The other day, my hubby and I were sitting outside in a beautiful place, looking at the lake after a brisk walk. It was beautiful, and it felt so good to sit with him, sipping my cup of tea.
I then said this bizarre thing: "My life is so large in some places, I need to create smallness in other places."
"Does that make sense?" I asked my hubby.... and because he is very kind, he said yes!
I had to think about what I meant. My life is large, it is full, it is blessed. At times, it is exhausting. I know I need to create times of quiet, of rest, of reflection, of intimacy with God, with creation, with my husband. Perhaps small isn't the right word for it, but it is a place with boundaries. Spending time there, gives me freedom and energy to live my larger life.
I have almost completed April Yamasaki's new book "Four Gifts - Seeking Self-Care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength." It is a great read and I would recommend it, especially for those with full lives.
I received my e-book this summer and it has taken me a while to read it, to spend time with it.
One of the first things that spoke to me is that we can become preoccupied with caring for ourselves and lose sight of the fact that God wants to take care of us! Yamasaki writes "Instead of focusing narrowly on caring for myself, I can cast all my cares on God, who cares for me and who cares for all of us."
There is freedom in pondering that. I have long believed that if God calls you to do something, there will also be provision to do it. So there can be a trusting in God's care, and asking for wisdom to manage our time, our schedules, our lives. There is the provision for the work at hand, and also a call to rest.
Recently I was called to the hospital after a busy morning at church. I was tired; I had just completed a full and intensive week. But I went, and the joy I experienced being with this young patient was nourishment for my soul. It was later that afternoon that we took time for a walk and a tea... and I recognize now that God gave me what I needed, joy in the giving, and also provision to rest and rejuvenate afterwards.
Setting spaces for quiet and rest is a challenge in our busy world. The world can be loud, with many distractions, including social media, TV, lots of voices vying for our attention. Can I be intentional about finding quiet corners to renew?
I have found spending time with April's book refreshing. It calls me from what I would could consider "selfishness" to "self-awareness". Paying attention to the needs of my heart, my soul, my mind and my body (which she terms as strength) is a life-long learning.
I lean toward doing, I enjoy those ticks on my to-do list. My mind is active. As I get older, slowing down is no longer an option, but a necessary calling to care for the body God created, so I can also care for others.
"Be Still and Know that I am God.", is one of my favourite verses. It is easy to recite, much more difficult to practice. I know that becoming still and spending time with God gives me strength for my day.
Balance comes to mind, and April addresses that. She writes: "Given both the strength and frailty of our physical selves, caring for our bodies would seem to require two movements". She talks about building up our strength, and resting. We need both.
So I encourage you to read this book, if you are able. To have a cup of tea, to enjoy a walk in the autumn air, and I'm feeling the need for a nap this afternoon. Just saying...
A Sacred Pause in a full life... and thanking God for loving care and provision.