My husband and I are attempting our first staycation ever this month. We made lists of places we want to go, adventures we want to take, and things we want to avoid. Some of our not to do’s include:
- No checking email
- No working from home
- No worrying
- No fighting
- No cleaning
- No laundry (can I hear an amen?)
- No checking social media
- Limited computer time
- Limited phone time
Yesterday our adventure was to a pottery store where you select an item and paint it. My husband Caleb and I walked through the different sections of the store: home, office, kitchen, Thanksgiving, and others. After some time, my husband decided on his future creation, a Christmas tree that could hold a tea light candle inside.
I, however, still wandered around the store, picking up an item only to place it back and walk to another part of the store. I struggled because each piece was a blank canvas, no template or guidelines for me to follow. How could I make a decision about what to paint if I couldn’t even visualize what it should look like? After some time, I finally resolved to decorate an angel ornament and joined Caleb to pick our paint colors.
Caleb’s creative brain went to work, quickly picking out his colors. I kept staring at the pegboard of colors, asking Caleb his thoughts on my color scheme to validate my selections.
After what seemed like an hour, we sat down to paint our pieces. My anxiety subsided as I listened to the quiet worship music playing over the speakers. This was the only noise throughout the store since it was only the employee, Caleb and me, and another painter. We sat in silence, enjoying our own worlds. I selected my brushes and began painting each color one at a time. As we continued painting, each stroke more cathartic than the last. We experienced pure tranquility, something we had not felt in a long time.
We had both been working full-time jobs and essentially serving part-time with our church. With little to no rest, it seemed like previous vacations were simply like a quick stop at the gas station to fill up before going to our next destination. We truly experienced the difference between living with margin versus living with limitation like Solomon discusses in Ecclesiastes 4.
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. – Ecclesiastes 4:4-6
With social media continually reminding us of what we don’t have, who we’re not close to, and what we aren’t doing, we increase our to-do list and habitually review Instagram again to see how we pair up. We work long hours, checking email in the office and at the kitchen table, to ensure that we can buy a bigger house and a newer vehicle. We rush through our house to clean before we have others over because their home is always so put together when we visit.
Is social media bad? Not always. Is working an intense job wrong? No. Is cleaning our home a sin? No. But when we begin to place the urgent before the important we soon find ourselves exhausted, spent, and ruined.
When was the last time you experienced tranquility? When was the last time you allowed yourself to create something? I’m not talking about creating an excel spreadsheet or creating new appointments on your calendar. I’m talking about creating something that’s messy. Creating something that doesn’t have a template to follow so when it’s time for the end product, you can’t be disappointed because there were no expectations to compare with the end product.
If you find yourself living with two handfuls, where can you make some adjustments in your schedule? Your finances? Your relationships? Because the reality is if we continue to live with two handfuls, we will ultimately ruin ourselves. Our sanity, our friendships, our family, our peace. As we intentionally pursue tranquility, we will be amazed how different our body, spirit, and soul feel.