It is a Friday afternoon, and I am part of an encounter session at Global Leadership Academy. Peaceful music plays in the background, but I do not have peace. I am restless, fidgety, overwhelmed. I have too many plans, projects, and ideas that I still want to tackle. But there’s so little time, and I can’t seem to find enough time to do everything that I want to do. We are a small group of eight people, and we are lying on the floor with our eyes closed. Emmé leads us into an imaginative stimulation:
‘Keep your eyes closed. Imagine you are deep in the woods.
You walk down the path, and you take in the beautiful nature surrounding you.
You notice a bridge over water. It is time to cross it.
As you take your first steps over the bridge, you -’
In my imagination, I can see the woods clearly. I love being in nature; it is where I feel the most content. But this bridge that is before me – I do not want to cross it. Instead, I am fixated on the water rushing underneath it, the strong current inviting me in. As I step into the river, I want to swim in it.
But wait – I am getting ahead of myself. First, let me give you a bit of a back story.
Today I celebrated a milestone: It’s been five months since I came to Jeffrey’s Bay.
In a conversation with Lucy this previous Sunday, she shared with me: ‘I’ve only been back in Jbay for one week, but it already feels like a month has passed.’ She then added, ‘Life in Jeffrey’s is much slower. And it’s beautiful.’
Yes, it is indeed beautiful.
For I am experiencing life in Jeffrey’s Bay exactly like that: I’ve been here only five months, but it feels like five years have already passed. And it’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing.
I cannot help but wonder if that’s how we were meant to live our lives: with intention, slow-paced, breathing deeply. Life is not meant to live in a hurry.
I’ve come to realize that it truly is the small moments of the day that makes life special and worth living. But to be able to do that, we have to stop, breathe and smell the ocean breeze.
And so I sleep late every morning, I take my time to make breakfast, I play with my cat, I go for long walks on the beach. I collect shells, take them home, read up on them, learn their names.
I write my blogs, I write in my journal, I write outlines for stories. I listen to music, I watch podcasts and inspiring Netflix shows. I read magazines, books, and website articles.
After seasons upon seasons of intense creative droughts and wildernesses, I am starting to blossom again.
Jeffrey’s Bay has two strong prophetic words over it: It’s called Dorp van Drome (Town of Dreams), and it has the promise of restoration written all over it.
But I’ve also noticed that along with it, comes a spirit of busyness.
Bill Johnson recently said in one of his Bethel sermons, ‘Busyness is artificial significance.’
Within the five months that I’ve been here, there have been numerous opportunities for me to become busy. Every single time the opportunity would knock on my door, I had to stop myself from opening the door, welcoming it in, and automatically saying, ‘Yes! With all my heart, yes! Of course, I will do it!’
It’s as if the Lord is gently pulling me back and reminding me of the season that I’m in. And it is not to be a season of busyness.
It’s a season of saying yes to the one mandate He has given me.
It’s incredibly hard for me to say no.
The world tells me: What if this opportunity brings more opportunities…?
My Father tells me: The only opportunity you need right now is to write your heart out.
The world suggests: What if this open door connects you with people that you will need in the future…?
Jesus suggests: The only connection you need right now is with Me, the Father and Holy Spirit.
The world screams: Busyness means you are important!
Holy Spirit whispers: In the quiet, you will find Me.
I’m learning to say no. Surprisingly, I’m starting to love it.
The old Vicki used to walk through every single door that opened up. The old Vicki would grasp every opportunity with both hands.
I believed the lie that I needed to be busy in order to have a significant life.
Every time I’ve said no these past few months, I would feel extremely guilty for doing so. I felt like I was letting others ‘down.’ But… I also felt this immense wave of relief.
And that’s exactly how we’re supposed to feel with every decision that we make. When we say yes or no, how do we feel? Excited? Energized? At peace? Or do we feel heavy, like we know that we’re going to spend our time with something that we already knew Holy Spirit didn’t designate for us in this season that we’re in…?
Here’s a couple of things I’ve had to say no to these past five months:
- Free training in videography and graphic design.
- A charity organization asking me to become their ambassador.
- Training at a radio station to become a presenter
- Writing a church’s monthly newsletter.
- Sponsorship from a fitness website to become a spokesperson.
- Doing children’s church on Sundays.
It’s not necessarily bad things that come our way, but it’s simply not the right thing to be doing in this season. It might look like a small thing we’re saying yes to, but eventually, it can become a big yes in our lives, and then that ‘yes’ eats up almost all of our lives. Sometimes even a couple of small ‘yeses’ can result in a massive gap in our time, and before we know it, a year has gone by and we feel like we’ve got nothing to show for it.
But it’s simply mismanagement of our time. What do you need to say no to, so you can say yes to the one single thing you were meant to do in this season of your life?
What are you currently saying yes to in this season? Is it in line with your actual yes? When we know what our yes are, we know what we need to say no for.
‘How are you doing?’ we ask when greeting each other.
‘I’ve been good; I’ve been really busy,’ most of us will reply.
And we applaud that as if it’s something to strive for.
For some reason, we think that being busy is a good thing. It signifies that we are living our lives in a worthwhile way. But I believe that is a lie the world is selling us. For in becoming too busy, we don’t have the time for things that our soul really craves, what our spirit is crying out for.
My soul craves stillness. It craves slow, quality living. It craves meaningful conversations, especially deep topics, not the hurried kind. I want to ponder life and all it has to offer. I want to drink from the cup of revelation and rhema words. I want to ponder on the prophetic words on my life, and I want to steward them wisely.
My heart craves a connection to myself, to others. My heart is crying out to be heard, for me to connect to my emotions and memories. To work through traumas, things I have blocked, to remember great moments I have long forgotten.
My spirit craves to connect to Holy Spirit, for new things to be revealed. For joy to be restored, a happy and light relationship with Father God and Jesus. To converse, to ask questions, to walk through this life together. To be in tune with what the Trinity wants to reveal to me.
My body craves time spent in nature, eating healthy, sustainable food. To drink water, to nourish my flesh. To take long walks on the beach, to start dancing again. To be proud of my body again.
I’ve come to notice that there’s something different about Sundays. It’s as if the whole town breathes a sigh of relief, saying, ‘It’s finally the day of rest.’
Because I’ve started to stop and smell the ocean breeze, I’ve also become much more sensitive to how nature reacts towards things, and how the atmosphere responds. It’s especially evident on Sundays. It’s as if the whole earth is breathing out a sigh of relief and breathing in rest.
I know it’s always been there; I just never saw it. I was too busy and too hurried to ‘live life.’
How come I am only starting to notice it now?
It makes me wonder: What else have I been missing out on?
This is why I have decided to show up for my life. I’m saying to my life, ‘I notice you in every detail, in every moment.’
I still have my moments where that voice comes back. The voice that tells me I am not doing enough with my time. The voice that tells me I am falling behind in life. The voice that tells me I need to get immediate results even expects instant replies from people on WhatsApps and emails. The voice that tells me I need to fill my days with impossible checklists, overscheduling, rushing, speeding, hustling.
That same voice tells me that I need to give my time freely to the things that are not so important to me. But I refuse to give up any more of my time. I do not want to spend my time doing frivolous things. I want to be present, enjoy my life just the way it is. Lacking nothing, fully complete and alive.
I want to pause and notice the smell of the woods around me. The trees, how tall and slender they are. The coolness and crispness of the air, the calmness of nature around me. I don’t want to cross another bridge and ‘hope’ I find what I’m looking for on the other side.
I want to pause, gaze at the river. Step in carefully, toes wet. Go knee-deep, then deeper into the water. I want to lie on my back and float. I want to go with the flow, go with the river of life.
As I closed my eyes during the encounter session at the school, I did just that. The river was at first forceful, unpredictable, and powerful. It swept me away, away from the bridge. But then it started to slow down. It brought me to a calm and serene place where there was a waterfall. It was a place filled with warmth and safety. I washed off the world’s expectations of me. I am not of this world, so I don’t have to be like the world. I can just be, and breathe – in and out, in and out. This is how I’m meant to live my life, moment by moment, breath by breath.
If you don’t know the season that you are supposed to be in, ask yourself this simple question: ‘Am I happy with my life?’
If you answer it by saying, ‘I wish I had a better house, better pay, better country, etc.’, then you haven’t searched deep enough within your heart for the answer.
For when we die, we can take no earthly thing with us.
Maybe rather ask this question: ‘If I were to die tomorrow, would I be satisfied with the way I had lived my life?’
What is that thing inside you that is aching to come out, to come alive? What is it that you dream of doing if you had more time?
I’m going to let you in on a secret: You have all the time in the world.
You only need to learn how to steward your time wisely, and you will be able to do that one thing you have always wanted to do.
So… What are you waiting for? Your life is waiting for you!
Here’s a song by Dido that I really love. It’s called ‘Girl Who Got Away’ from her fourth studio album. The lyrics are so meaningful – ‘I want to move with the seasons | And go with the flow.’
Sean Feucht & Kristine DiMarco also wrote a song that really ministered to me when I was in a season of intense wilderness: