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My Facebook Sabbatical Comes to a Close.

As you may, or may not have known, I went on a Sabbatical from FB for awhile. And yes, I was so disappointed I had missed umpteen opportunities to find out which Disney Princess I am or which decade I should have been born in!! (insert sarcasm here!!) lol

In all honesty though, it was not as tough as I thought it was going to be. Yes, the first day was hard, and the second day I had almost uncontrollable urges to log into Facebook but I’ll have you know I stood strong in the face of temptation.

As with the breaking of any habit, the first week was the hardest. Ignoring the notifications that were demanding my attention felt like a sacrilege. I also couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was missing something, without being able to give voice precisely to what.FB

I also admit that I missed interacting with everyone on FB….interacting with living, breathing people….although you have to wonder if some might be using false identities. Hahahahaaa!

And now that I have come back to FB there are countless requests to play Pet Rescue Saga, Candy Crush Saga, Bejeweled Blitz, and of course,Farmville among countless others. Yes, I had to go through each of those requests and turn them off because I don’t do Facebook games. Period. Sorry friends.

In taking a sabbatical I came to realize that my life is busy and I’m easily distracted and then it’s easy to feel overburdened and overwhelmed.

I had to be honest and admit that often what causes me anxiety is electronic entertainment/media. Whether it be pinterest, linkedin, tumbler, twitter, texting or email….when I feel available all the time it sometimes becomes too much.

I have come to learn that there is something deeply spiritual about honoring the limitations of my existence as a human being—physical being in a world of time and space.  There is a peace that descends upon my life when I accept what is real rather than always pushing beyond my limits and boundless joy that comes from delighting in God and God’s good gifts

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There is just something about being gracious and accepting and gentle with myself at least one day a week (Sabbath) or for a period of time that enables me to be gracious and accepting and gentle with others.

I have definitely found there is a freedom that comes from being who I am in Christ and resting in Him that eventually enables me to bring something truer to the world than all of my doing. It is when I allow myself to be human in the presence of my Lord and Creator, that I touch something more real in myself and others than all that I am able to produce or make happen.

pause and rest If I think about the time I spend (daily) watching tv, texting, emailing, Facebook, work, family etc, it’s no wonder too often I limp around spiritually, emotionally and physically unhealthy….I haven’t had time to rest!!

I don’t take the time to be renewed….to even have the mental resources and capacity to choose life. The busyness of our lives affects my decisions and my decisions in turn affects those around me. There is something freeing about understanding our limits…..choosing times of rest and proving to ourselves that we can actually live without social media for a time.

As my Facebook-free month started coming to a close, my resolve did waver a bit. I will admit to checking my Facebook notifications more than once, I even “liked” a couple of status’s!! But I no longer feel as though FB takes up so much of my time-a definite win. From my sabbatical, I also learned that Facebook does have positive aspects for me, maybe more than negative.

 

I realized that I just need to change the way I use it, but other than that, it will continue to be a social media tool for me. I will continue choosing to use Facebook to post constructive, positive, and inspirational things, and hopefully through that, I can influence others to be more loving, more giving, more compassionate.

And the main thing that this sabbatical did for me was to give me the time to write on my blog….it gave me time to read, to pray and seek my Heavenly Father…..and I did hear from Him.

Through writing, listening prayer, and taking time to care for myself, I feel a lightness in my spirit, a peace in my soul and a new freedom in my heart. I took time to get some Myofascial release massage and allowed myself some time to sit and talk with my spiritual counselor….all these things were good for my soul and much needed.rest2 I had gone for a long time not writing, and I missed it….and whether anyone reads it or not, blogging is good for my soul, it helps to keep my thoughts directed upward.

Now that my self-imposed sabbatical is over, I will definitely go back to sharing my life on FB, but I hope to do so in a way that is definitely more mindful.

For your weekend…..

20130606_074808May your weekend be filled with constant reminders that the world can spin without your help.

May you make peace with weakness, inadequacy, and uncertainty and welcome the unique gifts they carry with them.

When you find yourself in a situation where anxiety threatens to overwhelm you, take a few moments to breathe in truth and breathe out belief.

Rehearse the companionship of Jesus.

Practice your new identity.

Carry around the stunning, remarkable truth that God is a friend and you have not been left alone.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Emily P. Freeman

Enjoy your weekend….

For those who know me and are “friends” on Facebook, one of the things I love to do is share weekend blessings. Sometimes they are my own and sometimes they are from Emily P. Freeman. She is one of my favorite authors and she shares these weekend blessings as an emotional stop sign, a spiritual mirror and a reminder to slow down and create space to breathe.
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This is from her….

May you enjoy all the blues of summertime and find someone to share them with. May you notice and receive the gifts that present themselves to you in hidden ways, gifts you may not have even known to ask for.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

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Strength for today…

I don’t know if you are like me at all but sometimes when the burdens seem to pile up, and life begins to dish out more than I can handle I often find myself getting overwhelmed…stresses seem to weigh me down and if I am not careful I find myself in a funk and discouraged.

 I usually get like this when I am trying to fight today’s battles with tomorrow’s strength….let me explain….

Matthew 6:34 says; ” Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

We know that God supplies all the strength we need to do all that He’s called us to do…. but, I read one time that He rations this strength much in the same way He rationed manna to the children of Israel…..when I first read that it didn’t make much sense to me but as I meditated on it I began to get it…in His Word, God tells me that He gives me all the strength I need for this day…. and for the challenges of this day.  This strength doesn’t carry over from one day to the next. You either use it, or lose it so to speak…..

Is it possible that He will not give us enough strength today for the battles, tasks, trials and challenges of next week, next month, or even next year. Rather, that this strength will be deposited into our account precisely when we need it, and not a moment before.

Yet, how often am I not looking ahead, feeling weighed down with all that life throws at me, wondering how I am going to get through the coming days, weeks, or months…but I can take comfort and hope  in knowing that God will give me enough strength for today…enough light for the step I am on…and if I keep my eyes focused on Him rather than what looms ahead I can rest in His strength.

The Word says that in this world I will have tribulation, but take heart because our Lord has overcome the world!!!

His mercies are new every morning…and His strength is available each new day…

A Psalm For Women

A Psalm For Women

“Shalom, daughters of God!

Your Father is pleased with you.

How good it is to be called to serve in the household of God.

Thus saith the Lord, ‘Give flesh to the Word of life,

break the bread of justice,

feed all who hunger to take their place at the table.

Lift the cup of freedom filled with the saving blood of Christ who lived and died for us all.

The Child of God was born of woman,

God first chose a woman to lead the opening liturgy of the Incarnate Word.

Now every woman ever after shares in the ministry of the women of Galilee.

Now is the day of deliverance.

Now is the appointed time.

You are the good news God proclaims…

women, claim your freedom,

 live your sacred calling

… you are daughters of God.”

WomanWord (Adapted)

For Glory and Beauty

 “You are to weave the tunic from fine linen, make a turban of fine linen, and make an embroidered sash.  Make tunics, sashes, and headbands for Aaron’s sons to give them glory and beauty. Put these on your brother Aaron and his sons; then anoint,  ordain, and consecrate them, so that they may serve Me as priests.”

Exodus 28: 39 – 41     (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

 

To give them glory and beauty.  That phrase jumped off the page into my heart this week and I’ve been musing over it ever since.  I’m not sure I have figured out exactly what it means but I’m sure that it’s important.  In Exodus, God paints a picture of the sacred with a fine tipped brush.  And that picture is astoundingly beautiful.  Each detail of the tabernacle, the sacrifices, and the garments of the priests sends us a mandate of holiness.  But that holiness is not and can never be our own.  With each clue in this book I’ve unravelled, I’ve fallen more deeply in love with my Savior and what He has done for me.

The Glory and Beauty of our God overflows into the lives of His children.  He adorns us, anoints us, ordains us, and consecrates us to serve Him as priests.  We reflect His Glory and radiate His Beauty to the universe.   In the light of His loving sacrifice we become the men and women He always meant for us to be.

Our Duty

It is up to us

to hallow Creation,

to respond to Life

with the fullness of our lives.

It is up to us 

to meet the World,

the embrace the Whole

even as we wrestle

with its parts.

It is up to us

to repair the World

and to bind our lives to the Truth.

 

Therefore we bend the knee

and shake off the stiffness that keeps us

from the subtle graces of Life 

and the supple gestures of Love.

With reverence

and thanksgiving

we accept our destiny

and set for ourselves 

the task of redemption.

— Rami M. Shapiro

 

I love this Jewish prayer.  It reminds me that it’s OK to embrace God’s love and healing even though I still struggle with the details.  It reminds me that works of redemption and maturity are my sacred duty that makes the world a better place.  It reminds me that prayer is the pathway to wholeness for myself and for those I love.

God bless you dear reader.

Peace,

Lisa

A Beautiful Funeral

Sometimes I think about my funeral.  Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to attend many funerals, some of people I knew well and some of people I barely knew at all.  Years ago I attended the saddest funeral ever.  My husband was there; he gave the eulogy.  I came and brought our young daughter.  An orderly from the hospital came and brought his wife and daughter with him.  That was it – six people – all strangers really.  I had met the deceased only one time.  We went to visit him when he called from the hospital.  I still wonder how he got our phone number.  We talked for about an hour; his story full of bitterness and regret.  It really makes you think about how you treat people.  This man lived a full life but left no one behind to honor and mourn him.  So sad.

This week I attended a beautiful funeral.  A healthy forty year old woman died unexpectedly.  I’ve never seen our little church building so crowded.  Every chair was filled and visitors stood along the walls and overflowed into the lobby.  While there were plenty of tears and grief at a life cut too short, we really came together to say goodbye and celebrate a wonderful woman’s life.  We shared stories, laughed, and remembered the many ways she had touched us before moving on.  I want to earn a funeral like that one.

 I sang two songs in front of all those people.  Three of us sang together, two old hymns.  For the first time in my life I didn’t feel nervous.  I didn’t think about how I looked or how I sounded.  I thought about my friend who had died and all the people there who had come to say goodbye.  And I thought about the words to the songs.  One of them went like this.

Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder,

Why it should be thus all the day long.

While there are others living about us,

Never molested though in the wrong.

Farther along we’ll know all about it.

Farther along we’ll understand why.

Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine.

We’ll understand it all by and by.

 

Sabbath Rest

Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread….”

Bilbo Baggins to Gandalf, from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien

 

Yep, that pretty much describes what I’ve been feeling….no, this is not a post where I am whining and complaining, rather I am becoming consciously aware that the signs for rest have been there and in my busyness I have ignored them.

 

I’ve been studying about the Sabbath rest….how God balanced work and rest in a healthy rhythm. He created for six days and then guiltlessly ceased from His labor on the 7th. He stepped back from all of it and feasted, enjoyed all that He had done. I am realizing even more that He designed me/us for the need to pause, to be restored and to rest. The need for Sabbath.

 

Tilden Edwards in his book, Sabbath Time, says that we should find a balance between surrendering to the busy demands of our culture and totally withdrawing from it. “Christian Sabbath”, he writes, “refers both to a special day of the week, and to a special quality of time available daily.” It is in this structural and symbolic context that I am beginning to practice Sabbath rest.

Author Abraham Heschel also describes the Sabbath as the state wherein we lie still, where the weary are at rest. He speaks about how we have fallen victim to the work of our hands, and he cautions that we have neglected the pursuit of the eternal in the pursuit of the temporary.

 

Sadly, sometimes I work more than I sabbath because I believe that I am somehow earning extra points with God. I must always be doing, laboring, working, striving. The Holy Spirit has to remind me that God’s grace, not my work, has secured my standing. Christ invites me to slow down. And so when I read Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”, the words pierce my heart with joy as I drag my weary soul around….

 

It is in the quietness that Christ whispers to my soul, “Welcome to the grace that offers rest.”

 

Because it is in this grace that I begin to put into practice and receive the spirit of sabbath rest. It begins to bring balance to my soul. God spoke to Moses through a burning bush and said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” So that means that any place where God reveals Himself is holy ground….

And I really understood for the first time today that the Sabbath was the first thing God declared to be holy. God declared His work on the first six days as good, but He named the day of rest as “holy”. It’s these Sabbath moments when I take the time to catch my breath that God reveals Himself…and these moments are holy….and just like Moses I remove my sandals.

 

“Rest is a decision we make. Rest is

choosing to do nothing when we have too much to do, slowing down

when we feel pressure to go faster, stopping instead of

starting. Rest is listening to our weariness

and responding to our tiredness, not what is making us tired.

Rest is what happens when we say one simple

word:”NO!”

Unconquered

What do you think about this poem, Invictus, by William Ernest Henley?

OUT of the night that covers me,
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
  For my unconquerable soul.
  
In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.
  
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
  
It matters not how strait the gate,
  How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

Most people would call it a very un-Christian poem.  On face value, I would have to agree.  After all, isn’t Christianity about submitting our lives and will to God?  Henley here is anything but submissive.  Yet somehow, I LOVE this poem.  

This poem speaks to me of freedom and of courage.  I think free will, freedom, must be God’s greatest and most painful gift.  I wonder if the stars in the heavens gasped a collective breath when God had the mettle to place the gift of freedom in the hands of corruptible human beings.  Freedom admits the possibility of the billions of ways fellow humans violate one another and yet, He valued us enough to place it in our hands.  How painful it must be for Him, as loving Father, to watch what we’ve done with it, even knowing that in the end most of us would blame him for the consequences of the choices that we’ve made.  How great a gift!  How costly!

And then there’s courage.  I’ve begun to think that courage is the most important thing.  Yes, love… love is the most valuable thing in the universe.  But what is love without courage?  Without courage love wilts and dies before it blooms.  Courage births and sustains love.  It testifies that God exists and that divinity is native to the human heart.  And courage partnered with love is an unconquerable combination.  It is the formula for faith.  Courage with love allows a single person to resist the pressure of a crowd; a peasant to stand against a king; a child to say ‘no’.

You survived.  You chose to live, bloody but unbowed.  You are unconquered.