February 18, 2008
Point A – "So much to do, so little time." True enough.
Point B – "The more you do, the more you do." Also true.
So, what is the secret for taking your mindset from Point A to Point B? In my Walk the Donut post, I touched on the significance of recognizing and focusing on your Core Elements. The first Element is what I like to call the SoulStretch.
Isn't that an uplifting term? According to Webster's dictionary, the soul is the animating principle or actuating cause of an individual life. To stretch is to reach out; to extend in length; to expand to fulfill a larger function; to become extended in length, breadth or both. Our goal in the SoulStretch is to take God's essence within us and extend it in both length and breadth. By stretching ourselves beyond what we currently know, by challenging ourselves reasonably every day, we are able to grow in strength and in flexibility. I don't know about you, but as a mom, I need both strength and a healthy dose of flexibility!
It is ironic, isn't it, that the Element with the greatest potential for impact is the one we find it hardest to make time for? God doesn't yell down the stairs at us… study doesn't call on the phone… prayer and reflection do not need to be nursed back to health. We need to remember, however, that our time with God is crucial, study gives us fortitude, and prayer and reflection calm our thoughts and ground our spirits. Though these activities don't fall into the urgent category, they need to be tended to regularly because they are the foundation that holds up all of our other, more urgent activities.
Taking time to align ourselves with God is vital, but He isn't up there prodding us along. He is a patient God. Instead, He waits on us. The kids don't, the bills don't and heaven knows the laundry doesn't. Our chores and responsibilities sit prominently in focus, clamoring for attention. Luckily, though, we can bring our lives to Him and use Him to stretch and strengthen our spirits. With that extra strength and flexibility, we will be able to accomplish more with less stress.
Let's schedule some time for a three-part SoulStretch…
Feed the Spirit: Read the Word, read books about the Word, read articles that inspire and uplift, listen to inspirational music. Any and all of these primes your heart and mind for time with Him.
Pray: Pour out your praise, fears, petitions, joys, concerns and questions. He can take it! There are no rules for talking to the Lord. It is about loving Him and leaning on Him. There are times in my life when I don't even know how to pray about something. Sometimes, it is too deep or too painful or I just don't have enough wisdom to know what to ask. Then, I fall back on the Lord's Prayer. Just asking for daily bread is enough. He knows your heart, and answering your heart is how he provides that bread. He is always listening.
Listen: Now, it's our turn. Be silent… I know, at times this seems impossible. Every fiber of us is trained to DO. But, the actual stretching of your soul comes not from doing, but from being. Try not to seek an epiphany. God does not often shout during these times of silence. Sometimes he whispers answers into our spirits that we will only find later, when they are most needed.
Today, start with this. Read an inspiring article online to feed your spirit. Take 5 solid minutes of time just to pray. Then, sit for an additional 5 minutes in simple silence. This mere 15 minute exercise will stretch your spirit and give you what you need to DO all of the activities with peace. And at the end of the day, thank Him for breathing His peace into you.