I have a few favourite authors I love. To be honest I haven’t read their books, at least not to the end. I mostly read their blogs, every once in awhile. Can I even say they are my favourite authors? For sake of argument I will. Blogs are faster, easier to get to and instant. That fits my personality. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading & have a book with me at most times of the day “just in case” I have a few minutes to read. I am hard wired to start things fast, finish things early, and move on to bigger, better, faster and stronger. I keep the treasures I learn along the way tucked inside me in a place most acquaintances ad even friends don’t see and may never see.
The last year some of my favourite authors who are aroundish my age have been talking about learning to slow down, learning not to be loved by your work or because you were filling everyone else’s needs. They talk about setting boundaries but loving fiercely still. They speak of grace and how little they had in their 20’s and how much they have now. All such good stuff. Here’s the irony, I look at these authors and they have the lives I kind of sort of want to lead. They are doing the things I wanted to be doing in my late thirties. Yet I find that they are pulling back, wishing they didn’t push so hard and learning that other’s voices shouldn’t be their standard. Wait?! These people were living the life I wanted and they think they might have got it wrong. I fought jealousy on Instagram and Facebook and now they are saying maybe this isn’t quite what they want. Hmmm. Interesting.
Now partnering with my med school husband life looks dramatically different than I imagined. I have had to slow down when I felt like I was already going painfully slow. I have adjusted schedules and even dreams. Weirdly in that beautiful way that marriage & God have a way of doing I’m more excited about our future in health care. I’m not 100% sure how my gifts and talents collide but know they do. So while I’m not living the life of the authors & people I love and admire I am living the lessons they are sharing. At times, in fact I’ve been ahead of their learning a bit by sheer necessity. When that happened I felt boring, purposeless and slow. Now I’m reading others stories and am seeing maybe I wasn’t so off. Maybe life teaches us lessons as we go regardless of what we are doing or where we are. Slow isn’t my favourite posture; I prefer to call it prioritised. I have slowed down yes, but more I choose what’s really important to me, what will last, and what I think I’m made to do. And then I do those things, no longer apologising for not meeting other people’s needs or desires. Funnily enough that’s what these authors are challenging us readers to do.
How easy it is to compare ourselves to others and come up lacking when in that same moment your life might just be as good and right where you need to be. While I thought the worst thing was happening in my life: slowing down, the best learning was occurring. The most annoying situations, painful circumstances and fearful moments often do work in deep parts of our soul and find us not only not lacking but soaring in the life we have been graciously given. Deep breaths, trust yourself and let’s stop comparing our lives silently with others. Let’s live our story and believe that it’s a much needed and perfect story for this world. You wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t.