on that fuel. And I was no longer able or willing to miss the things I’d been missing in order to get done all the things that had previously seemed so urgent.
I wanted to taste things deeply once again, to play again, to be with instead of do for. I wanted to feel my life, instead of blowing past it day after day, falling asleep too late and then waking too early with a start—dreamless, panicky. I wanted to connect, to taste, to feel, to savor. I used to know how to do those things—we all did, didn’t we? But along the way I became more efficient than connected to God, to my own soul, to the people I love. And I wanted a way back.
Morning devotions were part of the path back for me—silence, stillness, prayer. I needed my life to be quieter, and I needed my soul to be stilled. What I found was that when I begin the day in quiet, that stillness inside me lingers throughout the day, like the smell of having baked bread several hours earlier.
And that stillness inside me, that quiet space I’ve been carrying throughout the day since those morning minutes, is what sustains me. When a glass breaks or the kids fight or a review is bad, these days I can feel that pool of silence, of stillness, of groundedness, and it allows me to be kind, to be patient, to forgive, to be my better self.