“Is this then what happens to woman? All her instinct as a woman-the eternal nourisher of children, of men, of society-demands that she give. Her time, her energy, her creativeness drain out into these channels if there is any chance, any leak. Traditionally we are taught and long, to give where it is needed-and immediately. Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill to the brim.”
This quote could have been written by any woman today, but in fact it is taken from Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh in 1955. What she said 58 years ago is as true today as it was then. I always thought busyness was a 21st century plague. Everyone bemoans how busy they are running from point A to point B, and then back to point A again. It’s relentless and wears a person down. What Lindbergh shows us that in order to be the best mom, wife, friend, or person we can be, we have to fill ourselves up instead of constantly giving pieces of ourselves away.
Lindbergh knows about busyness. She was a mother of 5 kids, a writer, wife of Charles Lindbergh, and a pilot and explorer in her own right. She lived life to the fullest, but also knew how to be quiet, still, and create.
Reading her essays has me thinking, why are we so busy? Why can’t we slow down and enjoy the quiet moments? Why can’t we find an hour or even 10 minutes to sit quietly and just be still?
What would we have to give up? What would we have to put aside? What would we have to say no to?
Reading her essays convicts me. Lindbergh was a believer, and she used her quiet time to sit with God. She believed, this is especially true for women, that we fill ourselves up when we spend time each day quietly with God. When we do that, we become better mothers, better, wives, better friends, and better people. No longer do we long for quiet moments, because we have them and we use the time to the fullest.
But in order to fill ourselves up, there are things we have to let go.
What do you need to let go?
What will happen when you give yourself permission to just sit and be? Who might you become? What might you be able to give then?
Me, I want that life she talks about. Her first step is being still. Then she talks about allowing yourself an hour to create each day. Whatever format you want, whatever skill you have. Just create. The creation comes from stillness. And in creation we fulfill the person we are meant to be. And when we are the person we are meant to be, our bodies are refreshed, our minds are full to the brim, and we are able to pour out our gifts to other people. Instead of letting bits and pieces of us leak out when there is very little left to give.
My first challenge to you is to find space in your life. It may be easy for some, and harder for others. Look at your life and all your obligations and see what you can let go. Someone might get upset. That is okay. It may seem impossible to find one thing that can slip away. Pray about it, think about it, and then let it go.
Because that small space will open up a whole new world.