Amidst the bustle of the end of spring term, I intentionally carved out space with family where I could be more fully present and focus on them. I was approaching a shift within my career, a point where a decision I made back in the fall would soon take effect as the academic year concluded. When I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted months ago, I consulted with my spiritual director. He concurred that it made sense for me to focus on simplifying at this stage of my life, especially given the context of the ages of my girls. Though I was confident that it was a good thing, making decisions about career and family are often hard and require on-going commitment to guide and affirm decisions as new opportunities or requests arise. Reminders of what we have chosen and why help us to be firm in our resolve.
I recently posted a note on my office door that states, “Simplify to discover the sweetness contained within,” a concept that has been on my heart since January. Moments that have continued to reveal the sweetness of the core pieces of my life, once I strip away that which is good but can also distract or leave me feeling too stretched thin, have helped to solidify my convictions. Having the sign with continually draw me back to that.
When we have a clear sense of what we want to frame our lives, we have to then consider what that looks like. At different points of the liturgical and academic year, I often ponder: What are the rhythms and routines that I want to shape my life for this season?
As I envision the season and set intentions, I recognize it does not mean that everything will fall into place (even if I diligently work to make it happen); however, I also know that my life is more likely to approximate including the layers that fill me up if I take time to reflect on what they are and how I might be able to enact that in my life.
Here are some glimpses into my vision for summer, especially maximizing being at home more/being able to work less:
- Continue with daily Mass and weekly Adoration. Start to layer in the Liturgy of the Hours for the first time.
- Continue monthly dates with my husband and focus on better prioritizing daily time alone — even if just for ten minutes.
- More hikes or walks around town as a family. I have identified a time and days when I want to commit to walking each week.
- Regularly color, paint, or do other creative activities with my girls.
- Playing games and watching movies with my girls.
- Nurturing the faith of my girls — one-time events such as camps, as well as ongoing interactions (using resources such as Walking With Purpose for my older girls and Loyola Press faith formation programs for my younger girls). I would like to spend one hour a week one-on-one with my four older girls.
Being able to say “yes” to these things means recognizing what I need to say “no” to. For example, I am trying to limit going to work to one day/week for most of the summer and being conscientious about how often I am checking email from home. While they are important sources of renewal, I need to be careful with not getting too drawn into activities that I do on my own (such as reading, writing, scrapbooking) that will prevent me from being as present to nurturing relationships.
Loving Lord, Thank you for this ongoing journey to helping me discover what matters most and how to align my life accordingly, including support to make difficult decisions that require letting go and sacrifice. Christ, be my light.
- What have you discerned fills you up?
- What prevents you from (or makes it challenging to) consistently prioritize those layers of your life?
- Who can help you to look at the many good options/possibilities in your life and make choices that will most align with the deepest longings of your heart?
Copyright 2019 Amanda Villagómez