I really love books, but don’t know anyone who reads like my sister, Ashley. Something I’ve noticed since having Mac is that people have a tendency to say things like: I don’t have time to read now that I have a baby. But then I think of my sister, who has four kids and a very busy schedule and, yet, makes reading a priority. She does it by getting in bed early or - a real talent - reading while standing up and cooking dinner.
We were discussing books recently, which is one of my favorite things to talk about with her. Although our reading Venn diagram doesn’t overlap all that much, aside from YA, which we both share very much in common.
We were talking about how our minds tend to self-regulate when it comes to what we read. I might plow through two or three young adult novels in a row - Eleanor & Park followed by The Fault in Our Stars followed by Wonder. Then, suddenly, I absolutely cannot read any more YA and must get my hands on Brené Brown or Shauna Niequist. My mind knows its had enough fluff; it’s time for substance.
It’s intuitive reading! Just like intuitive eating allows me to fully enjoy a cheese platter or cupcake, but the next day undeniably craves a kale salad. It happens with exercise, too. After a week of hard workouts, by Sunday, my body tells me it’s time for a walk or a rest day.
Years ago, Chris and I decided we were going to practice intuitive drinking. We’d been trying out a rule that we couldn’t have wine during the week, but realized it made us crave it by Saturday night, and then we’d drink two or three glasses, as opposed to just one. When we changed to intuitive drinking, we realized that allowing ourselves to pour a glass on a random Wednesday, if wanted, suddenly made it so much less desirable. When it was no longer off limits, we found we didn’t crave it as much as we expected.
The more I live intuitively, the more I realize the Lord equipped us emotionally, mentally and physically to live with healthy boundaries. The key is learning to slow down and listen more carefully to what we need, as opposed to engaging with to the super noisy external voices that often tempt us.
I’ve been practicing, lately, living intuitively as much as possible. After I read Crazy Rich Asians, I started the second book in the series, China Rich Girlfriend. I was 50 pages in when it hit me: this isn’t fun anymore. I picked Bringing Up Bébé back up, which I’d put down after McCoy was born. Having a newborn, being sleep deprived and trying to read anything with substance certainly did not feel intuitive.
As I switched books, I realized it’s really all about having grace for ourselves. My natural tendency is to push through - to approach everything with a Grit mentality. But I’m learning that there are seasons for striving and seasons for being settled. There are seasons for hustle and seasons for slowness. Life continues to teach me that very few things are best experienced without a little balance and a lot of grace.