Weeks have passed since the year turned that sparkly new number. I haven’t done much in terms of writing and I’m a writer. Gasp. Normally, this would make me feel a bit panicky, but this year, it’s not. Perhaps it’s because the Lord is letting me in on a secret: it’s ok to take a “selah” (a pause) and drink, drink, drink from His refreshing waters so that I have something more to pour out. At parties and gatherings, we call bits of sustenance in the midst of the occasion by this word: refreshments.
I let myself take a break after the holidays this year. As a busy mom and wife and let’s face it… a busy woman in general, traditionally, I can find myself freshly into the new year on the brink of burnout, not having the oomph to do anything because I’ve just laid all my heartfelt guts out on the beautifully decorated tables with delicious meals and attended to all the details of trying to make things equally magical and meaningful for all my people. Yes, this will cause me to spiral if I don’t look at myself honestly and recognize my need for refreshment.
Refreshment happened sort of accidentally for me this year… at first. But once I saw what it was doing for me, I leaned in a little harder and let myself basque in refreshment as I recognized that it was a gift from the Lord. My toddler has had a string of illnesses, nothing serious, Praise God, but a string nonetheless that’s been perplexing and tiring for two full months, starting right before Thanksgiving. His longest illness started Christmas Eve. That’s discouraging for any parent wanting to make special memories in that special season. Thankfully, though, that sickness was a passive one. It required for us to be home for a couple weeks so as not to expose the germs to anyone else. At first, I was bummed by this. But what happened was this: my cabin fever became a tool that God used to bring about a filling in the cabin of my heart.
Just one week into the new year…
I finished reading 4 books, finding a refuel for my mind from other writers’ words and styles and instigated a break from T.V.
I picked up the embroidery project that I laid down a year ago, and not only enjoyed putting my hands to something creative that I enjoy, but also with many of those stitches, I prayed more wildly and freely than I have in awhile.
I helped my husband organize our basement, a project that had been weighing on us since we moved in not even a full year ago. Now, we have a space to exercise, to do bigger digital projects and printing, and to bless others with another room to stay.
I started writing out scripture and prayer journaling, which has really helped me meditate more on God’s Word and opened up a better form of communicating with the Lord.
I listened to a dramatic radio program with my husband, which gave me a new boost of imagination.
I played more with my toddler because we weren’t able to have a change of environment like we normally do and made more sweet memories in the midst of the “boring.”
I listened to podcasts while I did housework and found my heart a little more in community during my day to day necessary tasks.
I adjusted my Bible time and started reading a One Year New Testament, drinking in slowly from God’s Word so that I could actually hone in on what He was saying, rather than just checking devotions off my list.
I actually spoke on the phone and had a continuous conversation with a couple friends instead of just texting.
Sometimes as women, I think we have trouble accepting downtime. I know I do, at least. Feelings of guilt creep in if I’m not doing something labeled “productive.” But what I’m finding is this: productivity thrives more when we’re refreshed. So really, refreshment can lead to more fruitful productivity.
As I get back into the grind, these are a few practice I am taking away to remember for the next time I find myself at the crossroads of really needing extra refreshment:
- Change up where you’re spending your time a bit to give yourself a breather.
- Slow down to notice more and imagine more.
- Connect with people who you are spurred on by in ways that you don’t or can’t normally allow time for.
- Do something fun that reminds you of the passions God has put in your heart.
- Drink deeply from the Living Lord. Find fresh ways to spend time with Him.
Friend, if you’re on the brink or past the brink of feeling burnt out, recognize your need for refreshment today and find good and godly ways to cultivate it. When you’re refreshed, it will spill out of your cup into the cups of others. Selah.
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