Unpacking felt like it consumed the first few days of living in our new home last week.
Part of that was truly necessity, as anyone who has moved knows. You need your underwear and the pan you want to cook dinner in; you need towels and a place to sit that isn’t the floor; you need a dress to wear to church and silverware, so you keep unpacking until you find them.
And emotionally, I have a hard time resting when my surroundings feel chaotic. Unpacking is needed for my own health, as well as decreasing frustration at not knowing where things are.
But as I worked to unpack and make our home feel like one, I noticed something about myself. It was a familiar something, but not all the way welcome.
I love productivity and have so little patience for the process.
I found myself more impatient with myself, my own mistakes, my own moments of weakness in the midst of unpacking.
I found myself more impatient with others when they did something different than expected or did something to slow me down as I felt myself making productivity my goal instead of love.
I found myself so easily forgetting what question I want to ask at the end of the day. Instead of did I love well today? it was turning back to the old, familiar question of how much did I get done today?
My soul felt like it was whispering to myself, please slow down. Don’t forget what really matters. Enjoy these people, these moments. They matter more than productivity and proving yourself. They are what makes a home, not whether or not your boxes are unpacked.
And when I say yes to slower,
yes to people,
yes to moments of enjoyment
yes to the grace that is mine for the taking
in the midst of unpacking and transition and change,
it seems counter-productive and scary and strange,
but the truth is I’m more healthy, more whole, more myself.
But, I want to be transparent. It was more of a fight that it usually is. I think transition can make those disciplines and healthy practices look different and can be that much harder to choose.
It was harder than usual to choose to breathe deep and drink my mug of pumpkin coffee hot and steaming.
It was harder than usual to sit unhurried on the porch, watching the cars and trucks go by.
It was harder than usual to choose tapioca pudding and a movie for a date-night-in.
It was harder than usual to slow myself to enjoy the sunset two nights in a row.
It was harder than usual to make space to seek the Lord, to read and pray.
It was harder than usual to reign in my thoughts and not let to-do lists consume me.
It was hard, but so, so worth it every time I chose what was better.
I’m grateful to have more to take away from our first week than survival and unpacking. I’m grateful for the slowing and the unproductive moments of enjoying the good gifts of this new home and each other.
I felt like the Lord brought to mind the familiar story of Mary and Martha. I see myself so much like Martha, “distracted with much serving.” (Luke 10:40) My heart is to serve my family, but I can quickly become preoccupied with striving and impatience, annoyed at inconvenience, like Martha, “anxious and troubled,” instead of a heart that is eager to love. I want to choose as Mary did; the good portion, or as Jesus puts it, “the one thing that is necessary.”
I’m grateful for this move, as my soul needed another reminder for the person I want to be; a woman who is loving and kind, able to slow down and enjoy the gifts Jesus gives; someone who is full of peace and truly rests at Jesus’ feet. I want to be the person who chooses the good and necessary, even when I have to fight hard to rest and love well.