Reflections from the Home Team - December 14, 2019
"As we prepare to celebrate the special season that is upon us, and the busyness and stress that can often accompany it, remember, we can’t control the results in our lives… There’s really no way of getting around it. You can do everything right, work hard and still not get the result you wanted. Summon the courage to lay down the burdens and worries of the day – to simply rest."
Greetings from Cedar Falls,
It’s been a busy month for me in many ways, and I was forced to slow down a bit as I’ve been dealing with some upper respiratory issues over the past few weeks that have been an ongoing issue for me since treatments. It’s always my goal to make something good out of what can seem frustrating, and I wanted to share some of those thoughts with you in this reflection.
I don’t know about you, but for me, it's often hard to “put the bat and ball down” and just rest… In today’s world, busyness is a reality for so many of us and slowing down and resting can feel uncomfortable, almost like failure. The current reality as I see it is that we’re wearing ourselves out, inviting anxiety and restlessness in. Given that fact, I’ve had the opportunity to take a pause and do some reading in “Whispers of Rest” by Bonnie Gray while recovering. It is a wonderful guide to help eliminate the noise in our lives and to experience some “whispers” of rest along the way.
I’ve had some takeaways from Bonnie that have truly resonated with me as I deal with life’s busyness, some frustrating health challenges and the stresses they can bring. She does an amazing job of blending scientific research and loving scripture passages while providing some tips on how to “detox” our souls and find places of rest along the way.
Here are several points Bonnie made that literally jumped out at me as she identified some simple reasons we are stressed while making suggestions on how we can restore some peace in our lives when dealing with that stress.
“You’re good at taking care of others, but bad at filling your own tank.”
This begs the question in my mind as to why are we so hard on ourselves, when God’s love is gentle? We need to extend ourselves the comfort we want to give others. We can’t be helpful in filling other’s needs if our own tanks are empty. We may feel selfish prioritizing filling our tanks, yet, God says we can only comfort others, with the comfort we first receive ourselves! (2 Cor 1:4)
“You are good at problem solving, but what you need is rest.”
As I’ve learned over the years, most problems that stress us can’t be solved in a day. I often tend to overthink problem solving (guess it’s in my DNA as aformer Principal) but it can lead us to easily obsess about situations or relationships leaving us feeling anxious. One way to reduce that anxiety is by enjoying activities that foster positive thoughts. Music is often used to bring calm and alleviate pain. Music therapy was extremely helpful for me during treatments in Iowa City. Music can help us pray without words… Pull out your favorite playlist and enjoy! “He has given me a new song to sing.” Psalm 40:3
“You are good at listening to others but find it hard to share your hardships.”
Personally, I typically don’t want to bother others, but, have you ever noticed how you feel better after talking to someone about your troubles — even if the problem hasn’t been fixed? Kind of like how writing these reflections helps me process…Take some time to tell a grace filled friend about both your hopes and anxieties. Carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
“You’re busy getting things done, but you forget to breathe.”
I learned in pain management during treatments that you hold your breath when you’re stressed and feeling pain. Shallow breathing creates tension in your body, raises your blood pressure, and makes your muscles ache with tension and pain. I’ve found it helpful to take a minute and offer up what I call a “breath prayer.” It’s is a special opportunity to invite Jesus into my day and be refreshed. Experience God’s peace and “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
“You are always planning and thinking ahead but experiencing God’s grace comes only one day at a time.”
Our culture trains us to “plan” ahead. But, when it comes to the important people in our lives, people are not plans. Hearts are more like gardens to nurture with grace one day at a time. We plant seeds and watch fruit grow slowly, while being nurtured with faith and patience, instead of stress and coercion. Whatever’s happening this week in our lives, hold onto God’s hand. He’s not letting go of you. He’s walking into every situation you’re facing, with you. Ask for the strength to do what you must do, just for this one next step. Trust He will provide what comes next. Jesus will not abandon you. You are His beloved. “Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you.” Psalm 143:8
As we prepare to celebrate the special Christmas season that is upon us, and the busyness and stress that can often accompany it, remember, we can’t control the results in our lives… There’s really no way of getting around it. You can do everything right, work hard and still not get the result you wanted. Summon the courage to lay down the burdens and worries of the day – to simply rest. Don’t wait until your life is stress-free before spending time on what really matters to God: loving your heart. Take a break and choose what’s better: feeding your soul. Be renewed and be loved.
In the Spirit of the Season!
Are you or someone you know fighting cancer... struggling with the physical, emotional and spiritual issues that accompany a cancer journey or other serious health issue? Making ourselves available to others can open up the doors of opportunity for deeper relationships, healing, and transformation. For many, time is one of the most valuable commodities in today's fast-paced world. Sharing time with others is a wonderful gift. It says, "Here I am. . . for you. To listen, to care, to serve." The power of presence should never be underestimated!
Be an encourager in someone else’s life!
To learn more about being an encourager, and to view the Reflections blog, visit the Reflections from the Home Team website at: