my soul needs a slow pace.
Slow enough to put roots down. Slow enough to make deep friendships and keep up with them regularly. Slow enough to write when I must. Slow enough to cook food that nourishes my family in the familiarity of my home.
More than anything, I want to learn my best pace and routine, and then I want to protect it as much as possible.
I need an artisan pace, slow grown and handmade just for me.
And maybe you are longing for that, too.
So the question is: How do you find and then keep a soul-nourishing pace in this hurried world?
I certainly don't have the answers. And we're all different people with different needs. But I have found a few things that have helped me on this journey, and I hope that they might help you too:
1. Find your untethered hours.
A year ago, I began waking up at 4:45 in the morning in order to start my day with a clear heart and mind. Granted, I haven't actually done it in months (moving, busyness, and life in general just happens, ya know?). But when I get enough sleep, I do my best to wake up early enough to allow myself at least a couple of hours to have the morning to myself. I usually aim for 6am at the latest.
I call these the "untethered hours" because they aren't used for getting 2 hours worth of things done. In fact, they serve the opposite purpose: to waste time.
I use my untethered hours to drink tea and read. Or I'll write in my journal or do absolutely nothing as I try to make space for God to speak to my heart. Sometimes, I even do a little yoga. Whatever my body or mind needs that morning.
It helps me to choose and set the pace for the day, or even the week. These hours are precious to me because they allow me to choose how I start the day, rather than letting hurriedness or expectations choose for me.
2. Make more home-cooked meals.
My husband and I love cooking. But we've had our seasons of busyness, of eating takeout on the couch and late night runs to Raising Canes. So if you spend most nights eating out or ordering in, I totally understand. No judgment.
But there's something about prioritizing home-cooked meals that can change the dynamic of a home's pace. It reminds me to take inventory of my food and my family's needs. It reminds me to use what I've got to nourish the most important things in life: this body, my family, and this home.
When cooking becomes routine, it changes the way we eat. It changes the way we sit to enjoy the meal. It changes the way we consume, and it teaches us to savor.
Savoring both the food, and a slow pace.
3. Practice saying "no."
In order to protect my pace, I've learned that I must say "no" to the paces of others. Even those I love. Even my husband's pace sometimes. If I say yes to every opportunity to do even the things I love, I find myself doing a millions things I don't really need with a heart that longs to catch its breath.
Most importantly, when we say "no" to the pace of this hurried world, we begin to say "yes" to the pace our souls were made for.
The pace of our souls is one that keeps the body, mind, and soul healthy and alive. That, in turn, allows us to best serve the people and purposes of this one beautiful life we live.
4. Try fasting every once in a while.
When I really took some time to think about the habits that have helped me maintain a slow pace, I was surprised that fasting made this list. Looking back on the past year, I found myself doing various sorts of fasts depending on the season and the leading of the Holy Spirit in prayer. None of them were very intense, but they were significant nonetheless. Abstinence of any sort often makes space for the soul to gain perspective and opens the heart to listen to the Lord in the midst of hard times or busyness in general.
Here's a few fasts that have helped break up my busy schedule and brought centeredness:
- The Daniel Fast
- skipping 1 or 2 meals for the day
- Giving up processed sugar for month
- Giving up coffee (currently on a 6th month fast. No, I'm not crazy, and yes, it's been hard.)
- Abstaining from social media/internet for a time.
- Choosing to be disciplined about rest (we had a rule of no guests over for a month. It was really hard for my very extraverted hubby.)
Often, I use these fasts as reminders to pray and care for pressing issues, whether it be for the spirit or body. Maybe some of these are not considered true "fasts," but I do know that little, healthy changes here and there help to break up the hurriedness of everyday life.
To be totally honest, even on my best weeks, I'm not keeping up with everything on this list. But trying is a start, and applying even just one habit to my life has helped me to simply find the pace that best feeds my soul, drawing me deeper into the heart of God.
And I'm hoping that it might help you too, as you discover your own artisan pace.