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A Return to Everyday Island Living

by Jodi H. Grubbs


I was born and raised on Bonaire, a small Dutch island in the Netherlands Antilles, which is part of the southern Caribbean. My father worked in finance for Trans World Radio, a global Christian media organization.


What I did not know when I left the island at age sixteen was that I would wrestle with these two cultures many times over the next three decades. One would try to pull me into the land of hurry—of never enough and the fear of missing out, focused on striving, people pleasing to fit in, and filling my calendar with yeses that were not really thought through. I did not know that the grounding and lifesaving culture that gave me breath in my formative years would be one I would struggle to hold on to, like fine beach sand slipping through my fingers.


Despite being a former island girl, used to living on what we have all heard as “island time,” I’ve had my share of long seasons of exhaustion, hustling and people pleasing. I want you to know that you are not alone, that you have it in you to shift toward a more sustainable pace, to recover your precious life and stay there.


I’m here to walk this path with you, showing you what I’ve both learned and then unlearned. Helping you—so you don’t have to repeat my mistakes. Giving you life-giving concepts, spiritual disciplines, sow living practices and easy rhythms that I knew from my island life, but somehow forgot. 

Come. Slow down and breathe easily and deeply again! Maybe you were never even meant to be moving through life as fast as you have been. Longing to linger with God and connect to others is normal. The need you feel to stop and finally catch your breath is healthy and possible. While I can’t offer you a literal stretch of sandy beach to walk on, I can come alongside you as a fellow sojourner and soul nourisher.


Are you anticipating pushback from other people in your life who don’t understand your deep personal need to exhale? Are you afraid of looking weak or lazy? Are you wondering if slowing down might mean you are actually letting others down? Or maybe like me, do you have a fear of missing out?


If so, I invite you to shift:

From exhausted to refreshed and settled.

From hurry and hustle to gentle contemplation.

From lonely to enjoying barefoot hospitality.

From feeling not seen to truly being held.


Perhaps you simply need someone to affirm you as you take your next steps to identifying and advocating for your unique pace, practicing soul care, finding your people and simplifying your faith through a fresh, ongoing friendship with God. Come linger. You’ll find solidarity in the stillness. You’ll find a deeper sense of community with your people and with the Trinity. You’ll thrive from a place of rest as you trust that you are being held.


In a hustle culture like the one we’ve been in for so long, we don’t know what we don’t know. Until we do. Or, in my case, until I remembered my roots again. After what seemed like a hurricane of stormy life events and insecure decisions in the last three decades, my soul started longing to take in another version of that salty island air that I once knew so intimately. I wanted to live unhurried, leaning in to learn more about myself, God and others, but in new ways.


Adapted from Live Slowly: A Gentle Invitation to Exhale by Jodi H. Grubbs. ©2024 by Jodi Heather Grubbs. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press.

Jodi H. Grubbs is the podcast host of Our Island in the City and a slow-living advocate. She is the author of a children’s book, The Island Adventures of Lili and Oliver, and coauthor of a Bible study called The Friendship Café. Her latest book is entitled Live Slowly.


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