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The Simple Blessing of Slowing Down

August 17, 2018
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

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A slower life sounds delightful! Maybe that’s why farmhouse living is such a popular idea. We idealize a lifestyle led by simple faith and slower daily routines. 
But I’ll be honest, my farmhouse needs good Wi-Fi. I like the idea of a slower lifestyle, but not when it comes to my computer speed. Even a 3-second delay has me worried I might need an upgrade! (And I’m still waiting for my smartphone to make me smarter.)
The truth is, some of us would be miserable if things slowed down. We’d much rather things hurry up.
The problem is, my soul wasn’t created for hurry. And as a result, hurry is the enemy of what matters most in life.
For so many years it seemed someone pressed fast-forward on my life. And I say “someone” because I felt like a victim. It was always someone else’s fault we were rushing around in the morning or racing out the door in a frenzy.
It took years for me to realize hurry wasn’t a mandate. There were other options, especially those that made me a nicer person. Hurry didn’t bring out my best. In fact, I can be pretty self-centered when I rush. And the work I think I’m crushing is really crushing me.
The “why” behind living an overcrowded life isn’t easy to discover — and mine certainly wasn’t. The reasons I jam-packed my schedule were complicated. Clearly having the right planner or time management program wasn’t the answer. Because underneath it all, I was searching for significance and believed doing more was the answer.
The more you do, the faster you have to work to get it all done. And the hurry cycle begins.
Here’s the problem: Hurry never gets me what I really want.
  • I want deeper relationships with God and others; hurry makes them shallow.
  • I want to think more deeply about the Lord and the world around me; hurry makes it impossible.
  • I want to do better work; hurry steals any excellence I hope to have.
  • I want to serve others well; hurry causes me to brush over their needs
Hurry steals the best from me, and so I must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life.
We were designed to go at a slower pace, to ponder, to process thoughts one at a time, to focus on the face in front of us with tender care. And when we try to go at computer-speed, we miss out on what’s important in life.
The Apostle Paul penned a list of the characteristics a Christian should exhibit when the Spirit of God lives in them. And not one of them is possible when I’m in a hurry: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control …” (Galatians 5:22).
Hurry robs us of the beauty God has placed in front of us and the grace others so desperately need.
Sometimes dealing with hurry is as simple as deciding to slow down. Walk more slowly … talk more slowly. Sometimes it means editing our schedules and removing half (if not more) of our optional responsibilities. 
We can uncover the root of our hurry, but it takes time. To start, the next time you feel hurry start to sneak in and push the gas pedal, pause and breathe deeply. Refuse to be rushed. Declare that hurry has no place in the good work you’re doing or the beautiful life God’s placed before you.
Lord, thank You for Your patience with me. You are never in a rush when I come to You. Help me turn to You more often and invite Your Spirit to have His way in me, bringing a calmness I desperately need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Ecclesiastes 7:8, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (ESV)

What Motivates You


Motivation is a powerful tool.


It's what we use to drive ourselves forward to complete tasks.


It can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from something physical to mental and everything in between.


Motivation can be selfish or unselfish.  Motivation can be as simple as setting your alarm a few minutes early so you can swing by the coffee shop on the way to work for your favorite latte or as complex as outlining your entire career trajectory from junior high on in order to retire on a tiny tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean.


Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes and is limited only by your imagination.  Motivation is driven by personality, skills, expectations, drive, ambition, gender, age, needs, wants, desires... the list goes on and on... which is why being asked what motivates you can seem almost like an impossible question to answer.


Another way to ask this question is "What are you passionate about?"  What is it that gets you out of bed every day with enthusiasm?  Where does your mind go when you're allowed to daydream?

  • Are you an avid rock climber?
  • A dedicated sport enthusiast?
  • What hobbies do you enjoy?
  • Are you most comfortable whipping up elaborate recipes in the kitchen?
  • Do you find satisfaction in creating art?

​Motivation is all this and more.  Determine what your passion is, stay focused on it and continue to strive towards whatever your goals may be.


 Excerpt from Jeff & Mike the Interview Guys: htttps://theinterviewguys.com/what-motivates-you/




Self-Esteem???  Is it good or is it a construed concept?


Webster defines it as “a feeling of satisfaction that someone has in themself and in their own abilities." 


So this definition lends itself to a person having either a low, high or just okay self-esteem level.  If you are satisfied with yourself then you may have a high self-esteem.  If you are not satisfied with yourself then you may have a low self-esteem or you just may fall somewhere in the middle.  But when anything changes in your satisfaction with yourself, your level of self-esteem changes. Is that good or bad???  It depends on how you want to go through life and what you use to determine your level of satisfaction in yourself. 


From a biblical aspect, God wants us to maintain a high level of self-worth simply because we are a child of His.  Notice I said self-worth and not self-esteem.  Self-esteem by definition is based on our perception of our self or how others perceive us.  Self-worth is based on what we perceive of ourselves and if we are a true child of God we will always think of ourselves as being worthy.


Think about it.  The most high God made you in the image of Himself.  Genesis 1:27 says "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female he created them."


It is important that one have a healthy view of oneself.  Jesus said that we should love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).  That implies a sound concept of self-worth.


Romans 5:8 tells us, "But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

If Jesus was willing to leave His glorious place in heaven, suffer humiliation, torture and death, so that you might enjoy heaven with Him forever, then you are priceless.  What you are worth to God never changes.  You are worth the life of His only Son.  Jesus went through the experience of death because He wants to live forever with you by His side.  Your eternal life has been paid for with the priceless gift of the life of Christ.


1 Corinthians 6:20 says, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."


And if that weren't enough, did you realize that you are a source of joy to God?  It's true:


"The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).


Me Time


What is "Me Time"?

Time spent relaxing on one's own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.


Women take less time for themselves than men, thus putting their health at risk.  Women today have been told we have it all -- careers, families, kids, community involvement, and relationships.  But all too oftern, having it all leaves us with no time or strength left for ourselves.  There's a tremendous amount of stress and pressure put on women trying to accomplish all of these roles.  In doing all of this we tend not to give adequate care to ourselves.


Whatever your case may be, women need to take time each day to do something for yourself.  We tend to think of leisure as a luxury.  When time gets tight, it's usually the first thing to go.  But having enough downtime is actually a necessity for optimal coping and thriving.  In fact, lack of adequate time for rest, relaxation and personal interests may be one reason that U.S. women repor feeling more stressed than their male counterparts.


Make Yourself a Priority


Emotional well-being is closely tied to physical well-being. If we aren’t taking time to rest, relax, reenergize and restore, bad things will happen eventually. Chronic stress increases the risk for a wide range of psychological and physical health conditions, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, digestive disorders and sleep problems.

Beyond that, when we don’t take time to nurture ourselves and indulge personal interests, it’s easy to lose touch with who we are in the world. We can become consumed by the constant press to do life rather than experience life.

We may believe, usually without even being aware of it, that doing for others should always come first.  It's important to recognize and counter this belief.  Tell yourself, "even though I feel guilty, I have no reason to.  So I'm going to do something for myself.  Life isn't all about me, but it is about me too.

  • Remind yourself that me-time keeps you motivated and rested enough to care better for others. In other words, taking care of yourself is actually unselfish, because it makes you a better caregiver and nurturer the rest of the time. This can be a powerful antidote to the unearned guilt and fears that come from worrying about being selfish.
  • Make yourself your top priority.

OK, so you're convinced.  It's time to take time for you.  Now, when can you fit it in?  Don't wait for the time to just magically appear.  It won't.

Schedule Your "Me Time

Make your free time as important as the pediatrician's visit, the conference call and your meeting with the contractor.  Treat it just like any other appointment.

Try to find at least half an hour every day for you.  It doesn't have to be all at once.  And before you decide what you're going to do with the time you're building into your schedule, promise yourself that you won't waste it.  Ue the time concentrating on what you are doing in the moment and not planning on what you need to do next.  

You don’t need a lot of time, either. Here are ideas for making the most of even 5 minutes of "me" time.

If You Have 5-10 Minutes

  • Sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Or a cup of coffee and no newspaper. Just watch the clouds go by. No phone or calendar allowed.
  • Call a friend to chat. This doesn't mean planning the bake sale or organizing the neighborhood watch -- just talk, without an agenda.
  • Move. Get up from your desk, stretch, and walk around the block or up and down a flight of stairs.
  • Breathe deeply. While you're sitting in your office, car, or home, focus on breathing slowly and gently for 5 minutes. It's OK if your mind wanders a bit, but don't start planning what you have to do next -- just follow your breath.
  • Pet your pet. Focus for 5 minutes on cuddling with cat or dog. You'll both feel better.
  • Put on your iPod and hit shuffle. Then just sit and listen.

If You Have 15-30 Minutes

  • Read one chapter of a book you've wanted to make time for. Keep a basket in your office or living room with a good book, magazine, crossword puzzle, or other short escapes.
  • Find a nearby park and go for a brisk walk.
  • Putter. This doesn't mean cleaning the house or organizing your kids' clothes. Instead, it means doing little things at home that you enjoy, like trimming the rosebush and putting together a bouquet for your office or kitchen.
  • Soak in the tub. If you're a parent, make sure another adult is on duty so no one's going to yell "Mom!" Plan so you'll have some fabulous bath goodies on hand. Don't forget a glass of ice water or wine.

If You Have 30-60 Minutes

  • Get a massage, a facial, or a mani-pedi.
  • Take a nap.
  • Schedule a class that you've always wanted to take just for fun. For instance, Amy Tiemann took an improv comedy class to get a night to herself after her daughter was born.
  • Plan a long walk with a friend. Commit to it early in the week and honor the commitment. You're not training for anything, you're not trying to race-walk, you're just taking a long stroll with a good friend and enjoying the day.

Add your own favorites to these lists. Whatever you choose to do with your "me time", make it relaxing and restorative.

If you don't feel like it works for you, try something else.  Shoulds' are the enemy of relaxation. Don't think about what you should do, but about what makes you thrive."


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