(From the book Pause: The Secret to a Better Life, One Word at a Time by Chris Maxwell)
“There’s not really much here. Not very much up here, at all.”
The nice lady at the convenience store had good intentions. Hearing about my departure from Orlando and my arrival in north Georgia, she sensed a need to apologize for smallness, for nothingness, for not “really much.”
She wondered if I would be okay around a place not as crowded, at a pace not as rushed, in a community not as modern or large or busy. She wasn’t sure how I would handle the change. She assumed I was disappointed because of departing so much and moving into not much at all.
But I’d reached different conclusions about my new home. I saw much. Very much.
When my wife and I moved in 2006, it didn’t go the way we wished. There were a few health concerns, missing many friends, a house not selling, a vehicle crashing, and the adjustment to new positions. Everything had not been easy. But when I accepted that this location was God’s best for my life, I could see all of the unappreciated beauty. I wanted to edit the lady’s behind-the-counter comment. Let her keep the southern drawl while changing the words:
“There’s much here. Very much up here.”
I saw life in the people of this small rural town. Sad, happy, young, old, confident, fearful. People. Real people. And I liked them. Sharp turns and small hills, barking dogs and smelly chickens, lightning bugs and friendly people: I saw life here.
I see life here.
For each of us, let us accept and experience much life—“really much”—wherever we live. Do not let these days rush past us and leave us missing out on the “much” that is available.
Chris, thank you for that very good statement…I grew up and lived a while in KY., & love going back for our family once a yr., and the more I ponder.. I don’t think I would
miss (too) much Orlando, other than friends etc., But we need to B near family! When & if it is GOD’s plan…. want to see you all one day tho.. Mike loves where they are..
Love you all lots, MISS You all More..Blessings to you and yours!!
That’s so true. Especially at this season of life as a college student, everything is constantly changing and people go in and out of life. It’s really difficult to be content, but there are many blessings even in the challenges.
I really enjoyed this chapter. As someone who was born and raised in a small town I appreciate the serenity of this place, even more so since reading this. Over Christmas break I was fortunate to be able to visit New York City. While I loved the city, the exploring, and the fantastic things to do, I could never see myself living there. People don’t realize just how much life there really is in small towns, the fresh air, the connection to the land, the ability to slowdown and not get caught in the rush of life. It is a lot easier to pause if you are in a place that actually allows you to pause, and while plenty of people find God in the city that never sleeps, I’ll gladly live in a place that I can see the stars and see his wonder.
After reading the first chapter of pause I recognize that some things that are near me that I normally ignore is the community of Franklin Springs/Royston. I get so caught up in my life here, the life of Emmanuel College that I lose sight of the community around me. I need not ignore the lives of all of those that I share this community with. This semester I want to be intentional about meeting someone outside of Emmanuel College that lives in this community and know them by name. So I can think of them, pray for them, and interact with them. I have learned time and time again to accept myself. With help from the Lord, and understanding that I am made in the image of God-I am more able to accept myself. It isn’t always easy, but I know that He who made me is constant. My feelings may come and go about acceptance of myself, but His feelings for me remain the same.
I really agree with this. There are too many times we just let the day go by and not realize all the wonderful things God has for us throughout the day. There might not be much where I live or in Franklin Springs to some people, but other people and me there is a lot here and we need to slow down to see that there is.
When I first transferred to Emmanuel, it wasn’t that difficult adjusting to rural living. Before EC, I spent my summers working at a camp in a town similar to Franklin Springs. While reading the post, I was reminded to stop and appreciate the things that are around us. This past semester, I’ve gone out and explored and have seen some awesome things that you’ll never see if you don’t leave campus. Although it’s difficult at first, once you open your eyes and clear your mind, you will begin to see the manifest of God’s glory both and nature and the everyday things around us- no matter where you are.
I have never agreed with a story or chapter more than this one. Being that I’m from Miami, Florida, I understand this probably better than most other people. Moving from what used to be so much to not so much and very quiet and very calm. However this chapter was eye opening. This is where God wants me to be and wants me to grow. It’s not a mistake that a number of other volleyball head coaches didn’t answer my recruitment emails. I have learned to appreciate Franklin Springs for what it is. This place is for me and there is more to this place than what it looks like.
When I read this chapter of Pause, I realized how much I miss the “much” in life. Just by not accepting myself and where I am. I have not been able to live in the “much” and truly enjoy it. It is so much more wonderful to slow down and experience everything going on around me, even just to “pause,” to reflect on the diversity of the emotions of the people around me, and to realize the important difference I can make in their lives when I begin to accept who I am and what God has created me to do.
There is something about Franklin Springs that mystifies me. As soon as I step foot in the North Georgia red clay I feel peace. There is peace here. The knowledge that for the past 95 years this community is one saturated by prayer and faith that surpasses human understanding puts this compulsive worrier at peace. The stillness of humid summer nights as crickets serenade and fireflies dance. The cool autumn afternoons wandering the back roads of campus crunching gold and scarlet leaves and rusty brown pine cones as the wind whistles through the trees. The chilling winter nights where the sky is crisp and clear with billions of dancing, dazzling diamonds decorate the sky and the moon shines ever so brightly. The spring mornings at the Pavilion where different blooms of pink, violet,and yellow tints are interspersed against the grassy green backdrop. They all point to the majesty of their Creator. It is a little slice of heaven in a busy, busy world.
How great it is to accept the “much” that God gives us. I think of the life I would be accepting right now if God had not intervened, relocating me from Bath, New York to Winder, Georgia. What a difference 840 miles can make when God is on the throne of my heart. Accepting. How much gain it is for us when we accept the “much” God wants to bless us with. Accepting His Lordship. Accepting His grace. Accepting His Love. What more do we need? His “much” is all the “much” we need, no matter where we are.
This is so true many times we don’t realize the blessings we have right in front of us. Many times I have just overlooked the much that is in front of me. God has been speaking to my and revealing to me that there is so much in front of me each and everywhere I just have to stay focused on what is in front of me. I need to take more advantage of the much that God blesses me with each day and not overlook it. God wants us to see much every day it’s up to us whether we chose to see the little things that are important.
I think as an Emmanuel College student, this kind of thought process comes up a lot with incoming freshman. It is so easy to say there is nothing to do around here and how it is so boring, but the truth is, we have the choice to embrace our surroundings and make the most of what we have, or we have the choice to be unhappy with where we are. The same is true in our spiritual walk. Many times we focus so much on what we do not have that we forget what we DO have. It is the times when we can truly reflect and thank God for what he has already done, that he takes us to deeper places in our walk with him.
My main thing is days sometimes seem like a blur to me, and when its not im not really great full for what God has given me . not cause im on drugs or anything but just with the business of life i guess. i just miss out on things that God has placed before me. and when i slow down to take time for those things i think they aren’t good enough. something i need to work on.
This is certainly something I must remember as I move beyond the comfortable boundaries of college and of Franklin Springs. I want to be able to accept what God takes me to. I want to see the life that dwells within every corner of the world. I want to live these last days of undergrad to the fullest that I can live them. I believe there is much everywhere as God is doing something everywhere. Our perspectives can be so harsh and uncalled for. He is always up to something. I love it.
Accepting. I am reminded of the “always open hand” sermon illustration. When God gives us something or we have been blessed with material/spiritual things we are quick to clinch our fists and never let go. We are scared what is given to us will be taken away. We say to ourselves “We’ll never experience anything as good as we got it now. We have a get all we can and keep mentality that never fulfills us But the thing we keep only lasts for a season. God knows what we need before we even ask it. This chapter has encouraged me to ACCEPT what He gives me and in the same breath…and with the same hand wide open, ACCEPT what He takes away. He only gives good gifts and what He gives and takes away is not intended to make us mad, unhappy, bipolar Christians, but is for our ultimate benefit, edification, and our eternal home.
I couldn’t agree more. I wish i had that mindset my first few years here at EC. Instead of focusing on the light and good in life, i found myself as a young college kid focusing on the negatives. For example, i thought there was nothing to do in Franklin Springs, or i thought there was no way i was gonna find my wife here, etc. If i would’ve had a stronger relationship with Christ, i could’ve potentially impacted the community and people of Emmanuel College in a better way. Instead, many times, i chose to be selfish and reserved. I believe Christ is still working on this process within my life. And if i continue to focus on the Cross, and seek God’s plan for my life, i can begin to serve Him by finding the light and good in all things, no matter where i am.
All the way from Canyon, TX… I have had to find appreciation in a lot of things. I miss home guys!! Yet, I find joy in the people I am around and the country side of Franklin Springs. I always enjoy getting away from the campus and going to Austin’s house because it is a great place to have some fun and not think about life. Also, I am enjoying this basketball season because I love my teammates!
I grew up hearing stories of my dad growing up in Franklin Springs and visiting my family here for all the major holidays. I was fully convinced I would never live in this small town, even just for my years in college. But as we have all know, God always seems to make the things you say “never” to, come to be. Though I always wanted to experience things and see the world, I did not think leaving home would bring me to this little town. As it came time close to moving, I was sad to leave home, but I had such peace with coming here. Over the past year and a half, I have learned that it isn’t so much about the place, but about the people and community that makes this place special. On and off of campus, it is a community committed to loving each other. I pray that with my time left at EC, I am able to learn from people on and off of campus, not just about academics, but learn about life experience that carries farther than a degree ever could.
When I read this chapter, I could find myself agreeing with the lady. Moving to Franklin Springs to be a student at EC was a big change. I didn’t live in a huge city before coming here, but it was still a change. I even joked said that it’s just us and the chickens at one point.
Since I’ve been at Emmanuel, I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot here. There’s a lot history and a sense of community. I’ve found friends that I know will be in my life forever. I’m forever thankful for what is here rather for what isn’t here.
I love it. I can understand where your coming from my friend. I grew up in the Dewy Rose area which most would say “has less” then it’s neighboring Franklin County. Although there isn’t much to do I did find, as you did, people to be interesting. Relationships began to be the “thing to do” very quickly as I grew up. With friends it didn’t matter what we did as long as we were “together.” I still have this true now. I live in the same area, around some of the same people. Along with the friends I have at EC, having much comes from knowing a few, not the size of the city.
Franklin Springs. A place that has blown my mind every single day. My fourth year here and I continuously find out new things about this little quaint town. I came from somewhere much bigger and a high school that had just as many people as this town. Change. Something my life needed because I had gotten caught up in the chaos of the world and here it’s like a separate piece. I’m thankful for Franklin Springs and the adjustment I’ve had to make over these years.
When I got to Emmanuel I loved it right off the bat because I came from a small town. It was what Ive always know. I have looked at is from both perspectives, the not seeing much and then the seeing so much. Here recently I have been seeing so much beauty in the small things. SO so much beauty and all I can do is say thank you Daddy!
I, too, made a move such as the one described in this chapter. I made it twice. The first move was a little on the opposite end. I moved from a small town, a little bigger than Franklin Springs, to the metropolis of Raleigh, NC. It was a total culture shock for me. I knew no one. I had no family. I was in a middle school that was bigger than all 3 schools where I lived in SC. It was altogether different. I was not happy at first, but I realized all of the excitement and opportunity that was waiting for me in the “big city.” It was wonderful. I learned a lot and I made a lot of connections.
The move away from Raleigh is what hurt more than I thought possible. we moved back to the small town that I grew up in. Familiar faces, places, smells, and sounds. Even among all of the things I never wanted to leave, I hated being back. I was angry at my parents and even more at God. It was a learning process for me to figure out why God had taken me from all the success that was waiting for me to this God-forsaken town. Eventually I got used to it and came to terms It took me a while to see the life in this town, to see it’s beauty. Once I did, my life changed.
I, too, made the move from a bigger town to a small town. I moved from Raleigh, NC to Clearwater,SC. The thing is I moved from the same place in SC to NC and then we came back. The move to NC was just scary and I was used to things on a much smaller scale than what this new metropolis laid out in front of me. However, after 5 years of living there, I never wanted to leave. I never wanted to move back to SC. It came time to move and I hated my parents for ripping my success story away from me. I was mad at God for “downgrading” my educational opportunities. It was a hard learning experience for me. It was not something I wanted to become accustom to. Eventually, after a lot of prayer, I came to terms with being in Clearwater. I eventually saw the beauty and life that was waiting for me. I see how God can use someone like me in the small areas in life.
I’ve actually grown up in this small town so i can see the point of view from the woman and Chris. She’s right, there isn’t much here and there isn’t that many people. Not much goes on here and it’s very southern but that’s what it so special. It’s a peaceful little town with many special people. It’s one big family and everybody knows everyone. Tradition,pride,God, and relationships make up this great county. It’s a great place to just pause and take in all His beauty through creation. There isn’t anything like a small town USA with God smiling down on us through His beautiful creation all around us.
When I read this chapter about acceptance, I could not help to think about how I need to accept who I am in the Lord and what He has called me to do for His will. Too many times it is easy to down play myself and what the Lord desires for my life, because I feel like I am not worthy for such a honor to do great things for the Lord. But he Lord keeps on saying that I need to accept what He has given me and has for me. So, today I choose to accept who I am in the Lord and what He desires for my life, because it is in that place that I become more like Him.
“Unappreciated Beauty”- I think we have become a generation that doesn’t appreciate true beauty and we don’t stop to ‘smell the roses’ or admire a beautiful blue sky because we are constantly in our phones or full speed ahead towards the next class, meeting or sporting event. We have neglected the beauty that God designed for us. I am challenged to stop, slow down and to appreciate the beauty.
I am a visionary person. If I am working in a church, I love to visualize where the church is going to go in the future. If I am in a relationship, I like to think about where the relationship could go. I believe that most of the time I get caught up in thinking about how to improve things and advancements that are to come, and I neglect to accept where my live is in the now. I believe I need to stop and accept my surroundings now instead of the surroundings that I am not in yet.
When I first moved here I was more “tolerant” than accepting. Although I grew up in a small town, I have lived in larger cities since I was 19. Over the last few months I have worked less and gone exploring the area. There is MUCH here to be discovered and enjoyed. I am looking forward to continuing to look around wherever I am with my eyes and heart wide open!
I can definitely relate with the woman when she says “There isn’t much here.” Since I have grown up in this county, I can honestly say from a materialistic sense she is right. There are not many fancy cars or houses, or much wealth. On the other hand, there is community, compassion, and very much love. The focus in this little town is the people, not the possessions. It is very easy to notice the lack of social entertainment and amenities, but there is still much to be gained. There are opportunities here to help hurting people. People hurt in rural areas, in cities, and every location in between.
Being in a small place, it’s easy for things to seem the same. It easy to miss out on the beauty of the hills and the trees and the streams. But sometimes it’s even easier to miss out on the change that we are longing for. All we see are the same old things, when we’re not even noticing how things are changing. Especially the people around us. They may look the same, but inside their hearts, circumstances, and spirits are changing. As well as mine. And it is so important to embrace these changes and to help others through these changes as we change as well.
I see life here. I came from a small town, only a couple hundred people larger than Franklin springs. In that town, in my experience, there wasn’t life, but death. I was constantly worried about running into certain people. Here in Franklin springs there is safety, peace. Being here is like being in a little bubble. What comes to mind when I read this is bringing life. Being a light in the darkness. Building relationships to bring life wherever im at.