Wash It Away

I’ve been quieter about my Lenten journey this year. It’s not been on purpose. I didn’t plan it that way is what I mean. The last time I sat down to write, the internet was out. At first, I was irritated about the inconvenience of it. By the time we found out it would be a couple of days until a new piece of equipment arrived, I was over it and enjoyed no internet.

One of the purposes of my Lenten journey this year was to spend less time on social media, my phone and laptop. I realized halfway into the season that I had not done well with the “less time” part. Then we had no internet and I was forced into it. And it was good.

I was less distracted so I read more. And studied more. I had longer conversations with my family. I listened better. I thought through ideas fully. I felt more at ease and it seemed easier to move at soul-speed.

Then the internet was up again and it all went back to how it was before. The restlessness. The wasted time. The countless distractions.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Internet or not, we are bombarded with opportunities to look, like, scroll, watch, read, post the perfectly filtered photo, create the wittiest caption, comment, and check stats. For what? Why do I give in to the distractions when I know it’s not what I need?

I believe the question is one each of us needs to ask ourselves, wrestle with, and answer honestly. And it won’t do any good to put it out of our minds and ignore it. Why do we allow such unnecessary distractions? Are they doing any good for us? There may be some good in it and because of it. I read many inspirational posts throughout the week that remind me of truth and encourage me. But we all know our screens aren’t filled with all things encouraging. It’s too easy to compare or envy or become less and less content with our lives. And we really need to be concerned when we care more about our social media presence than with who we are in real life with the people God gave us. We need to ask how we can use social media for the good of others; how we use it wisely; how we can prevent it from stealing valuable time and real connection with real people.

These are questions I’m asking.

So I’m deleting a couple of apps from my phone today, because having instant access to all the distractions is part of the problem for me. This is a start and it will help, but I plan to keep asking the questions. I will keep wrestling because I don’t want to give in to a distracted life.

If you’re one who has found out how to do this well I wish you’d share with the rest of us. We can all learn from one another.

I’ll leave you with beautiful thoughts from Jan Richardson. She blogs at The Painted Prayerbook. This is from one of her 2012 Lenten posts.

“….we carry so much that can serve to insulate us from recognizing and being present to the God who is always present to us, and who still perceives our beloved shape beneath the layers of grime that cling to our souls. The distractions we build our lives around; the harm we cause others or ourselves; our inability to see ourselves as God sees us: how might we allow God to wash all this away, not so that God can see us more clearly, but so that we can see the God who makes a home within us?”

 

 

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

 

Open Spaces

I posted this over a year ago but I’m sharing it again because I need the reminder. It’s another Live Like It Matters Challenge and it’s a good one. I have to work hard at this one.

What we do with our time tells the world a lot about us.

How do you spend your time? What does your calendar or planner say about your life?

Last month I didn’t like what my planner said about me. It said I’m busy doing a lot of things. Good things, too. But when I’m not careful about how I plan, I end up doing a lot of additional things and ignoring essential ones.

I have to regularly ask myself: is my life busy or bountiful? Manageable or meaningful? Do I value relationships over routine?

We are afflicted with the idea that we aren’t accomplishing anything unless we are rushing here and there, checking off the items on our “to do” list. But a full calendar doesn’t equal an abundant life. I cannot feel the spaciousness of God’s love when I’ve crammed my calendar full.

When I crowd my calendar with a lot of additional unnecessary activities, I crowd out opportunities for good conversations. I push away the chance of a meaningful encounter. I cannot live on purpose when I’m running around trying to accomplish a lot of things. When I’m rushing from one place to the next I don’t see the people around me. I may see them with my eyes, but not with my heart.

I won’t take the time to smile and say hello to the elderly lady behind me. I won’t notice the young boy in the cereal aisle that’s lost his mother.  I’ll rush through a phone call from my sister.

Because I want to live like it matters and after years of doing it the wrong way, I know that I need time in my home with my family and I need solitude. So I must be wise when planning and making commitments. Since I work full-time most of my days are filled but I can be intentional about my evenings.

I’ve learned that I need plenty of blank spaces in my calendar….some unplanned blocks of time…………time to move at soul-speed. The kind of time when I’m still and my heart is open to any kind of heavenly thought that God might send my way.

The unplanned time can be the most meaningful time spent. The kind that allows for a lengthy unrushed phone call with a long distance friend. Or a cozy movie night at home with my husband because the kids are out of the house unexpectedly. Or a nap on a Sunday afternoon.

We all need open spaces in our calendars.

My Live Like It Matters Challenge to you is to leave some open spaces in your planner. Circle them if you have to but leave them blank. See what it does for you. See what it does for the people around you.

Unplanned time is time well spent.

Because how you spend your time matters. And how you plan or don’t plan matters.

Live like it matters.
Rush

Photo courtesy of Pexels

In His Hands

I knew this journey of Lent would be a slowing down for me as it should be. How can I reflect and reconnect and refocus at high speed? Those are “soul-speed” kinds of things.

So I am learning to take my time……take it in………be present.

The reading for Day 7 from Bread and Wine is called the The Relinquished Life. My favorite line is “God will make you fit for all He requires of you.” I recalled the verse that struck me last week from Jeremiah.

But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.     Jeremiah 18:4

If I’m going to be made fit for all He requires or shaped as seems best to Him……then I need to let Him do it. The clay is there for the potter to shape. The clay is marred but the clay is soft.

I must remain pliable in His hands.

And the shaping of pots is probably done best at soul-speed.

 

photo by Quino Al

Open Spaces 

What we do with our time tells the world a lot about us.

How do you spend your time? What does your calendar or planner say about your life?

Last month I didn’t like what my planner said about me. It said I’m busy doing a lot of things. Good things, too. But when I’m not careful about how I plan, I end up doing a lot of additional things and ignoring essential things.

I have to regularly ask myself: is my life busy or bountiful? Manageable or meaningful? Do I value relationships over routine?

We are afflicted with the idea that we aren’t accomplishing anything unless we are rushing here and there, checking off the items on our “to do” list. But a full calendar doesn’t equal an abundant life. I cannot feel the spaciousness of God’s love when I’ve crammed my calendar full.

When I crowd my calendar with a lot of additional unnecessary activities, I crowd out opportunities for good conversations. I push away the chance of a meaningful encounter. I cannot live on purpose when I’m running around trying to accomplish a lot of things. When I’m rushing from one place to the next I don’t see the people around me. I may see them with my eyes, but not with my heart.

I won’t take the time to smile and say hello to the elderly lady behind me. I won’t notice the young boy in the cereal aisle that’s lost his mother.  I’ll rush through a phone call from my sister.

Because I want to live like it matters and after years of doing it the wrong way, I know that I need time in my home with my family and I need solitude. So I must be wise when planning and making commitments. Since I work full-time most of my days are filled but I can be intentional about my evenings.

I’ve learned that I need plenty of blank spaces in my calendar….some unplanned blocks of time…………time to move at soul-speed. The kind of time when I’m still and my heart is open to any kind of heavenly thought that God might send my way.

The unplanned time can be the most meaningful time spent. The kind that allows for a lengthy unrushed phone call with a long distance friend. Or a cozy movie night at home with my husband because the kids are out of the house unexpectedly. Or a nap on a Sunday afternoon.

We all need open spaces in our calendars.

My Live Like It Matters Challenge to you is to leave some open spaces in your planner. Circle them if you have to but leave them blank. See what it does for you. See what it does for the people around you.

Unplanned time is time well spent.

Because how you spend your time matters. And how you plan or don’t plan matters.

Live like it matters.

Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

Soul-Speed

 

IMG_2608I was sitting in one of my favorite spots this morning and noticed the sun shining onto the floor through the back door. I only noticed it because it’s the weekend and I was there on the love seat, sipping my 2nd cup
of coffee. On other days, I’m already at work by the time the sun comes through the grids on the door and makes this diamond shaped design on our bamboo floors.

But on the weekends I can sit and sip my coffee and read for as long as I like. I don’t have to be anywhere at a particular time. I move slower on these days……at soul-speed. The kind of pace that allows me to notice the way the sun is shining, and the leaves are changing, and the path the neighbor’s dog follows in the mornings. At soul-speed I can ponder things until they’re pondered out. At this pace I can have a nice long conversation with my husband and throw the ball with our dog for 30 minutes and make pancakes for the kids when they wake up.

At soul-speed, I catch up with myself.