“Take time to smell the roses.”
It’s a well-worn phrase. But phrases like that endure for generations because their wisdom is so profound. In this case, that simple bit of near poetry reminds us that we tend to miss the richness all around us because we rush so quickly by the flowers of life that we never notice their color, their beauty, or their wondrous fragrance.
Popular guest, Vicki Courtney, told me of one springtime when she was pushing her grandson along in his stroller. All along their route, the wildflowers were in full bloom.
He asked, “Mimi, can I smell the fowders?”
The fowders? The flowers.
Vicki set him in the grass and, together, they picked wildflowers for his mom, for his aunts, and for everyone in the family.
As she was pushing him back home, Vicki thought to herself, “Did I miss similar moments with my own children because I was too busy and gave in to the urgency of all that was going on in life?”
With that thought, came a sadness, a sense of regret of all she wished she’d done differently. If she could go back and raise her children again, she would adopt a slower pace for her life and create more margin in her days. She wouldn’t say “yes” to so many career opportunities that she’d have no time to pick wildflowers with her children.
Then came the questions. Why had she felt so driven to fill every empty spot on her schedule? What inner hunger was busyness satisfying? Why couldn’t she believe more deeply that God valued her just for being who she was?
We could all probably ask ourselves the same questions.
But are the reasons behind our busyness really all that mysterious? The world teaches us every day in many different ways that what is wanted from us is our performance.
Doing helps us feel wanted, needed, and valued. It’s often how we feel important and how we find our sense of worth.
But our frantic pace of life comes at a cost. We’ll run ourselves ragged saying “yes” to too many things, searching for scraps of approval from others … and from God.
Our drivenness can become like a badge of honor that we wear. We take pride in telling people how full our schedules are. We’ll jokingly tell people, “I’d give anything to be bored,” or “If only there were more hours in the day.” And underneath it all there’s almost a ring of pride because if our calendar is full it means that I’m important and that other people need me.
It’s probably why so many of us can relate to the story of Mary and Martha. We want to be Mary and sit at Jesus feet, soaking up every word He speaks. But we see ourselves more naturally as Martha, who frantically scrambled around her home with the mindset of, “If not me, then who? If I don’t prepare this meal, then who is going to do it?”
Can you relate to her plight? I know I sometimes can. But before we rush in to defend her too quickly, we should remember that Jesus Himself said that she was “anxious and troubled by many things” and “one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:41,42).
God speaks to our significance and worth entirely differently than the world does. Our worth isn’t found in our doing, but in our being in Christ. The well-known words of Psalm 23 portray what it looks like to rest in the Lord. It’s one of the most profound passages in Scripture with images of quiet waters and green pastures.
Almost reminds you of sitting in the grass and picking wildflowers, doesn’t it?
If you’re having difficulty taking time to “smell the roses,” you’ll find plenty of encouragement in our conversation tomorrow on “Focus on the Family” with Vicki Courtney. Always a popular guest, Vicki will offer helpful suggestions and timely wisdom to help you find your value in Christ and slow down the pace of your life.
We’ll also talk about how to find rest when you’re not busy because you can’t say no, but because you have a chronically sick child that demands your attention; or because a family member has passed away, and you have to put in longer hours just to keep up with the bills; or because financial pressures are taking their toll; or because you’re a single parent.
God’s offer of true rest is meant for all of us, no matter why we struggle to find it. Join us tomorrow on your local radio station. Or tune in anytime online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.