A Little Lift-pt 3 in self-care series

We are wrapping up our self-care series with the care of our spirits. I hope you have found something helpful to grab onto in this series. Sometimes it just takes one thing to breathe life into the places that we have given up on. Change can happen in small ways that lead to big changes–like a blast of warm air to lift a hot air balloon.

I believe that hope is a fundamental need like faith and love. No matter where we fall on the religion meter-from atheist to agnostic to believer–I hope we can agree that we, as humans, are spiritual beings and as such we need to be intentional in caring for that part of us. We know that in the natural world things left untended become stunted or overgrown into barrenness or chaos–neither of which, in my opinion, lead us anywhere good.

I believe in good and evil. I want to nurture good in my spirit and resist evil. I believe in God as Father, Son and Spirit. I believe He is good, powerful, and just. I believe He is love. I believe that I am the creation of a Creator. If you have doubts or just plain don’t agree, I encourage you to read on anyway. I don’t intend to preach and you might find something useful for your own spiritual journey.

Hope and help for the spirit can be found in the acronym–L.I.F.T.

L-love. Pursue love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1)

Our spirits are created by love, fed by love, and designed for love. The opposite of love is not only hate but indifference and apathy. In order to pursue love, we have to be open and willing to be open and willing.

Spiritual gifts are, well… gifts…from our Creator as a way to connect with Him and each other in a deeper and more profound way. They help us to reveal the love of our Creator and change our focus from earthbound thinking to a higher more spiritual view. Do some research, if you are curious, and find out what they are and how they can build our spirits and others.

I-inspiration. Look for it and let it do it’s work.

This life–day in and day out–can rob our spirits of the joy, hope, peace and grace that is ours. Find what  brings inspiration to you, on a spiritual level. This can include reading scripture, meeting with others who can encourage us n our faith, and going to church or group studies. Don’t wait for it to appear, although that will happen when you are open to it, but seek it out.

F-faith. It is the food of the spirit. Find ways to grow it.

Our spirits feed on faith and faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We must cultivate it and help it to grow. Prayer, meditation, worship, readings, talking with a pastor, priest or church leader–these are all things that feed our faith. Think of faith like a muscle–the more you use it the more it grows.

T-treasure yourself and others as spiritual beings.

It is easy to see each other as just bodies and personalities. It is easy to forget that we are spiritual beings designed for much more. Treasuring ourselves and others acts as a lightening rod for lifting our spirits and allows us to share not only our faith but to seek out those who are on a similar path.

 

If you take nothing else from this series, I hope you have realized that you are precious. Your body, soul, and spirit are treasures of the rarest kind. There is no one like you on the face of this earth. Never has been–never will be. Seek out ways to treasure yourself as a way to honor the gift that is you and the Creator that made you. In the press of daily life try and remember to REST your body, CARE for your soul, LIFT your spirit.

Heidi Mull,  looking for a lift, hoping to catch a warm breeze.

Rest In Motion(Pt.2 in Self-care series)

Rest in Motion seems to be a contradiction of words and ideas but according to Sir Isaac Newton, who was a pretty smart guy, and inventor/scientist/philosopher of the Laws of Motion, these two are very much intertwined. Now before you start to worry that I am going to get all-scientific on you and these words start to look like “blah, blah, blah” let me just say that one of the problems we face in the 21st century was addressed by Newton so hang tight and please, read on. Newton’s first law of motion is often stated as:

newton110An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

To me (a non-physics expert) that means we keep doing what we are doing unless something makes us do something different. It’s very true that we get in a lifestyle rut sometimes and we either go to the side of doing NOTHING or to the side of OVERDRIVE neither of which is good for us. I tend to go to maximum overdrive and it is that problem I want to address here  but I think the ideas presented today would be helpful to both sides.

We have been talking about taking care of ourselves–not as a self-indulgent practice or a ME-focused ideology but as a way to: 1) remain healthy longer, 2) be more productive, 3) set an example. We only get one body, soul and spirit and how we treat them is key to being able to fulfil our purposes and destinies here on earth.

Imagine if when you turned 16 you were given a car and that car was yours for the rest of your time here on earth. You would be given no other and buying was not an option.

firstcar

I can only imagine how well I would treat that car especially when I noticed those who didn’t take care of theirs and were forced to walk or hitch a ride everywhere. Their lives would be EXTREMELY limited in range, possibility, and potential. Taking care of ourselves is key to living life to the fullest. I’m pretty sure I want to be able to do just that.

 

Intentionally caring for ourselves is necessary to crafting a more HOPE-full life.

I gave 3 acronyms for restoring health and hope to our spirit, soul, and body in the last post–Finding Hope…Again. They were R.E.S.T. for the body; C.A.R..E for the soul and L.I.F.T. for the spirit. Let’s take them one by one, working from the outside in and start with the body. In the subsequent posts we will cover the soul and finally, the spirit.

REST

Rest is a four letter word and is viewed by some with a snarl, lip-curl, or eyes rolling. It is hard to admit that we need rest. In our fast-paced, 21st century, the-early-and-late-bird-gets-the-worm mentality, rest is not valued or viewed as an asset despite what research tells us. If you are interested, just google “rest and body health” or check out: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

 

Here’s my take on this idea of R.E.S.T.

R is for Re-think my lifestyle choices.

I can very easily justify my crazy, non-stop got  days:

I’ve got a full house.

I’ll rest when they’re grown.

They need me.

I want to live a full life.brain-cogs-injury_222

Just one more thing

I couldn’t say no.

I feel guilty just sitting around.

I’ll catch up on my rest later.

And my husband’s personal favorite…If I don’t do it-it doesn’t get done.

This type of thinking is caused by letting someone else drive my car. Their plans and their agenda are pushing me. These ridiculous, unrealistic expectations of what a full and fulfilled life looks like are killing me/us. Our kids, too. Check out the research on that if you dare. We could all sloooooooow down a bit and the world would not stop spinning.

Re-think and re-examine your lifestyle choices. If for some reason your couldn’t keep up all of your commitments and plans what would happen?…?

I totally understand that there are seasons in life, I’ve been there when it’s  just crazy…did I mention the part about having and homeschooling 5 kids (4 of which were born in 5 years). Those are season– not a way to live.

 

E is for exercise.

Our bodies will stay at rest or in motion unless we act upon them with something different. Researchers have found that too much exercise is just as detrimental as too little, however, that has not been my problem. I have been told by my doctor, and read research, that walking is the best exercise. 1/2 hour, 2-3x per week–that’s it. That’s the baseline. Take a walk, no weights, just move your arms and breathe deep. public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-shoes-walking-feet-grey-gravel--1000x666

On those days when I am really tired I amble, meander or stroll–just putting my body into motion is an accomplishment.

If walking outside isn’t an option then try this: http://www.walkathome.com. It’s a great program. Super easy, multi-levelled and fun to do.

 

S is for sleep.

I LOVE sleep. For years I didn’t get much (lots of babies and toddlers), and then when my husband was hurt (see post in March 2016) I was up ALOT with him and then my Mom’s illnesses…

Did I mention I love sleep? I have learned the value of a nap–cat or otherwise. cat-sleeping-funny-photo.jpgI think that’s what sitcom reruns are for. I love to nap to Everybody Loves Raymond because I’ve seen them a hundred times and they are usually funny to wake up to.

If naps worked for Einstein,  then they’re good enough for me. http://www.inquisitr.com/1754670/albert-einstein-among-other-great-minds-proved-the-efficacy-of-micro-naps/

It’s always amazing to me how much better life looks after some sleep. The old adage of “Let’s sleep on it” is based in ancient wisdom and modern research.  Here are some great tips from the people at the Mayo Clinic on sleep.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

Our bodies/brains do some of their best work while we are sleeping.

T is for time

Nivens-McTwisp-White-Rabbit-Concept-Art-alice-in-wonderland-2010-11205475-563-675

Time is a finite commodity. In other words, we can’t make more time. What we need to do is use it wisely.

Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

I do myself and others no small favor when I slow down to care for myself. I am NO fun when I am burned-out, run-down and over-committed. Jesus, himself, invites us to walk with Him in a way that is easy and light. In the Message translation of the Bible it says that He will teach us to “walk in the unforced rhythms of grace”. Now that’s an invitation I don’t want to miss. By taking time to care for this body, I am honoring myself, my purposes, my loved ones (they deserve the best version of me) and my Creator. If He can take time to REST on the 7th day who am I to argue?

Heidi Mull, R.E.S.T-ing, re-thinking, and learning the rhythms of grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Hope…Again. #1 Self-care series

May is well under way and I have found myself struggling with some echos of the past like negative self-talk, extreme weariness, resentment, bitterness, blame-shifting…

In trying to locate the origin of these bad boys, I began to realize that I have done this to myself. I took my eyes off of the road, my hands off the wheel and without a second thought have driven myself into a desert of my own making.  desert

In accepting such a responsibility, I  am compelled to find a way back out and to do that I go back to the basics which includes things like:

I am not invincible

I need rest/sleep/time alone

I need to re-learn to time management

I can say  “NO”.

Consequently, I have been thinking about self-care and the idea that when life gets busy, maybe too busy, the first thing to go is myself.

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to run myself into the ground whether through too much activity and busy-ness or

through allowing negative thought cycles to go unchallenged and unchecked or

ignoring my spirit for too long.

In deserting myself, I find myself in this desert somewhat lost, alone, and without water. So how do I get out of here and back to the lushness of a well-tended garden/life?rainbowtree

I have to remind myself that

life is marathon and not a sprint,

negative thoughts are seeds that if left alone long enough will bear fruit,

I am a spiritual being.

Those are the times that I find myself in this state of crisis. Feeling overwhelmed, put upon, resentful, exhausted, defeated…not very hopeful at all. Then comes shame, self-pity and a host of other bugs and critters.

I get physically, mentally and emotionally winded, side stitches and leg cramps as well as dehydrated. It’s so ridiculous and laughable if it wasn’t so pitiful.

The spirit, soul and body connection is unmistakable in this situation.spirit-soul-body-820a

I have worn out my body.

I have let crud infect my soul.

My spirit is a neglected space.

...and HOPE is no where to be found.

I need a map to get back to a place where hope can be found, crafted, cultivated and intentionally grown. And I know just such a map…spyglassmap

The Latin phrase, “omne trium perfectum”  conveys the idea that everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete. We are triune beings (spirit, soul and body) and when we neglect even one portion of ourselves, we become so much less than our potential. We allow a portion of our being to become a desert. Here are some ideas or maps to find our way back.

The Body

Hope and help for the body can be found in the acronym–REST.

R-rethink: your lifestyle choices. Am I over-scheduling or saying ‘yes’ too often? Am I eating well? What about the pace of my life? Life is NOT a sprint–it IS a MARATHON.

E-exercise (or not): Depending on your own fitness level, do you need to kick it up a notch,  just get moving (take a walk) or cut back to allow your body some recovery time.

S-sleep: seriously, sleep is one of the leading causes of physical, mental, emotional issues. Take a nap. Go to bed earlier, if possible.

T-time: Take/Make time to eat, drink, walk, rest…you only get one body–care for it.

 

The Soul

Hope and help for the soul can be found in the acronym–CARE

C-create s safe space for your soul to grow. Avoid negativity, insults, sarcasm whether from yourself or others. Our journey in this life is one of discovery.

A-allow yourself to be vulnerable to love and goodness. Don’t let hurt and fear build a wall.

R-reach out to others and work to build a support group/community.

E-enjoy even the smallest treasures/moments. Learn to savor.

 

The Spirit

Hope and help for the spirit can be found in the acronym–LIFT

L-love. Pursue love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1)

I-inspiration. Look for it and let it do it’s work. Read scriptures, go to church, talk to other people of faith.

F-faith. It is the food of the spirit. Find ways to grow it. Church, small group, meditation, readings, etc.

T-treasure yourself and others as spiritual beings.

Sounds simple, I know, but keep in mind that while simple may be better, it is not necessarily easier. We are headed for summer and the busy joys that come with it so take some time now to assess your body, soul and spirit.

Hope can and will be found when you seek it out and do what it takes to be a healthy triune being.cropped-wp_20150617_016-e14345886078481.jpg

Heidi Mull, mulling over the mess of me, making myself a priority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repairing the Breach

Things fall apart, people disappoint, hearts break, hope dies…we are left with the breaches, breaks, and torn seams. Now what? Where do we go from here?

Things don’t fix themselves, people don’t always change, hearts don’t heal well on their own and hope needs resurrected. So…

Once more into the breach

King Henry:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger. . . .

Henry The Fifth Act 3, scene 1, 1–6

breachpainting‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more’ – is from the ‘Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’ speech of Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act III, 1598. The breach in question is the gap in the wall of the city of Harfleur, which the English army held under siege. Henry was encouraging his troops to attack the city again, even if they have to ‘close the wall with English dead’.

Quite the battle cry as we continue on our theme of intentional action with the thought of repairing the breach. We are going into the breach but what exactly is a breach?

What is a breach?

NOUN –1. an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct:“a breach of confidence”. 2. a gap in a wall, barrier, or defense, especially one made by an attacking army.

 In our broader use of this word, we are talking about areas in our lives that have grown weak or weary with daily wear-and-tear or are broken down through some type of drama or trauma. Breaches that we have caused and breaches caused by others…Breached-retaining-wall-Mallah-lake

 hurtful words,
failure of any kind,
loss,
disappointment,
fear,
anger/arguments unresolved,
grief,
insults, betrayal, etc…
These kinds of things can lead to breaches in our lives and hearts.
Take up your symbolic needles and start…

Repairing the Breach.

needleandthread.jpg
The quote above (Henry V) is a great example of summoning our courage to be intentional about crafting a more HOPE-full life.
Intentional action is the goal of this year.
A needle is a useless piece of steel until it’s put into action.
It can’t be wielded willy-nilly but must be applied where it’s needed.
I encourage you to pick just one thing in your life to work on for awhile.
Change/healing takes time.
Whether it’s attitude, relationship, work-related, goal, dream or something different altogether, begin now.

The repairing of a breach begins with one stitch.–HM

Ask yourself: Is there one thing that I can do differently?

Can I change my response/reaction?

Is there something/someone I need to let go of?

Is there something/someone I need to re-connect with?

In this remember, we can only change ourselves not another person and sometimes, not our situation–at least not right away…so “gird up your loins” and get ready to engage.

WARNING: Being intentional requires properly applied stubbornness.

Gird up your loins

Back in the days of the ancient Near East, both men and women wore flowing tunics. Around the tunic, they’d wear a belt or girdle. While tunics were comfortable and breezy, the hem of the tunic would often get in the way when a man was fighting or performing hard labor. So when ancient Hebrew men had to battle the Philistines, the men would lift the hem of their tunic up and tuck it into their girdle or tie it in a knot to keep it off the ground. The effect basically created a pair of shorts that provided more freedom of movement. Thus to tell someone to “gird up their loins” was to tell them to get ready for hard work or battle. It was the ancient way of saying “man up!”(or “woman up”)

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.–Lao Tzugreatwall

 Where you are now is not where you must stay. The hurt, disappointment and fear doesn’t define you. We are being intentional and forward thinking.

Start where you are–with what you have.

Be stubborn. Be intentional. Gird up your loins.

Each morning, and as often as is necessary, look into a mirror and say to yourself…

Once more into the breach, dear friend, once more.

 

Heidi Mull, re-thinking, repairing , and girding (as needed).

 

 

Walking on water…

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The air around me was heavy with the smell of salt and seaweed. The sun was beginning to set and the sky was colored in hues of pink and grey. The sand was wet beneath my feet and the water was warm. I looked around, smiled and stepped out onto the water…

Well, almost…change onto to into and that’s what I did last week.

A friend, armed with her bucket list, said. “Lets go to the beach. We’ll just drive down, spend the night and come back. It’s on my bucket list and I need to get away.”

Understanding her need and feeling the same, we made plans and last week we drove about 8 hours, spent Friday night and Saturday on the beach then drove 8 hours home. It was glorious.

While there is only One who has ever truly walked on water the idea of it intrigued me as I stood for a long time just watching the waves. The ocean, like life, is ever changing and moving yet somehow steady in the passing of time. The idea of storms and rolling waves I can apply to my life so why not walking on water, too?

So then how does hope–as we have been learning about this past year–how does this hope help me to rise above the waves and keep on going through the changing ocean, seascape, seasons, storms, and tides?

As I stood on the shore with my feet in the water, I saw something off into the distance. It was directly in front of me–a buoy. I watched it bob around as the motor boats flew by and the tide rolled in. As the sun set, I heard a whisper in my heart, “That’s hope“.

Hope is like a buoy in the water. Bouncing, bobbing, rolling but never sinking. Hope is what keeps us buoyant on the sea of life. Hope is like air–hope floats.

Hope is what helps us to walk on water.

In order to walk on water we have to buoyant and in order to be buoyant we have to learn to lighten our load. I touched on three ways to embrace change in the last post (The Secret of Change). These can help us as we choose what to take with us on our journey towards a more HOPE-full life and what we will leave behind.

  1. Savor the good/shed the negative
  2. Learn from the past/be in the present
  3. Be joyful in hope

Savoring & Shedding

The word savor is that desire to linger, to relish and to cherish a smell, flavor, feeling or moment of something good–to let it wrap around your soul like a blanket or coat and soak in. This is vital to being buoyant/hopeful. Savoring the good is like covering ourselves in waterproof oil. It insulates us from the cold water seeping into our souls. This goes hand in hand with shedding the negative. Bad stuff happens–and sometimes it’s even my fault–but I can choose to walk in grace both with my self and others. I can learn to shed the negative like water off a duck’s back.

In research about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), it was discovered that part of the problem in recovery is that the traumatic event is continually playing on a loop in the head of the person affected–in the forefront or in the back round. The brain is stuck in the trauma and as it continues to play the grooves/tracks keep getting deeper. In order to get out of the groove the brain needs to build new pathways. Savoring, even the smallest things like a cup of coffee in the morning or the taste of your favorite pastry, was found to be a powerful tool in building new neural pathways and breaking out of the trauma loop. So savoring even the smallest moment or good in each day can insulate from the cold water of the negative. Savor each small kindness or moment. Savoring is the power of gratitude in action. I like to call it the oil of gladness. This is what helps us the let the negative slide on past–like water off a duck’s back.

Learning & Being

Oh the pesky power of the past to permeate our present and perpetrate powerlessness.

It’s enough, I say. Time to learn the lessons from the past, shed the old skin and step into the bountiful blessing of just be-ing.

When we are BE-ing, not only are we collaborating with chronological time, but we are touching on *kairos, and are freed from the normal restrictions of time.”
Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

*Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment); exists outside of normal time.

The past is heavy–very heavy. Especially if it’s full of regrets or recriminations. The best way to lighten our load and to free us to be in the present is to learn from the past. Accepting our failures and the failures of others doesn’t mean that it’s okay just that I am releasing forgiveness to myself and others. To me, forgiveness is cutting the weights and ties like little anchors or cords that keep me from be-ing in the present.

I ask myself this question–So then what can I learn from the past mistakes or successes?–and in looking/finding some answers I then bring the lessons into today and cut the links to the past. Sometimes the lessons are obvious like– don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Sometimes they are more difficult to see. Pain/hurt can blur our vision for awhile and that’s where seeking wise counsel can be helpful. Sometimes the lesson is that life is a mystery but we can still choose to release the negative and embrace hope.

I know this sounds simple but I also know that it can be one of the hardest things to do. We can really only live in the present. We have memories of the past and hopes for the future but we are alive when we are able to BE in the present. Our past pain, failures, and successes have been allowed to define us but it’s not who we are today…it’s not.

The lessons that we learn from the past are what enable us to see how good (wisdom/blessings) can come out of hardships. We can’t walk on the water when we are weighed down with past junk. Time to lighten the load.

Being joyful and hopeful

If hope is the buoy in the water then joy is the is the feeling of freedom and movement that comes each time a wave hits and the buoy just bobs to the left or right. Fear and regret restrict our movement. Our ability to love and breathe today are frozen when we are tied/bound to these two. The ability to be joyful in hope is the result of the first two steps. Change is not to be feared but embraced because we have learned to savor the good and shed the negative. We have learned from our past and embrace being in the present. This brings us to a most wonderful place where we can be joyful in hope. Remember our definition of hope back in January?

Hope can be defined as a desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.

Joy can be defined as the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good (hope)

So being joyful in hope is crafting hope and letting yourself feel it. Joy is the expression of hope and hope is the foundation of joy.

My friends, I realize that all of this is much easier to write about than to do but I want to encourage and challenge you with this: the results are immeasurable and worth the effort.

Crafting a more HOPE-full life is a journey for the brave.

And if you don’t feel brave, remember the advice from one dear friend to another:

You are braver than you believe,

stronger than your seem,

and smarter than you think.

Christopher Robin to Winnie-the-Pooh.

Heidi Mull, at times wading on the shore; at times walking on the water.

What Comfort is NOT…

We are mid-April with May just around the corner. Tax day is behind us and we could all use a little comfort there.

April is the month of sharing hope through comfort and comfort through giving a gift. Whether homemade (see Tidings of Comfort and…Hope blog for ideas) or through time and care (see On Comforting the Sick or Injured blog post).

I would like to talk about what comfort is not. Comfort is NOT fixing, changing, nagging, lecturing, busy-ness, rearranging, blaming, taking over, or giving advice… you get the picture.

Comforting IS action but it is not an action imposed on another but rather the act of coming alongside where that person is and being there with them.

To offer consolations:

“I know it is hard right now”

“I see you are in pain”

“I’m sorry for your loss, pain, suffering.”

Like the map at the mall or amusement park that says “YOU ARE HERE”. Comfort comes and stands or sits “HERE”. So our gifts say “I see you are…HERE”. No matter how big or small, simple or elaborate, a gift of comfort is filled with hope.

Hope says:

“You are NOT alone”

“This too shall pass”

“Don’t give up”

We don’t have to understand it all or offer wisdom of the sages or do it perfectly. All we can offer is some hope for better days wrapped up in a small gift of comfort.

small gift box

Heidi Mull, letting go of what I can’t fix…

and fixing up a small gift basket for a friend who is grieving the recent loss of her father.

Next stop…HERE.

Finding Perspective

monica well pix

March is almost over and spring is working its way here. I hope that you have made time to look around and see what brings you hope and maybe took the step of engaging in our craft for this month.

I, myself, have been struggling with hope this past week and I think I have found out why…

I love our big picture window in the living room. The view always refreshes me when I start to get cabin fever. Sometimes, though, I just have to go outside, take a walk and get out of the house–to take a step away from “all this” (gesturing at my house , life stuff and family responsibilities). I can get a bit neurotic and weird so a change of scenery is helpful. I know it’s all there when I come back but I have been away and have gained some…perspective

When it hurts to have hope I know that I have lost perspective. I am adrift in the sea of life and can’t get my head above the waves. I wrestle with the idea of accepting that  ‘this is just how it is‘.

I begin to look for something to anchor to when life says:

Give it up.

You aren’t going anywhere.

Things won’t change…ever

Instead of panicking, I let myself just go there…

What if it doesn’t get better? What if things don’t change? What if this IS it…?

Can I be okay? Can I reach down deep inside and find sure footing?

Can I find the hope that stays with me and helps me to make a good life HERE?

It is in this place that I begin to search for my lost my perspective and I must first remember that:

hope isn’t dependent on my circumstances changing (even though I want them too badly),

hope isn’t tied to another person becoming healthier or nicer (even though that would be wonderful),

hope doesn’t wait on “If only” (even though it’s tempting to dream).

Hope is patient expectation. In other words, it is packed with promise and potential for a good outcome.The definition of hope as a verb–an action word-is:  to place confidence (faith) in; to trust (have faith) in with confident expectation of good. (For more on the definition of hope see blog titled: Hope is the thing with feathers). Hope that is grounded, anchored and focused requires an element of faith–a faith in something or someone greater than ourselves–otherwise, it’s like hoping that cotton candy will have some nutritional value as it is consumed.

Hope without faith is like a picture out of focus and perspective.

I have a deep faith in God and as I searched to find a place to stand in hope, I came to a crossroads of faith and I asked myself, “What DO I believe?”  Here I find my perspective is changed –just like when I take a walk or go for a drive.

Just as a picture frame can help to bring the picture or painting into focus and “frame” it so my faith helps to surround my hope, anchor it and give it something to hang on. It brings it all into focus and helps me gain much needed perspective.

Heidi Mull, putting on my jacket for a long walk & wondering if I need a bigger frame.

Rest is not a four-letter word…

      It’s the end of February and I hope you have had time to stop and smell…something good. We are 2 months into our year long journey of crafting hope and I am enjoying our time together and our conversations. Your comments and stories are encouraging and your pictures of your projects bring much joy into the process. Keep them coming and I will work on posting them to share. I am already looking forward to our next thoughts and crafts in March.  Remember just jump in where you are and join us however and whenever you can.  And now to the post:

One of my great enemies in my journey for a hope-full life is weariness. Tired, exhausted, and good old-fashioned tuckered out to name a few variations. Viewing life through the lens of weariness is like trying to buy new jeans after a huge meal. None of them fit right or look right and that 10 pounds you’d like to lose becomes 25.  Or trying to play the Super Bowl wearing slippers. Or figuring out your 5 year financial goals after the seemingly endless nighttime feedings of 2 week old baby.

The process of hope takes time, effort, and energy. It requires room to breath and grow. The effects of stress on our bodies have been scientifically linked to our physical and emotional well-being.  Just type “stress” into your search engine and see what pops up.

Today I find myself craving rest.  And by craving, I mean “a vehement or urgent desire”, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. When I am weary I find that everything is too much. Too big, too hard, too heavy. Life is push, push,  push …so I push back.

I force myself to slooow down.

Breathe deeply.

I resist the tyranny of the urgent.

Reclaim my domain.

I rule my time.

It doesn’t rule me.

I know that I can’t just stop life. Work awaits in all its various forms but I ask myself. How can I simplify? What truly must be done and what can wait for another day. And I purposefully plan to treat myself or indulge myself in some positive, healthy way.  For me it may be a quick, easy dinner, like pizza, instead of something that requires more time and effort so I can have time to soak in the tub or read a good book or listen to music with headphones on while I lounge on the couch. Or watch my favorite show on Netflix–maybe several episodes.  I shove the dirty laundry in a basket (or just step over it ) and set it by the laundry machine to await cleaning for another day.  At work, it’s the same:  what has to be done?  what can wait even one more day?  I shut off my phone. Let my family know my plans/needs and go for it. It’s okay. The earth will still spin, the powers-that-be will still be, the spouse and the kids will not suffer permanent damage. Mine have actually gotten to where they are glad I am taking care of myself. Weary Mom/wife can be weird.

I really do despise the fast-paced life that is thrust upon us. I LIKE having down time If you don’t like the word rest try this one “sabbath“.  It is an ancient Hebrew word meaning rest but encompasses so much more. It speaks to the body, soul and spirit. To cease from your labors and savor being alive. To take/make time to pause and smell the _____. (Coffee, roses, sachet, bubble bath, or Chinese take-out.)

Weariness saps us of our joy. Weariness brings its unwanted friends like despair and futility and, my least favorite, hopelessness.  Rest or sabbath is the antidote for weariness.   Invite a friend.  A sabbath is good to share.

 

When I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary;

When troubles come and my heart burdened be;

Then I am still and wait here in the silence,

Until you come and sit awhile with me.

-written by Brendan Graham (You Raise Me Up).

Heidi Mull,  Queen of the sabbath.