Communication and accessibility are basic human rights.
Will you join me in the fight for equality?
Will you join me in the fight for equality?
I woke up around 9:00 this morning. It felt good to sleep in; I hadn't done so in awhile. I got up feeling pretty rested. I made myself breakfast, ate, and then began picking up the house. This is all pretty typical for me. I had only been awake for about an hour when I started to feel tired. This is also not atypical, but there was something different about it today. My anxiety level was high, which I knew because of the heavy feeling in my chest.
I seemed to be disproportionately anxious about things that didn't matter much. One of the causes was that I had started reading a book that I didn't feel it was the right time to read, but I felt like I should read. This book has a corresponding Bible study and I felt overwhelmed by the thought of trying to do this study along with the things I was already doing with my devotional time. I tried to just read the book without doing the study, but that made me feel guilty--like I wasn't getting everything out of the book that I should be. I hadn't even realized how much anxiety this was causing me. That anxiety was causing my brain to worry about other trivial things as well. Why was I doing this? Was this the beginning of an out of control spiral, like similar feelings have triggered in the past?
Then it came to me: my devotional time the last few days had been pathetic. I was either waiting until I was too exhausted to pay attention to anything, or I was trying to cram too much in before I got too exhausted. While quantity does not equal quality, quantity is not entirely invaluable. I was significantly reducing the typical quantity of my alone time with God for sub-par reasons. I am usually pretty diligent with my devotional time, but, when I'm not feeling well, I tend to slip up by sacrificing quantity, quality, or both. This really doesn't make any sense! When I don't feel well, I should be seek God MORE, not less!
So, in this moment of being anxious about enough small things to make a big thing, I decided to make an intentional decision to break the cycle I had unintentionally started. I lavished some grace upon myself by removing the bookmark from the previously mentioned book and moving it from the spot on my bookshelf where I keep the book I'm currently reading. I was still feeling trapped in my anxiety. I looked outside and observed that it was a beautiful, sunny day. I needed a change of scenery from the familiarity of my house. I am not a person that typically just randomly goes outside. I thought about going for a walk, but that seemed too daunting. My body was already feeling worn out and the thought of exerting it more sounded awful. But then I thought: why not just sit outside? I continued to entertain this thought, realizing that I had a beach mat in my closet that would be perfect to use for sitting on the lawn. I still tried to make excuses: "what if it's buggy? Wouldn't it just be easier to do the same stuff inside the house?" No. I needed the change of scenery to break the cycle.
So, I headed outside to intentionally get right with God and get away from all the pointless junk that was causing me unneeded stress. I left the unfolded laundry on the couch and took my beach mat, my Bible, my notebook, and a book I had been wanting to read. I was unsure if this time would go in the direction of digging into the Word or reading my cheesy YA novel (by the way, I'm not suggesting that we should substitute cheesy YA novels for the Bible or Christian books. But, if I'm spending time on growing in God and the other book is not a substitute, an idol, or something that will hinder my relationship with God, I should be able to enjoy reading it. So, I brought it along as a symbol of the grace I was giving myself.) I also intentionally did not bring my phone, my computer, or my shoes.
I'm sure you can probably guess that the reason I left my phone and my computer behind was to intentionally unplug and keep my focus on God. But why no shoes, you ask? Because I am a very sensory driven person. I knew that feeling the grass on my feet (along with looking at all the green trees, listening to the birds, and feeling the breeze) was going to be an important part of this process. And it was (and still is, since this is originally being written in my notebook in the midst of this experience I'm on the 5th page and, honestly, I'm starting to get hungry. But, I'm determined to finish this!) I took my tings to a sunny spot in my yard and "set up". As I lied down on my beach mat and felt the sun and the gentle breeze, my anxiety began to melt away instantly. "Ok, that was fast. I Iike this", I thought. I knew God deserved a shout out for helping me so much in such a short period of time, so I started praying as I moved my hands and feet along the grass. "God, thank you for your beautiful creation. My devotional time was been pathetic lately and I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. I want to know You more. I want hear Your voice. This time is for you, Lord."
I continued to pray for awhile, for both myself and others, and to just feel and hear my surroundings. Every once in awhile, I'd open my eyes and look around, too, thanking God again for His beautiful creation and for the fact that I live in a place I can just sit in my yard and have this experience. Then, I started writing this. I love how even writing can be an act of worship and a way to spend time with God. I keep wanting to stop and fix things as I'm writing, but I've decided to to fight the urge and just let my words flow from my brain onto the paper in an act of worship and leave the editing for later. I've been out here for awhile now and still haven't read anything, but that's totally ok! God chose to speak to me through prayer, my senses, and writing right now, and I chose to let Him do it!
It's so important that our time with God is led by His will and not by some plan we've created so that we can check it off our to-do list. When you think about it, the fact that we attempt to reduce an omnipotent, omnipresent God to an item on a checklist is pretty foolish on our part. I think I will read Ephesians 6 now since I've been studying Ephesians this week. (Funny story: my pen literally ran out of ink in the middle of that last sentence and I wasn't ready to go back in the house yet. So, I did my reading and the rest of this is being written later in the day). In addition to reading Ephesians 6, I went back over my notes from church on Sunday since I remembered that I had wanted to re-examine a few things. At this point, I had been outside for about two hours and was truly hungry for lunch. I gathered my things and went in the house.
I was afraid I'd lose the peaceful feeling I'd attained, but I didn't. I ate my lunch, folded the laundry, reorganized my to-do list for the remainder of the day, and took a nice peaceful nap. I had effectively broken the cycle. Obviously, the answer to our problems is not always as simple as sitting outside in the yard. However, it does always involve laying our worries at God's feet and trusting Him. And, when the answer is simple, shouldn't we take advantage of that?
What do you do to improve your communication with God when you feel yourself drifting? Comment down below!