Easy does it: Dialing back & letting God surprise us

Oh hey there! It’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

A lot has happened since my last post. I spent 3 weeks in Indiana visiting my wonderful family. I got in a serious 3-car accident and totaled my beloved Nissan Rogue. My younger sister got engaged to a great guy. Heck, Taylor Swift even dropped an album. But before August slips away like a bottle of wine (sorry not sorry), I wanted to pop in with some quick thoughts, specifically about slowing down and easing up.

This morning I awoke to an avalanche of worries and fears. The next few weeks are going to be crazy with my move to Houston, multiple job interviews, and oh yeah, our lovely pandemic situation that continues to make everything we do require more energy and intention. I’ve been bracing myself for chaos, discomfort, and disrupted routines. I’ve been telling myself I just need to push through this period of transition and come out on the other side. I’ve been praying the Litany of Trust and trying to hand it all over to God. But this morning, it was as if I’d thrown open the closet where I’d been stuffing my anxieties and they all came crashing down around me once the door was no longer holding things in place.

I was even tempted to skip my workout after glancing at my growing to-do list and fighting the urge to cry or scream into a pillow. But I decided that in my frenzied state, after being cooped up inside all week with only a dream and a Cardigan (can’t stop, won’t stop), some fresh air and sunshine might be just what I needed, even if it involved sweating my brains out in the Texas summer heat. So I drove to the park for a quick jaunt and hit “play” on one of the many podcast episodes in my queue.

Side note: If you ever need an uplifting, wholesome podcast in which two nuns discuss the many facets of God’s love for us (and who doesn’t?), then I have a recommendation for you, my friend — the Let Love podcast hosted by the Sisters of Life. In the episode I chose for today (entitled “Let Love Surprise You”), Sisters Mariae Agnus Dei and Marie Veritas talked about how the Lord desires to continually delight and surprise us, but we have to maintain a posture of openness in order to notice and receive these unexpected blessings. If we cling too tightly to our plans and routines, they argued, we risk missing out on all that He has in store.

As I listened, it occurred to me that in all my worries about the upcoming weeks, I had never once thought about the fact that good things could actually happen, too. I mean, good things are already happening: Companies are reaching out to me about jobs! Several college friends are planning a visit to help me pack up my apartment! I’m moving into a great new house in a city I adore! And yet, all I’ve considered are worst-case scenarios about failing my interviews, not being ready when the movers arrive, and somehow contracting COVID-19 in the process. Geez Louise. My brain really is an exhausting place to live.

Then one of the sisters shared a quote from a priest regarding how to become more open to God’s surprises:

“Dial it back about 15%.”

This is not at all what I expected her to share (which, perhaps, goes well with the theme), but y’all! I need this written in the sky and tattooed on my arm, and I may need to legally change my name to “Paige Dial-It-Back Boyer” because this is SO important! Honestly, given the intensity with which I approach everything in life, I could probably dial it back 30-40% and still be a little too hyped for most people. But still!

I’m not going to be able to rest in the Lord, hear his voice, and notice His unexpected blessings if I’m rushing around at 300 miles per hour and frantically checking things off lists. Obviously, there are some very important tasks I need to complete in the coming weeks, but I could definitely stand to “dial it back” in terms of my attitude and expectations. Now is not the time for me to stress about cooking or cleaning or keeping my inbox at zero or even looking overly presentable. It is not the time for me to start a new book or set new fitness goals or take on a new writing project. (This might seem painfully obvious, but you’d be surprised how much my “moving” to-do list has gradually grown to encompass all of my hopes and dreams for my life in Houston.) It is the time for me to identify what’s most important and create some much-needed margin around these priorities.

As the podcast episode wrapped up, I found myself a little off my usual hiking path. Apparently I had been listening so intently that I had missed a turn somewhere. And then — cue Ace of Base’s “The Sign” — I saw this:

I had literally wandered onto a trail called “Easy Does It.” I can’t make this stuff up, y’all.

For the record, I have hiked in this park for over a year and have never seen or heard of this particular path. So I couldn’t help but laugh aloud and acknowledge that slowing down, dialing it back, and — dare I say it — enjoying the ride clearly needs to be my focus. So here’s to the next few weeks of messes, dry shampoo, ready-made meals, unread emails, and most of all, letting God surprise me.

Oh and Folklore. Lots and lots of Folklore.