For the busy person who wants to stay connected to God throughout the week!

Archive for July, 2014

Sabbath Sabotage

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Remember when Paul wrote the good that I know I should do I don’t….

Well, he wasn’t alone.  How come we know the things that will bring us inner peace and calm yet don’t practice it?

Today I got an email from Spirituality and Health listing the top 5 ways to bring about inner calm.  Since I can be sucker for an easy fix I read them hoping to find something in that list of 5 that would grab me with a loud “AHA! That’s what I’ve been missing.”  Instead, the list consisted of five things I have heard about for years…refocusing your senses, deep breathing, guided meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and floating thoughts down a stream.Relaxation

These suggestions have been around longer than I have been getting stressed.  And then it dawned on me…

Maybe I should be doing them instead of looking for something new and different!

Which raised another thought…why don’t I do them on a regular basis if they are tried and true?  (because in truth I don’t)

Which raised another thought…why don’t I and our very stressed out culture do the things that make for calm instead of  complaining about how busy and stressed out we are?

Deep breathing, silent meditation, muscle relaxation have been shown to induce relaxation and relieve stress for thousands of years in all cultures.

And yet we ignore them because they aren’t new enough for our fast paced minds.

Furthermore, I read in the NY Times yesterday that a recent study showed that people would rather give themselves a mild shock than spend 5 minutes alone with themselves reflecting silently on their lives!

God gave us the gift of a 24 hour rest period to restore and refresh ourselves.

And we ignore the commandment on a regular basis. (be honest, we do)

We know what we should be doing to relax and slow down.  We just don’t want to do them and it seems we prefer pain to downtime with ourselves.

So the question is what do we get out of not relaxing, not slowing down and not taking a 24 hour Sabbath?  Because if there wasn’t a pay off we wouldn’t keep going at this pace.

I’m going to have to think about this question because I know the answer is inside of me. I guess I will have to take those silent minutes to reflect and see what happens.  Perhaps the answers I come up with be more shocking than a mild self-administered shock. 

How about you?

“I do not understand my actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”  Romans 7.15

Blessings,

Nancy

 

 

A Sabbath Weekend

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I just had one of the most refreshing weekends I have had in a long, long time.  It was like a 48 hour Sabbath instead of a 24 hour one.   Everything I did moved me closer and closer to a sense of renewal and gratitude.  And it wasn’t until the weekend was over that I realized it. 

What started out as a normal weekend with several activities on the calendar turned out to be a time of activity that boosted my energy rather than drained it. 

Reflecting on it I can see elements of what a good Sabbath holds.  There was good food, family and friends.  There was meaningful worship and deepening relationships.  There was music and celebration.  There was time to explore the outside and time to explore my inside.  There were reunions and rebirths. And there was rest.  

IMG_1261At the end of the weekend I felt myself fill with gratitude that God had provided so many wonderful people and such a beautiful creation for me to be a part of. 

It truly was a holy time and a time to touch the holy in life.

Where in your day or weekends do you take the time to touch the holy?

“Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord…Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul…” William Longstaff

Blessings,

Nancy

 

Spiritual Happy Hour

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I came across the term spiritual happy hour the other day and I love it!  Never quite considered having a spiritual happy hour.  We all know the concept behind happy hour – at 5 o’clock or after work you go to a bar, have a few half-priced drinks to unwind and go home feeling relaxed and ‘happy’. 

But a spiritual happy hour?  What is that? A time to read the Bible and have a cocktail?  Me thinks not!  When I think of a spiritual happy hour I think about times that make my spirit soar and that refresh me not just with feeling happy but filling me with joy.Woman praising and enjoying golden sunset

In a secular happy hour we take an artificial stimulant to change our mood and allow us to forget our less than happy circumstances.  In a spiritual happy hour we don’t need anything artificial to change our mood and we come to see that outside circumstances, happy or not, have nothing to do with being filled with joy.  The joy of the spirit comes from the inside and from knowing to whom you belong. 

So what are some of the things that make up a spiritual happy hour?  Well, for many people prayer, meditation, Bible reading and devotional time provide what they need for a spiritual happy hour.  For others though it could be a walk in a beautiful setting, the buck garden in new jersayor a piece of music that transports you in time and space, or a meal shared with dear friends or family, or a conversation of depth and meaning with the one you love. 

In all of these examples something happens to you that takes out of the realm of the every day and connects to something bigger than you and your circumstances.  You know that you are more than just speck of dust in the universe.  You feel loved.  You feel grateful.  You feel a grace and peace flow through you that doesn’t come from work, money or success.  You are changed in this hour and it shows. 

When was the last time you took a spiritual happy hour?  Well, as they say “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”  Let the happy hour begin.

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”  Isaiah 55.12

Blessings,

Nancy

Sabbath Naps

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

For years I have taken a Sunday afternoon nap after preaching in the morning. alphasphereThey always revitalized my energy and gave me a second wind.  My once a week nap was a treasured and protected time.  However, I never carried that idea into my week.  After all I was busy during the week.  There was no time for a nap.

However, due to some circumstances beyond my control, I’ve discovered that naps aren’t just for Sundays!  A quick 2o minute nap each afternoon is better than a shot of caffeine.  65147-stock-photo-blue-relaxation-dark-style-moody-art I’m more alert and far more productive the rest of the day. What took me so long to discover this?

All four of my energy centers benefit from my daily nap – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.  I can think more clearly, feel less dragged down by what is ahead of me, function longer into the afternoon and evening and have the energy to journal, meditate or talk to God without dropping off in the middle.   

After all, Sabbath does mean to rest and so adding a Sabbath nap to your Sabbath moments throughout the week will bless you with renewed and refreshed energy levels so you can more fully engage with life and your God.

“Thereupon I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me.”  Jeremiah 31.26

Blessings,

Nancy

 

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