Tag Archives: relax

Alert & On Guard

Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly….Be alert at all times. — Luke 21:34, 36a

Read: Luke 21:25-36 (Yes, this is the same reading as yesterday, but it bears re-reading.)

Ponder:

“Sometimes it seems as though we spend our lives waiting. Daydreaming about an upcoming vacation, worrying over a medical test, preparing for the birth of grandchild-our days are filled with anticipation and anxiety over what the future holds. As Christians, we too spend our lives waiting. But we are waiting for something much bigger than a trip, bigger even than retirement or a wedding: We are waiting for the return of Jesus in glory. Advent heightens this sense of waiting, because it marks not only our anticipation of Jesus’ final coming, but also our remembrance of his arrival into our world more than 2,000 years ago.”  — Anonymous

Reflect:

What lies heavy on your mind and heart today? What worries are you harboring and nurturing? What needs to be let go so that God can infuse your very being with expectation, hope, and joy?

If you find yourself hurrying through this season with too much to do and not enough hours in the day, do something quite counter-intuitive: sit still and do nothing. Simply be. The to-do list will still be there, and maybe some of it will turn out to not be worth doing anyway. Maybe some of it doesn’t even matter in the grand scheme of the cosmos.

Be alert. Be ready. Watch for those “God-sightings” in your home, during your worship and time with friends, and even waiting in the check-out lane at the grocery. An encounter with the Divine might be just around the corner or down the next aisle. Look for God in the ordinary and extraordinary. Trust me…God is already there.

Thanks-living:

Consider calling up a friend to go for coffee or tea. Make a date with your spouse, partner, or significant other. Make special time to spend  one-on-one with your child or children. Write your parents a letter. Attend an extra worship service or Advent event in your community of faith. Find one thing to do that requires your complete presence and attention. Put those to-do lists aside and experience some joy and anticipation.

What I Did:

Last night my spouse and I were invited to have dinner with friends. Sure there is more work to be done in this season than we have hours for, but we gladly accepted their invitation, and what fun we had! Not only did Liz prepare an amazing meal, but we had conversation, laughter, and a rousing game of “Words with Friends” that we’ll savor for days to come. Thank you, Liz and Tom, for giving us the invitation and permission to simply “be” for an evening and enjoy the gift of friends and fun. Truly the love, grace, and spirit of our Lord was with us all.

Photos by paralog and Minette Layne. Thanks!

Slow Down!

There’s absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush. Everybody should be free to go very slow. ~ Robert Frost

It’s finally Friday! Are you still scurrying around in a frenzied fever pitch? Is your to-do list all too handy? Do you have yourself booked solid for the weekend? Are you speeding through life as fast and furious as your little human self will take you?

Why? What’s the rush?

Think about it. You know the guy who tailgates you for several miles until he finally gets the clearance to whiz by you with an evil glare? You shake your head and drive on. Guess who ends up in front of you at the next traffic signal? Yes, that’s right. There sits Mr. Speedypants in all his grumpy glory. You just know he’s fuming. All that fuss and increased blood pressure for one car length’s advantage. What a pity!

You, on the other hand, are free to take your time, to enjoy the day, to treasure the moment. Unless you’re more prone to behave like Mr. Speedypants, that is. I will admit that I have my speedypants days, more often than I’d like to acknowledge.

But here’s what I’m learning. Speeding through life is not worth it. Savoring life moment by moment is better. Being mindful enough to slow down and really live, to truly appreciate what it means to be drawing breath and taking nourishment, is a much more thankful way to live.

You are free to go slowly and deliberately through life. You really do have a startling degree of choice about whether to rush about like an angry tornado or move gracefully and calmly through your own life.

What might it take to slow down and savor your one precious life?

  • Do you need to do a better job of saying no to excess commitments and obligations?
  • Do you need to learn to pare down your wants and live beneath your means?
  • Do you need to take all of your vacation time and quit worrying about whether your job will be o.k. without you?
  • Do you need to unplug and take a tech Sabbath?
  • Do you need to simply take a real day of Sabbath rest on a regular basis?
  • Do you need to put family and friends above money and stuff?
  • Do you need to reconnect with the natural world?
  • Do you need to lay off the fast food and enjoy some slow cooking with fresh, local ingredients?

What else might you need to decrease the speed of your days and increase your capacity for thanks-living?

I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I am a work in progress. Right now, however, I pledge to make tomorrow (Saturday) a day where I am free to go very slow, to focus on living, giving, and sharing. How about you? What can you do to enjoy a slow day, month, year, or rest of your life?

Photo by dannysullivan used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!