I have missed you over the summer. I know that we don’t actually converse, but I always feel connected to you all when I am posting. So I was a little lonely over the past few months. But it was all for a good purpose. I made a commitment earlier this year to actually take care of myself for a change. Maybe some of you can relate. It always seems that I am running and going and doing for other people, but rarely do I do anything just for my own benefit.
So after a particularly difficult spring, I decided to do a few things just for me. And one of the primary decisions I made was to take a break over the summer and nourish my soul. AND BOY WAS IT GREAT! I read some wonderful books, prayed a lot, and even took some naps along the way… positively wonderful. God spoke to me in volumes, and I have been looking forward to continuing our journey together so I might share some of the things that I have learned.
I would also love to hear how God is working in your life. I hope you will consider sharing your story in our comments section, as we are all growing in Christ together.
One of the most remarkable things about my summer was that, for the first time in my life, I had a very deep and abiding sense of peace. Not momentary or fleeting. But a deep down peace that absolutely everything was right in my world. And it is ongoing. It has been here for months. It is amazing.
I attribute this sense of well-being, obviously to the presence of God in my days, but also to a profound statement that I read early on by Dallas Willard. I will share it:
“If you want to have true peace in your spirit, you must ruthlessly eliminate all hurry from your life.”
Now, that may seem like a very simple statement to some, or a herculean task to others. But for me, it was transformative. As I analyzed myself and my habits I realized something. My hurry was not in my physical life, but in my mental state.
I have many things to do each day, just like all of you. I am a busy mom. But I am not near as busy from a schedule perspective as some of you. So why was I always feeling so rushed? Why was my blood pressure so high? And why was it so hard to breathe all of the time?
I found that it was because, even in those moments where I wasn’t busy, I was overwhelmed thinking about the next thing on my list. I didn’t enjoy my downtime because I was too consumed with the “What’s next?” condition of my mind. And therefore, I really didn’t have much peace.
So, I cut back my schedule to only the critical activities, went to bed at a decent time each night (even if my to do list wasn’t finished,) and decided to only be mentally involved in the activity that was currently in front of me. All things very unusual for me.
And it has been miraculous. Peace like a river flowing, my friends. All day long. That doesn’t mean everyday was perfect. Because that is never the case in my life. But it certainly seemed that when things didn’t go my way, I was more easily able to handle it because I had all this open space in my head (and I was able to connect with God more easily too.)
So my prayer as we come back into this familiar rhythm of the school year, is that God will speak with each of us and show us the ways to experience His peace each day. May we be wrapped in His presence, and may we be able to lie down each night and truly rest – for He is our Good Shepherd. And whatever is racing through our minds, may we have the confidence to know that He has it covered.