busyness… some advent thoughts

He [God] gives you the gift of time, so you have to be still and wait.”  Anne Voskamp on Advent in The Greatest Gift.

At this month’s Women Unscripted: Busyness, we unpacked a lot about how hard and yet how important it is to realize a balance in our busyness.  The questions that were asked revealed that many of us struggle with this balance.

And during Advent – when we are supposed to be waiting for the coming of our Lord – it seems ridiculously hard in our culture to stay balanced.  There are so many great things to say “yes” to: social engagements, shopping lists, family obligations, end of year work demands.

For me, it is a radical discipline to step away from the contagious frenzy.  And like a good discipline, I find it awkward and uncomfortable.  Here are some of the unusual things I challenge myself with during this season to practice the discipline of waiting.

  • Try to avoid rushing at one point during your day.  Don’t run that yellow light.  Stop for that pedestrian about to cross the street.
  • Resist the temptation to do “one more thing” with the last few free moments you have.  Don’t toss in a load of laundry as you rush out the door.  Or run that last errand that will make you “almost late” to your next appointment, even though it is “right on the way.”
  • Deliberately choose the cashier that has the longest line.  While you are waiting, don’t look at your smartphone.  Just observe and even pray for folks around you as you wait.  If someone offers to have you move to another line simply say, “No, I’m ok waiting.”
  • Show up to a meeting early.  Again, just sit and wait.  Don’t pull out your phone.  Notice how strange it feels to just wait, doing nothing and being “unproductive.”  When others join you, maybe you all will engage in a casual conversation, rather than all being buried in devices until the meeting starts.
  • Sign your credit card purchases with “Merry Christmas.”  You really can! I heard a podcast on this!  Writing this takes longer for me than signing my name and is a constant reminder to me of the reason for the season.

These disciplines will probably only “cost” you 15 minutes a day. And sure, they are mostly symbolic. However, these daily disciplines that I sprinkle across my day keep me focused on Advent when the rest of the world is rushing by.

~Christine Jones