Friday, October 9, 2015

A Habit of Hurrying

 I remember, over a year ago, finally pausing one day in my tracks as I heard myself tell the kids to "Hurry up!" for the hundredth time that hour. 
"Hurry up, guys, you've been picking out clothes for ten minutes!"   
"Kids, hurry up and get your shoes on, we're about to leave."   
"Guys, will you please hurry up and get buckled, we're gonna be late!"  
"Sis, hurry up and give that to your brother!"  
"Stop ignoring me! Hurry up and get your stuff picked up!!!"
Without pause, without fail, "Hurry up!" had become my f-word. I would insert it anywhere and everywhere there was a pause in my breath, just for added emphasis. It would slur together and come out of my mouth, whether I meant for it to or not. A habit of hurrying. 

I realized that even if we weren't really in a rush, rushing had become a way of life. Even if we weren't in any danger of being late for something, "Hurry up!" was my automatic default. Perhaps it was my way of keeping control or my code for "Not Good Enough." It was certainly the overflow of my own anxious, rushing heart, the remnants of decades of striving and perfecting. 

When I first heard that slurring of "Hurry up!" come gushing from my mouth last Spring, I grew sick with the awareness of it. I became conscious of how often I inserted those two tiny words into my communication with the kids. I realized that I was teaching my kids that life was meant to be lived in fast forward, that if they weren't in a semi-panicked state, they weren't moving fast enough. And I realized, after a visit to Urgent Care for chest pains, that something had to change. 

So I disciplined myself to completely remove the phrase "Hurry up!" from my communication with the kids. In that season of increased awareness, I wrestled with all the rushing and wrote this blog post, When Our Kids Are Asking Us To Slow Down. For several months, I kept a gratitude journal, forcing myself to slow down and see. Forcing myself to own every "Hurry up!" and to deal with their presence in my life. For a few months anyways. 
Counting the ways I am grateful helped. 
Telling my stories helped. 
Mindfully stopping & breathing helped.
But the truth is, productivity has long been my drug of choice and although I'd like to think of myself as a Recovering Perfectionist, old habits die hard. As much as all the counting and storytelling and breathing has truly helped, saying "hurrying was my way" is not very accurate...because hurrying, all to often, is the habit of my life. Hurrying is a habit I wrestle with just about every day. 

Many days I get it right and stop long enough to look directly into those gorgeous brown eyes, but other days I find myself still rushing, hushing and willing my kids and anyone else around to do things faster, better, more efficiently. Many days I forget to stop and count, I forget to pause and see, I forget that I have a choice and that every day doesn't have to be a rush.

That's why, when I picked up Rachel Safford's new book, Hands Free Life, and began reading it, I barely made it to page three before I found myself suffocating from the lump of camaraderie and recognition growing in my throat. As I read, "It's time you lay your head on your pillow at night knowing you achieved something of significance - not in terms of societal standards, but in terms of the light in your child's eyes, the curve of your spouse's lips, and the beat of your very own heart." I knew Safford was speaking to me. 

And something about knowing that there are others who understand our struggle, others who are courageously battling their urge to hurry and to perfect and to check just one more box, gives us the courage to keep fighting our own battles. It's why telling our stories is so powerful. It's why I write on this blog at all: To show you my struggles, and sometimes my wins. To flesh out all the joys and challenges of this journey toward whole-hearted living. And to tell you: You are not alone. 

Together, let's give up the phrase "Hurry up!" for good, and rest into the presence of each beautiful moment that unfolds before us. 

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