Living an Unhurried Life in a Hurried World

 

Can we start a “How to Live an Unhurried Life” support group?

I’d be the first to sign up. You see, I’m not writing this post from an “I got this!” point of view. I simply want to learn how to squash the word “hurry” from my life and replace it with “holy”.

After all, our greatest example in living an unhurried but holy life is Jesus. Just ask Martha and Mary.

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary, and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” (John 11:1-7)

 

“So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.”

 

By the time Jesus arrived, John tells us that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. We all know how this story ends. But where does our story begin as we think about Jesus’ view of priorities, time, and schedule?

 

Yes, Jesus is God but the Holy Spirit resides within us, equipping us to choose an unhurried life.

 

Around our house, summertime is by far the most hurried. For Brian, there’s mowing almost four acres, keeping the pool from becoming an acid pit, and trimming shrubs that block swimmer’s views of the mountains. My summer pool hurry is more about shuffling around like crazy at the last minute trying to shove books, papers, a rogue power cord that stretches across the room, and anything else that our two and three-year-old grandchildren might find interesting, into a nearby bedroom. I know it’s not pretty, but it’s real.

Feeling the constant tug of hurry this summer, I put some practical grace-paced “to-do’s” into place that will last long after the final swim:

  • On Sunday nights, I take a few minutes to jot down meal ideas for the week, along with the needed ingredients. This helps to eliminate questions about dinner plans and the hurried feeling that ensues.
  • Also on Sunday nights, I look at my calendar and choose 2-3 top priorities for the week. I try to keep them in order: God, family, church, and ministry. No doubt, I sometimes fall flat, but I try to be intentional about it. Intentionality offers focus, which for me, offers peace in knowing I don’t have to accomplish it all (as if I could!).
  • No writing or creating on Sundays, giving the soul, body, and mind a rest.
  • Before bed, I make sure the square frying pan is readied for eggs and the tiny measuring cup is washed and prepped for coffee creamer. To most, it’s called a routine. To me it’s a gift, knowing the next morning starts with a clean slate, no pun intended.
  • I pray to remain open to His plans and “interruptions” for the day. I’m prone to zero in on a project and not raise my head for hours at a time. Trusting He will provide when plans change helps to eliminate the feeling of hurry or anxiousness.

 

Simple, right? Some of our most life-giving moments begin with small, doable steps.

 

Consider small steps you might put into place this week to help lessen the hurry as you move through your days with purpose and joy.

To help give you a boost, check out some of my favorite quotes from Alan Fadling’s, “An Unhurried Life…Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest”:

 

  • “Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.”
  • “I feel hurried inside even when nothing actually urgent is on my schedule. Hurry has become a habit: I find myself stuck in emergency mode.”
  • “I realize that an unhurried life is not a lazy life. In fact, it can be the exact opposite. Jesus was unhurried, but he was not lazy He was engaged, hardworking, purposeful, and conscientious.”
  • “I’m aware that God’s great commandment to us isn’t ‘Get more things done,’ but to love him with the whole of our energies, capacities, and passions to extend that love to others. And love isn’t rushed.”
  • “God is never in a hurry.”
  • “Being unhurried does not mean being unresponsive to divine nudges. Being unhurried enables us to notice those nudges and to respond.”
  • “I don’t think I’ll find my deepest joy in the number of people who liked something I said or did. I’m coming to believe that my greatest joy will be being part of an extended community of men and women with whom I’ve shared a journey with Jesus, living out his life in our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces and schools, and the church communities where God has planted us.”
  • “Despite Jesus’ example, I find it a continual temptation to do things that will get a lot of people excited about what I’m doing⎯and get them excited now!”
  • “Do our conversations about ministry revolve around growing numbers of participants, successful programs, or other easily measured outcomes? Or do we tell stories about particular people who are responding to Jesus, stories of seeds of gospel truth sown in people’s hearts that will grow into the fruit of Christlikeness?”
  • Told to John Ortberg during a transition in his ministry life: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

 

Now that’s a lot of unhurried goodness. How are you eliminating hurry from your life? Do tell!

Quots on an Unhurried Life

Want to keep the quotes handy? Here you go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Things to Pray for This Summer

25 Ways to Pray This Summer

Summer delivers sunshine and sweet tea but it can also present specific prayer needs.

Children are out of school, parents are working from their homes with children who are happy to be out of school (which is a whole different kind of happy!), and the hustle and bustle of summer life is cranking up.

 

So what better time to set prayers into motion?

 

Here are twenty-five prayer opportunities for our summer in no particular order. (Click here to download a PDF copy of the list below.)

 

  • To create meaningful memories with family.
  • For strangers we spot in the park.
  • Physical protection over our families.
  • Spiritual refreshment for our pastors and their families.
  • Wisdom for ways to bless a neighbor, UPS driver, postal carrier.
  • Men, women, and children on the mission field.
  • Spiritual revival in our hearts.
  • Spiritual revival in our families.
  • Spiritual revival in our country.
  • Opportunities to offer hospitality… to strangers.
  • Wisdom to simplify life.
  • How to be intentional in finding ways to serve others.
  • A desire to eat healthier.
  • A desire to move the body.
  • As you take a summer stroll around the neighborhood, pray for different neighbors each time.
  • For those who work in the heat.
  • For school teachers to have a refreshing summer.
  • For creativity to flourish.
  • To be more intentional in making the most of opportunities.
  • For those who live in areas directly affected by hurricanes.
  • For discernment in knowing how to build margin into our days.
  • To see interruptions as God’s opportunities.
  • To savor the season. If we learned anything from 2020 it’s that we can’t take tiny joys for granted.
  • To embrace rest — spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
  • Safe travels.

(Click here to download a PDF copy of the list above.)

So, what are your plans for the summer? Do you have a prayer idea to share? We’d love to know!

 

Additional resource:

How to Pray for Your Kids this Summer by Sam Crabtree

 

3 Prayerful Ways To Prepare for Unexpected Blessings

Three Powerful Ways to Prepare for Unexpected Blessings

Unexpected blessings catapult our faith into high gear and steady our walk of faith.

I didn’t realize how much so until last week when I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. As I’ve done over the past nine years, I showed up eager to fellowship with friends, meet new ones, and hone my craft.

 

But this year was different. And it had nothing to do with Covid.

 

At registration, I planned to attend everything the conference had to offer. But soon after arriving, I sensed God might be calling me to something unexpected. My southern-fried raising tried its best to guilt me into doing what I always did because, well, it was the expected, “right” thing to do.

 

I’m learning, however, the only thing right thing to do is to follow God’s plans.

 

So, instead of attending the a-mazing large group meetings and classes, I took a seat in the Clouds coffee shop and simply made myself available, with a lavender latte in hand.

During my time in the coffee shop, God:

  • brought dozens of attendees by, making it possible for me to share wholehearted smiles and hellos. (We had a lot of new attendees!)
  • allowed me to pray with others right there on the spot.
  • let me be a listening ear to several who were carrying heavy burdens. More than once, someone said, “I’m so thankful you were here.” And in return, I echoed the same sentiment to God.
  • enjoyed the laughter that surrounded the shellacked table.
  • blessed me with friendships with the volunteers working behind the counter.

 

Looking back, I see how a few specific prayers prepared me to follow God’s leading, resulting in unexpected blessings:

 

Three Prayerful Ways to Prepare for Unexpected Blessings:

 

  1. Pray for God’s agenda, period. In the weeks prior to the conference, I prayed for various things like staying healthy, the removal of any pride or selfishness from this ol’ heart, and being available for however He might want to use me as a conduit of His love and kindness.
  2. Pray for bravery. Because we can all agree that following God’s agenda and not ours (or anyone else’s) isn’t for wimps.
  3. Expect the Unexpected. I admit that when I first sensed the Holy Spirit pointing me to the cafe, I bristled a bit, knowing it might disappoint some people I love and respect. (My name is Cathy Baker and I am a recovering people pleaser.)

 

On the final day of the conference, a friend put this “Office of Cathy Baker” sign on the cafe table. Here’s one of fourteen pictures taken in my “office” *smile*. It’s a favorite because it includes Pepper Basham, along with her latest release, Hope Within the Pages (Doors to the Past).

 

(I’m sharing my various visitors to the “office” on Facebook over the next week or two. I’d love for you to stop by and say hello!)

 

Do you sense God might be calling you to serve Him in an unexpected, possibly out-of-the-norm kind of way? We’d love to know!

Opportunites to Connect in a Disconnected World

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We’re a bunch of women who love Jesus and desire to encourage and be encouraged through biblical fellowship.

Each day, holy pauses are shared in the form of prayer, God’s Word, gatherings, or free downloads that help us to connect (or re-connect) with God and others.

We believe in the power of intentional holy pauses in our day and we’d love for you to join us!

 

 

5 Ways Teenagers Need Us to Pray for Them

Five Ways to Pray for Teenagers

Whether they know it or not, today’s teenagers face a formidable enemy.

They always have. After all, it’s during the teen years we form friendships, notice every pimple, start dating, and unfortunately, come face-to-face with the mean girls. But our culture has never been as anti-Christian as it is today, dismissing (even ridiculing) truth and accepting happiness as its “holy grail”.

 

Teenagers need us to stand in the gap on their behalf. If not us, then who?

 

Having reflected on my own teen years and the damage left behind in my twenties, I had no wisdom to offer my own two sons. So when I became a Christ-follower at twenty-seven (they were two and six), one of the first things I did was to begin prayer journaling. In it, I prayed a variety of prayers for them, many of which have come to fruition, now decades later, thanks be to Jesus alone.

 

It’s never too soon to start praying for our children, and it’s also never too late.

 

1. Protection

The enemy aims for the mind because if he captures it, the rest is gravy. We can pray for a hedge of protection around their minds ⏤ what they see and listen to.

See: That they’ll have no desire to view pornography, and will be protected from seeing it or encouraged to view it. And if/when they view harmful things, that they’ll repent quickly and not believe the lie that it’s who they’ve become. May they “see” and believe in God’s nearness instead.

Listen: That he/she will have the desire to fill their ears with godly influences ⏤ people, music, podcasts, etc.

 

2. To know and believe they are loved by parents

Rebellion has been around since the first piece of fruit was plucked from the tree. Similarly, the enemy whispers in our teenager’s ears, does your mom/dad really love you, care for you, and have your best interest in mind? When praying for our teens, we join forces with the One who created them and knows how to fight this battle. We can pray for the truth they’ve been taught to penetrate the lies, for the Lord to surround them with godly people who will speak truth into their lives, and for them to see us as we are ⏤ broken and scarred, but relentless in our love for them. If we need to ask for their forgiveness or make a wrong right, then we humbly do this, demonstrating what love is truly about ⏤ not being right, but humble.

 

3. Purity

I wish I’d known as a teenager that remaining sexually pure was God’s way of protecting me, not depriving me. It’s why I fervently prayed for my boys to remain pure so they could enjoy all the benefits and blessings that naturally flow from obedience. We pray specifically for God to lead our sons and daughters to dates/spouses with the same desire to remain pure before they are married. That both would have a greater desire to honor God than temporary pleasure.

 

4. Wisdom

Yes, for our teens, but mostly for us ⏤ parents, grandparents, and influencers. For wisdom to know how to discipline, when to speak and when to remain silent, and utter dependence on God for it. (“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5)

 

5. To hunger and thirst for God

Because we know that if this happens, all else falls into place. (“Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33)

 

In March, I shared this post on praying for our children and also offered a free download for thirty-one specific prayers. These same requests are perfect to also pray for teenagers. In addition, we share weekly prayer prompts in our Creative Pauses Facebook group. We’d love for you to join us!

What’s one way you’re praying for your teen, or have prayed?

Want these prayers at your fingertips? **Download a PDF copy of the above prayer prompts here.

Additional resources:

 

 

15 Things I’m Loving Right Now (And You Might Too)

God and family top every love list ever written.

With that as my starting point, I thought it might be fun to share fifteen random things I’m currently lovin’. If you decide to do something similar on your site, tag me so I can enjoy yours in return.

(Some are affiliate links which simply means I may receive a small compensation but it doesn’t add anything to your cost.)

Now, let’s get started!

 

1.

How We Love Study / Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage by Milan & Kay Yerkovich. Brian and I are working through the book/workbook. We appreciate how the authors point out that marriages don’t actually begin at the altar but rather, in our childhood. It’s biblically-based and doesn’t bash parents (because what parent hasn’t made mistakes?). It does, however, open up communication and foster understanding.

2.

The Creative Pauses Facebook Group. As an extension of the Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill community, this group offers a place to converse, encourage, and inspire. It’s a space to pause, catch your breath, and be filled with biblical truth through fun and meaningful ways. We’d love for you to join us!

3.

Thymes Pine Needle Frasier Fir candle. This crisp scent of cedar drifts through our home year-round. Its fragrance so bright I can almost hear branches breaking every time I breathe in. Sweet mercy, where’s my flame lighter?

4.

The Tiny House on the Hill. The last time I wrote a similar post, the tiny house was but a dream. In 2019, it became a reality thanks to an awesome husband and one and a half year’s worth of weekends. Now, it’s used for writing, reading, Zoom meetings, and so much more. What a blessing!

5.

Travel with God Journal. I wrote about it here and mentioned it in a recent interview because God continues to awaken me to His work and ways through it.

6.

The Blue Ridge Mountains Christians Writers Conference. Seeing friends I’ve not seen since 2019, sipping coffee in The Clouds, spiffing up my skills, and worshipping day and night. What’s there not to love?

7.

My “Rain…Coffee…Books” sweatshirt. Because, well, that pretty much sums it up right there.

8.

Les Miserables/An Engaging Visual Journal by Victor Hugo. It was a gift ⏤ and what a gift! Lovely illustrations pepper the pages, bringing this classic to life.

9.

Proverbs. The old adage may be, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” but I say, “A Proverb a day keeps poor choices at bay.”

10.

Starbucks Iced Matcha Latte. This green powder cranks up the brainpower without the jitters.

11.

Treadmill. Brian’s doctor recently reminded us that to move is to live so we set aside our space concerns and ordered an inexpensive but get-it-done treadmill. It sits as pretty as you please in our den but it can fold in half and be rolled into the hallway when needed.

12.

“Ooly” Color Write Fountain Pens. This pack of pens is pure delight! The colors are beautiful, vivid, and the ink flows across the page like glass. The best part? I purchased them at my favorite shop in Black Mountain, NC. See #13.

13.

Sassafrass on Sutton. This is my favorite gift/book shop, hands down. This hundred + year-old store sits in the downtown area and holds a floor of books, literary goodies, and items I’ve not seen elsewhere.

14.

Zinc gummies. The blackberry-ish flavor tastes almost like dessert. Yumilicious + strong immunity = score!

15.

Eucalyptus shower spray. This spray had me at the first spritz. Immediately, I transported back to the “eucalyptus room” in a ladies spa where my friends and I used to sit on tiny-sized ocean blue tiles inside a large glass room filled with billows of fragrant steam. Come to think of it, maybe it’s the mingling of eucalyptus and memories that make this shower spray such a delight.

 

So, what’s something you’re lovin’ these days? 

 

How to Be Kind to Yourself + Free Scripture Cards

We’re often quick to offer kindness to others, but what about ourselves?

The fact that I winced when the idea for this post popped up is just one indicator that I have a lot of growing to do in this area. Maybe it’s because I was raised not to talk about myself. Just try bragging about how groovy that blue eyeshadow looked (hey, it was the 70’s!) and any southerner knew what was coming next⏤the ol’ side glance with a “bless her heart, she knows better” expression.

The silent “rule” of never speaking about one’s self in a positive light was engrained in my culture as deeply as cornbread and buttermilk. And that’s doggone deep!

These days, I show myself a little kindness by swinging by Starbucks for a brown sugar espresso after a long day of writing. But when it comes to offering myself kindness after repenting from something I said, or not doing something “normal” women do, like keeping everything tidy, kindness often stops short.

 

Like a bully, I beat myself up and rattle off a string of names I’d never call anyone else.

 

Recently, when talking with a friend who had a few “bruises” of her own, I suggested she be kind to herself. Those words were not meant for her ears only. I needed them, and maybe you do too. Be kind to yourself.

 

So, how can we offer ourselves kindness?

I think it begins, as does every part of life, with remembering who we are in Christ.

  • Receive God’s grace. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) A high cost was paid for the privilege of receiving God’s unmerited favor. I’m learning how to sit still until God’s grace settles in the soul to the point of peace. Then, I thank God and move on!
  • Practice what we preach. How would we help another woman who continues to beat herself up even after she’s repented and received God’s forgiveness for a particular action?
  • Align our expectations with God’s Word. Does God call us to be a perfect wife, mom, grandmother, or friend? Thankfully, no, but He does come alongside us, full of mercy and compassion, and shows us how to be who we can’t be without Him. If God doesn’t place the burden of perfection on us in these roles, why do we?
  • Discover the “why” behind the action that leaves us feeling less-than, and don’t shy away from it. Does my upbringing play a part in why I’m so hard on myself? Have I set unrealistic expectations on myself based on the culture? Am I giving others the power to determine how I feel about myself? Some of these may require biblical counseling, or maybe just some time set apart for prayer, asking God for wisdom. (James 1:5)

 

Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:31 (emphasis mine)

How to be kind to yourself

Being kind to ourselves paves the way for us to be even kinder to others.

 

And kindness never goes out of style.

A fun way to remember to be kind to ourselves is to carry or display a scripture card…so I’m giving you four. Enjoy your PDF download!

Another way to embed the message of kindness into our hearts is to pause for two minutes and soak in this song by Andrew Peterson. Oh, to know and receive the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father!

 

 

So, how do you show yourself kindness? Please share in the comment section below!

Want a copy to keep for future reference? Here’s a PDF download of today’s post.

 

How to Pray for our Children

 

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