That’s the overarching message I’ve heard from the many conversations I’ve had with people this month alone. It’s not from one thing but layers of lots of things: covid fatigue, polarizing politics, racial issues and riots are the big dogs but underneath are these puppies: job change or loss, grief, health issues, marriage issues, kid issues, family issues, yearning for normalcy, missing people, working from home while helping your kids learn virtually, the wondering of when or if things will get better. The list goes on and on.
How do we do it? How do we fill our buckets in such a life draining world? How do we find rest in all this unrest?
From social media. News outlets. Screens. Phones. Scrolling. Even if it’s for a day, an evening or an hour. Stop scrolling through. Stop getting ticked off at people’s opinions. Stop checking your phone every few minutes.
We don’t have to or need to be available around the clock. We don’t have to or need to fill our minds with a constant barrage of bad news, I-know-better-than-you, you-have-no-clue recordings on repeat. We don’t have to have an opinion on every post or a comment on someone else’s quandary.
The more we are wired to what wires us out, the more wired we become. Unplug from it all. The world will keep spinning…I promise.
With God…develop some spiritual practices that fill your bucket. Meditate, pray, be still, listen, read a verse or two…don’t make it another thing to check off but instead something that fills you up.
With nature…walk outside, feel the sunshine on your face, breathe in the crisp air, walk in the grass barefoot, get your hands in the dirt, listen to the birds, be a noticer of new growth, smell the leaves.
With friends…yes, I know it’s hard right now, but I had the most wonderful time catching up with a friend even though it was virtually. My sister and I actually called each other and talked on the phone…remember those days? It was great catching up and hearing her lol…not just read it on a text!
Mind Your Mind.
Think about what you’re thinking about. It’s easy to get caught up in negative thinking…especially these days…and forget our hope is not in those things that are around us but in Who is looking over us.
What are you allowing in…please reread “disconnect.”
Mind Your Time.
We all need margin in our schedules for rest. In his book Weird, Craig Groeschel says, “One of the foundational lies we’ve absorbed about the value of busyness is that it indicates our spiritual worth.” He goes on to say, “We must discern what God calls us to accomplish rather than mindlessly adding on everything presented to us.”
He challenges the reader to keep “an or in the water to keep our boat from sinking.” As in, stop doing this AND that but rather do this OR that. I’ve had to make a choice between some really good things that would have ALL been great fun to do but would have put me on the fast road to burn out.
One positive about the pandemic shutting us down last year was that it cleared our plates of so many things that we now have control to put back on…or not. We get to choose. We are foolish to think we can keep going 100MPH with no margin to rest and never hit a wall.
Permit yourself a nap with no guilt. Look through a magazine. Allow yourself time to do nothing at all and enjoy it!
Be Present in the Present.
Anybody else worry about what was? Anybody else worrying about what could be? I get it. But when we do that, we miss the here and now, the person right before us, opportunities to reach out and touch those in our present presence.
When we are always mentally elsewhere, we miss moments that can never be given back. We miss time with our family and friends, sharing the lives we are living right now. It takes practice and purposefully positioning ourselves in the present.
Be Present in His Presence.
I’ve been trying to practice this more and more these days. Being still. Paying attention. Listening. Not making my time with the Lord just something I do to check off my list and feel accomplished….like a good Jesus girl “should do.” But rather experiencing His presence throughout the day in the way the light shines in my office in the morning or a text comes through from a friend at just the right moment or watching as someone has an aha moment because of something you said.
All God things that I would miss if I’m not practicing being in His presence. He’s right there…wanting you to notice that He’s with you wherever you are.
It sounds corny but if you’re brave enough to try something so simple in this complex world, you’ll see it makes a difference. Gratitude gives you eyes to see our surroundings through a different lense and a heart to see others in a different light.
“No amount of regret changes the past. No amount of anxiety changes the future. Any amount of gratitude changes the present.” (Ann Voskamp)
Grace defined: elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion or action. A pleasing or attractive quality. Favor or goodwill.
Synonyms for Grace: decency, decorum, finesse, poise.
To the Mom trying to spin so many plates…practice Grace.
To the Dad trying to work from home with a toddler in your lap…practice Grace.
To the married couples who are suddenly with each other 24/7…practice Grace.
To the congregants learning to worship online while your church staff is trying to figure out how to be online…practice Grace.
To the people who are of opposing views…practice Grace.
To those who are experiencing covid fatigue…practice Grace.
Man do we need everyone on the team uniformed up and ready to give it their all with this one. Not just to each other but also to ourselves.
No seriously. Deep breathing (in for 4 counts, out for 4 counts) calms your nerves, reduces stress and anxiety, improves your attention span and decreases pain. It also makes you slow down and concentrate.
I had my ladies in Bible study do this at the very beginning of each time we were together. It allowed them to “switch hats” and be present in the moments we were with each other.
I have my clients for spiritual direction do this at the beginning of each session to clear their minds and allow themselves to slow down. One client said, “Wow! I didn’t realize how long it had been since I too some deep cleansing breaths. That was refreshing!”
We’ve been holding our breaths in anticipation for many things over this past year. So, yes, breathe! In…1, 2, 3, 4. Out…1, 2, 3, 4. And again.
How do you rest in the unrest? What are some practices you do to fill your empty bucket?
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