In her book, Simply Tuesday, Emily P Freeman asks the question “How can I sit down on the inside?”. And even the first time I read it, I skimmed over it, totally missing the question. And yet again, in an email with questions challenging me about the first chapters of the book, the question lingers “What does it mean for me to sit down on the inside?” And again, I breezed through my email, thinking about all the things I needed to tackle after I was done reading the email.
Then I went outside to eat lunch and I forgot my phone inside…and I thought “well this is sitting down, no distractions, no one around…and I’m sitting still, quietly”. But my insides weren’t sitting at all. I was still running through the things I needed to get done before the kids got home, beating myself up that I hadn’t had enough water, wondering why my mind seemed so foggy, then off to hoping I’d get an email back from a soccer coach with whom I needed to reschedule a game. My outside had sat down, but my inside was still running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, chasing all of the things swimming through my mind like a raging river.
As soon as I realized it, realized that my inside hadn’t sat down at all, I started defending myself…to myself. “Well, if I don’t do these things, they will never get done” or “If I sit down on the inside, what will I have to show for it? What will I have accomplished?” …and that’s when my precious friend, Pride, snuggled in next to me on the bench, nudging me off just as I was about to sit down…
“You can’t just SIT there! …and do what? Nothing??”
“What a waste of this time God has given you. You really should be a better steward of your time you know. Do you know how many people would love to be at home like you? You really shouldn’t be a time glutton and just sit there.”
“You still have dinner to plan, laundry to do and bathrooms to clean.”
“Or if not chores, then you should be reaching out to someone, letting them know you care. Reminding them that Jesus cares about them. THAT’S what you should be doing with this time.”
“Now, come on, let’s go, you can’t just love Jesus, you’ve got to make sure you SHOW people you love Jesus…and that doesn’t happen just by sitting here!”
I wanted to elbow her in the ribs, pull her ponytail and tell her to leave me alone…but everything she said was “right” and I pulled up my big girl pants and went about my day doing all the things I knew I had to do, but the question lingered “what does it look like for ME to sit down on the inside?”
I’m not really sure yet. But I’m asking God to show me. And what I’m learning so far is that sitting down the inside is leaning into my Jesus. Looking for ways to make it all simpler, less complicated. Stop striving, start enjoying. Enjoying the still, seeming unproductive moments, days, weeks when I have spent sweet time with Him, with my people and with my friends…and I have nothing physical to show for it.
Is that all it means? Nope, there’s still more. But I only get to discover them as I practice sitting down on the inside…and pushing Pride off the edge of my bench.