The Vortex of Life

Bringing the island home has been hard. Much harder than I anticipated. In fact, I realize now that to achieve that kind of simplicity and margin I have to fight for it.

Fight, and make some tough decisions.

On the island, those decisions were made for me: limited activities to do, limited volunteer positions to fill, limited things to clean and keep orderly, limited people to push for my time and energy.

At home, while I appreciate the fact that we do have options and more opportunities, I also lament how all of those options begin to suck me into the vortex of life, back to a place full of demands. A life that says “Busy must mean you’re important” and “If you have the time and/or space, why not?” Suddenly I become a slave to my calendar and activities, the ding of another email coming through, and people requiring my attention or time or ability. Not that I don’t want to give of those things, but I switch allegiance from my true Master to a slave driver who ties my worth to what I do.

Which leaves me with some tough decisions. How can I reduce the noise in my life so I can hear what my Lord is saying? What do I need to stop doing in order to make room for what He wants me to do? What physical things do I need to get out of my house that keep me from seeing Him? How can I dig my heels in and not get sucked back into the vortex of life?

Thoughts, anyone?



  1. For the past couple of years, basically since graduating from seminary, I’ve been able to live that sort of life. At first, I struggled with it. I thought it was God abandoning me, not using me. (And, if I must admit, am I not important?) Then I read Jeanne Guyon and realized it was God’s gift to me. So I began to arrange my world that way–simple and slow.
    Lately, I’m losing the simple and slow. They’re important things, and I feel like this is God’s stage for me now. It’s only for the stage, then I’m going back to island living! (Maybe that’s why I like you so much–I’m a beach girl all the way. My dream life is reading and writing on the beach all day. And maybe napping. And the occasional ocean swim.)

  2. 1. Learn to say the word ‘No’ without feeling guilty. From the PTA to VBS I have learned to say ‘No’. Some people don’t like it when they are told no (I don’t like it when people tell me no either!) but sometimes it’s hard to hear things you don’t want to hear!

    2. Set aside a day/family and stick to it. I was a calendar filler too, back in the day. The Mister and I realized that he and I weren’t connecting as well as we wanted so implemented Wednesday night date night. This night is not to be messed with. Yes, there have been a few exceptions in the 8 years since we started this but not many. It has helped my marriage and in turn my family as a whole to know that we can have one night to not have to be or do.

    3. Since my main ministry (and job) is the keeping of my home and the raising of family, I ask my self this questions before I commit to any long term volunteer projects : Will this build up my family/marriage or tear it down? Will it add or detract? Am I doing this because I feel obligated or because I want to be there?

    I really think that asking these questions has saved me from getting in over my head and helped me learn that although many things are good, I must choose what’s best.

    With that said, it has sometimes been hard to say no to things I would really like to do, but isn’t in the interest of the family.

    As Heather said, for everything there is a season!

  3. Isn’t it funny — an island is almost a perfect picture of what you are describing. It’s a place where, by virtue of geography (and mindset) we are somewhat isolated from the demands we allow into our everyday lives. We come back to the “mainland” and the routines we’ve established for ourselves, refreshed but longing to keep something of our barefoot island routine. As Anne Morrow Lindbergh suggested in her book Gifts From The Sea, I keep a few shells scattered through the house; they remind me of the choices I can make to maintain something of an “island mindset.”

  4. spaghettipie

    I love everyone’s input so far. The practical suggestions are helpful and encouraging. I think I have to do a lot of guarding my mind, too.

    H – Thanks for stopping by! Funny, someone else recently mentioned that very book to me!

  5. Krista

    Curious what you thought was the most valuable information. I get this feeling every January.
    A new post? Soon? ; )

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