Living a Hands-Free Life! / Rachel Macy Stafford

Do you ever wonder if saying, "I'm just too busy" has become a badge of honor? In a world that is measured by how many emails you get in a day, or how busy your schedule is. Rachel Macy Stafford suggests we get rid of the busyness badge of honor, where down time doesn't exist. Get rid of the distractions of a life based on performance and urgency and join the hands-free movement. We need to learn how to appreciate the small things in life and pay attention to our children more, and slowing down enough to covet the moments that seem to fly by.

Rachel's book is "Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better and Loving More"

The book was inspired by a moment she had with her younger daughter. She was ill one night and instead of trying to get her back to bed she stayed with her. As they were cuddling in bed she started asking some pretty heavy questions. She started asking about death and dying and she asked when her grandparents (Rachel's parents) were going to die. So she started calculating and her daughter said, "No momma that's not right" and she held up her fingers and said, "I am keeping track of life"

Rachel thought that was a beautiful term. It touched her because she knew what it meant to keep track of life because she had been on a hands-free journey for several years. She knew it was laying your head on your pillow at night and knowing you connected to what matters and who matters. Knowing you are on a true path that whatever God has set out for you, and that's your purpose, that is what you are fulfilling.

A hands free life is not only literally being hands-free. Freeing yourself of the gadgets and the to-dos. But figuratively it means being free. From things like perfection, pressure. Society is trying to tell us what matters and being hands free means listening to your heart and doing what God is telling you to do with your time and that is to invest it in what matters. Like paying attention to your children.

Surrendering control - Rachel says she has been so controlling in her life, she was managing her children instead of mothering her children. She was always looking forward to the next thing and not being in the moment. What was she depriving her family of by always being in control. That evolved into what she was taking away from God by not letting him open the doors and let things unfold. Sometimes when you just let things be spontaneous it is actually better than the way you planned it.

Kids can be our best teachers when it comes to mindful living because children just have a way of looking at things in a new way. You can see so many blessings through that.

There was a point where Rachel's husband turned to her and expressed that nothing made her happy anymore. That was hard for her to hear and she couldn't justify it because he was right. She was society's poster child for doing it all but she was farthest from the life she wanted to live. She needed to find her joy again. When you are distracted and you have tunnel vision to what's next you are missing all that is going on around you.

God provided her with these 2 children who show her every day there is good. Even in times of challenge, even in times of hopelessness.

Rachel shares that we need to surrender control from past mistakes. We remember the things we have done wrong in the past and focus on those things. We can't seem to forgive ourselves. When you live in regret you are taking yourself out of today. Today matters more than yesterday. Mistakes made us who we are today and if you use them to learn something about yourself or to help someone else then there was a reason for it. Mistakes are stepping stones to the life you want to live.

Our culture has so many distractions, undivided attention is so important. It is so rare today. If you listen there is a benefit and a power. You kids will remember that. Giving your kids a voice is so important.

This message can resonate with everybody. It is about listening, being present, and listening to God and seeing God in everything. You can find peace and joy within yourself through being hands-free.  

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