When our children were very small I reached out to a neighbor for help with something. I still remember her response, “I would be happy to. That’s why I am here at home, to be available to help others.” It struck a chord with me and helped me cast a new vision for myself.
What does it mean to be available?
I think it’s more than just saving a pocket of time on your calendar. Productivity experts tell us it's not our time that is limited each day, it’s our energy.* Adam McHugh writes, “There are times when our lives resemble a vigorously shaken snow globe.” When this happens we can feel scattered, going from one thing to the next, with several other things swirling around in our mind that we should be doing. That takes a lot of energy. Until we pause and let all the fragments of our lives settle, it’s hard to be fully present and available to ourselves or to others.
I find it fascinating to learn about how our mind works. David Allen tells us. “Your mind needs rest and free space, regularly, to function at its best.”* We actually need time to daydream or sit and do nothing for ten minutes. There is a reason why some of our best ideas come while taking a long hot shower or while we’re driving or cooking dinner. These are the times when we let our minds wander. It’s then that we are available to receive clarity or inspiration.
Eugene Peterson talks about the importance finding our rhythm. “Some people can walk in three-quarter time and some in four-four time, You don’t have to do the same…You’ve got to find the rhythm of your own life.” For my rhythm to have a good flow I need some time to pause and allow the day to breathe a little. I need some time to listen to myself and promptings from God. I need some space to ponder, imagine and experience spontaneity. I think that is one of the keys to being available — being unencumbered. When we are free of the things that distract us or pull us into frenzy we are able to have time for what nourishes us. This helps us move from a state of lack to abundance, freeing us to love and serve and respond to unexpected opportunities that come our way.
* Brianna Wiest, “3 Productivity Experts Explain Why Doing Less Actually Accomplishes More” from Forbes
1. What is life giving to you right now?
2. What is draining?
3. What can you do to be more available to the people and things that matter most to you?