slow down

There we sat, sipping our sweet teas and waiting for our food to arrive. Going to a restaurant is usually a special time for our family.  It’s one way we can  slow down and connect with each other. It gives mom a break and it’s a time for us to all relax and enjoy each other’s company. Usually dad grabs a crayon and plays the little games printed on the kids’ menu with the little one. We chat, tell a few jokes, share a few cool ideas, and just have a nice time.

But something was different this time. I noticed it was sort of quiet. That’s when I also noticed that our eyes were not turned toward each other as usual, but turned down, each focusing on our chosen electronic devises.

Why do we do that?

Modern technology has given us the ability to be in contact with each other more regularly and in more ways than ever before. Social media allows us to communicate about everything from what we had for dinner to deeply held religious and political views. We can share photos and opinions with hundreds of our friends at once. Yet somehow, we’re becoming more and more detached. Relationships are getting shallower instead of deeper, life seems to be moving at light speed, and fewer and fewer of us feel deeply satisfied with our daily lives.

Why do we sit at a table in a restaurant and focus more on our smart phones than each other? Is it because we’re so busy keeping the hamster wheel of modern life spinning that we don’t really experience anything different enough to mention it in conversation? We run from one activity to the next, afraid to say “no”, too busy for what matters most. And then when we do have an opportunity  to connect with those we love, we don’t remember how to have an interesting conversation.

Why are we cramming our schedules so full that we no longer have time to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones? Why are we letting the tail wag the dog?

I for one am not willing to let the hurried nature of our culture and the shallow communication that comes from social media steal what is most precious to me: deep, satisfying relationships with family and friends. (<–Tweet that)

Sometimes when my husband comes home and asks me how my day was, I respond,  “Same as ever.” It can be tempting to think that if I add some kind of activity to my schedule I’ll have something interesting to talk about. But that would just make matters worse. It’s not that I don’t have anything to do (believe me, I have plenty) or that nothing interesting is happening. It’s more accurate to say that I’m missing the heart of most of it. I’m brushing through the practicalities of my day without letting the beauty touch my heart.

What I really need to do is just slow down and make sure that I’m “all in” with the things that I choose to do on any given day. Then there will be plenty to talk about. Being “all in” includes looking at him when he asks me how my day was.

Just slowing down and taking the time to really connect reveals that life is interesting, that there is a lot to talk about, and that relationships are our most precious gift.

(Tweet this–>)When you’re too busy, you go through life just brushing the surface on each of your experiences. Your body is there, but your mind is so engaged with everything else that it doesn’t make it to the party! And life becomes rushed… and boring.

I’m making a commitment not to let that happen. Won’t you join me?

One of my favorite things to do is to watch through the window as my husband and kids play together outside. This usually happens while I’m washing the dinner dishes or working at the dining room table. I love these moments. It’s amazing  how much more I see when I can’t hear. (And there are times when I get up and go outside to participate in some way, even if I just sit on the swing, knowing my little boy will eventually wind up next to me with a sweet story to tell.)

This week, do something that allows you to experience life in a new way; something that lets you connect with the beauty that is all around you:

  • Watch through the window as your kids play.
  • Go for a walk when it’s super cold outside, or in the rain.
  • Play a board game with your smart phone turned off.
  • Record your children playing, laughing, singing, etc. and listen later.
  • Read a life-changing book instead of scrolling through your newsfeed.
  • Help your daughter make her bed, and enjoy a nice conversation with her at the same time.

Life is happening. And while being connected on social media and participating in various activities are not necessarily bad things, we need to keep our perspective on what’s really gratifying. We easily glide through screens of social media,and fill our schedule with events.  But it’s a lot more fun to cruise the evening streets with your spouse, sharing an ice cream; or swing with a child  on your lap; or to sit in the sunrise with a devotional book and a soundtrack of songbirds and leaves bathed in a morning breeze.

So wake up, oh sleepwalker. Put that device in sleep mode, say “no” to a few activities, and let’s choose to live a little more this week than we did last week.



And speaking of reading life-changing books; Have you signed up for my mailing list? I’m about to change the free book that I give away. If you sign up now, you’ll get both the current one (Empowered Living; How God Equips and Empowers you to be what He calls you to be) and the new one, which is a pack of printable household management pages. Just enter your info in the box at the top of the page where it says Sign up! 

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /


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