Last night, as I was scanning Instagram, I came to a halt when I saw this post by Karen Stott. In Scrabble letters laid out in front of me...
"Come to me all who are weary, and I will give you rest."
Before I even read what she had written, I paused and let those words seep into the deepest parts of my soul. They were like a breath of fresh air.
All too often, especially in the world of small business owners, it is our philosophy that in order to be successful, you must hustle... and if you're already hustling, you better hustle a little harder. We take pride in saying that we're busy, because that must mean we're doing pretty good... living the dream, making big $$$. On any given day, I can open Pinterest and be greeted with 10 different posts about how the secret to success and achieving your dreams is to hustle.
Now, I realize that there are seasons of running and growing a business that require a little elbow grease. For anyone in the wedding photography business, you, like me, are probably in the thick of one of those times right now. If it's fall, you can bank on the fact that almost any photographer you know is up to their neck in editing October weddings and shooting pretty autumn engagement sessions. I don't believe there's anything wrong with a little hard work.
The problem here is not hard work, it is how much we, as a society, undervalue the other part of success: REST. Being quiet, completely still, stepping away from the chaos of work or family or social media, and allowing ourselves room to LISTEN. To listen to our husbands who we've only heard every third word from because we're too busy thinking about all we need to accomplish tomorrow, to listen to our friends who deserve our full attention (not someone who is only halfway listening sitting at their computer checking Facebook while on the phone trying to respond with "right" or "definitely" at the appropriate times), to listen to our gut, and to allow ourselves to turn to prayer instead of simply forging ahead blindly.
Honestly, it makes me a little sick to know I'm guilty of drowning out those voices on a daily basis.
I think we have such a hard time grasping this concept because rest, or even just focusing on a single act instead of multi-tasking, feels counter-productive... after all, we have clients waiting on us and emails to be answered and kids to be fed and (you fill-in-the-blank). But if you're like me, most mistakes are made when I refuse to take a good old-fashioned adult time-out. If I'd just taken a few seconds to pause, close my eyes, and take three deep breaths, I'd be thinking a whole lot clearer. I'd give myself space to hear that still, small voice. I might respond to someone with a little more grace and kindness. I wouldn't spend the money that wasn't in the budget on yet another dress from Anthropologie.com that I only kind of like to have that box of regret arrive on my doorstep a few days later. I'd make a business decision based on my own goals and values instead of following everyone else's lead. I'd start being less anxious about what I think needs to or might happen and embracing the truth that the road ahead has already been paved for me and my needs are met. I'd avoid a lot of heartache, guilt, and remorse, and even simply save myself time in the long run.
Real rest - the kind that gives you clarity and a renewed energy - is not procrastination or laziness... it's what athletes and trainers call "active rest." If you aren't familiar with this term, active rest refers to following a competition or vigorous workout with low intensity exercises in order to give your body time to recover without causing more damage or undoing all your hard work. It's not lazy or careless, and it doesn't mean that they couldn't go full speed if they wanted to - it's intentional.
For more encouragement and inspiration, follow along on our brand new Instagram account.
Happy weekend, friends!!