Resting Is Important


Looking out the window into utter tranquility.

Resting is important to all of us, especially in our go, go, go society where it sometimes feels like you only are recognized or feel validated if you can say you are SO busy. I remember a time when I was truly busy, but I was also adding things onto my “to-do list” every day that weren’t really essential or even necessary. Was it really necessary that I reorganize my files for the new year with new colored tabs every single year? Was it really necessary to change my bed sheets every seven days like clockwork, especially when I was the only one sleeping on them and I only used about a 3×5 foot space? (This was when I was single, I should point out.) There are many things we do that are important, but there are many things we do that have been handed down to us from either experts or our parents or both. (My mother was the wash your sheets every seven days queen and had a whole other host of household rules that, quite frankly, were unnecessary and exhausting.)

For a while in the 1990’s and early 2000’s I was really caught up in the Stephen Covey organization/calendar/setting goals system. I faithfully wrote every single thing down in my pretty little organizer that I felt I had to do each day. I made goals, I made appointments with myself, I put all of my sons’ activities on my calendar, all of my singles’ group church activities on my calendar, and even times when I would be at my parents’ home, helping them out with some housecleaning and just visiting them. (They were elderly and lived across the street from me at the time.) Once I had every single little thing that I did in my life written down on that calendar and wrote down my “to-do list” every day, I looked at it all and immediately felt completely overwhelmed! I thought to myself that there was no possible way I could do everything that I had put on that calendar or reach the goals I had set for myself. You know what’s funny about all of that? I had been doing all of those things for quite a while and handling them just fine until I saw how much I was doing! Hahaha!

My point is that life is life. There are times when we are busier and have more responsibilities and there isn’t a lot we can do about it at the time. There are other times when we’re not as busy, but don’t wish to look unproductive so we add things to our lives and our calendars to feel more productive, more involved, and more important, quite frankly. Why do we do that? Do we really have to be busy 24/7 to matter, to make a difference, or to earn other people’s admiration or to earn our salvation from God? NO! As a matter of fact, it says in Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Yes, we have responsibilities and things to do, but there are things which God has prepared beforehand for us to do and there are times when we need to rest. We have to rest in order to be able to continue to do the things God has prepared for us to do. He doesn’t want us to be busy just to be busy. He wants our work to be purposeful, in obedience to Him, and for us to rest in between times. How often have you said to yourself over the years, “I’m going to either get up early or stay up late to study God’s word and pray?” Yet most of us never do either of those things on a regular basis. I’m not preaching here, because I’m just as bad as anyone when it comes to this particular topic. As I said above, there was a time when I was busy, it seemed, 24/7. If I had even a moment of slowing down or resting, I felt guilty. Guilty for crying out loud! Even God rested on the seventh day after creating the universe. Jesus regularly went apart from the crowds to meditate and pray. Do you think perhaps we take ourselves a little too seriously and need to give ourselves a rest and respite from time to time? I do. I think most people in the developed world have become so busy and attached to their electronic gizmos that we rarely just stop, sip a beverage, sit down and just be. How will we ever get to spend any time with God if we’re contstantly on the go? Didn’t God Himself say, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV).

We have to have a balance of work time and rest time. If we never take the time to rest, do you know what happens? We wear our bodies out and suddenly we are forced to rest. How do I know this? Because that is exactly what happened to me. I managed to always complete everything on my list back in the day and then one day I was unable to get out of bed. I felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on me. I had no energy, every place, space, and part of my body hurt and I felt so ridiculous. I had things to do, places to go, people to see! God said, “Nope! We’re going to spend some time together, you and I. You’re going to be still for a while.” It turns out that I have fibromyalgia. Now, for the most part, it is controlled by medication, but I still have to be careful and organize outings and workloads carefully with periods of time to rest. If I don’t, well, let’s just say it’s not pretty!

So, all of this is to say, this morning it is cool and overcast here in Colorado Springs. I opened my windows, have my cat sitting on the window sill, have a cup of coffee in a jaunty orange mug by my side and am enjoying the sounds of all the birds. God is good, isn’t he? He gave me the perfect time to rest and enjoy the morning.

Peace and love, Elaine

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Loss and Grief

There are many types of loss and grief. Most of the time people think of loss in terms of losing a loved one through death. That is a major loss, but we suffer grief at other types of loss as well. We may suffer loss and grief when we lose a job or change jobs. We may suffer loss and grief as we age. We may suffer loss and grief after a romantic breakup or marital divorce. We may even suffer loss and grief due to children growing up, losing pets, or moving to a new home or a new city.

I’ve gone through loss and grief periods in all of the ways that I listed above. None of them are easy and none should be made light of just because someone else has never dealt with that kind of loss. Your loss and you grief is valid if for you it is impacting your daily life. What do we do with loss and grief?

There are no magical “abracadabra” ways to remove loss and grief from our lives because they are a part of our lives that we can’t escape from. I don’t know anyone who has never experienced loss and grief in some way. Since there is no magical way to just make it go away, we must find ways to deal with our loss and grief so we are able to go on with our daily lives, meeting our responsibilities and letting those around us know we love them and need their presence and care during this difficult time.

Some healthy ways to deal with loss and grief include journaling each day to describe your feelings and thoughts. If you miss someone, you might write them a letter in your journal to express that. If you’re feeling particularly sad one day, you might journal about those feelings as well. You can even write prayers and gratitudes in your journal as your journey through this time of grief and loss.

For people of faith, prayer and meditation are often very comforting during this difficult time. Many times we get angry at God for our loss, particularly if we’ve lost someone to death. We don’t want to talk to Him because we’re afraid we’ll lose our temper and say things that will make God mad at us. I have shocking news for you. God can take it! He knows we get hurt, angry and upset with Him. He would much rather hear our true feelings toward Him than for us to remain silent and cut ourselves off from our relationship to Him. There are many examples of people getting angry at God in the Bible and God answering that anger with love and grace. A perfect example of this can be found in Jonah, chapter four. Jonah was angry at God in that instance because of God’s compassion on the nation of Nineveh. How did God respond to that anger? He caused a tree to grow up over Jonah where he sat pouting angrily at God so Jonah would be in the shade!

Sometimes we are surprised by loss and grief and often those are our darkest hours. My first experience with this was when my brother, Joe, was killed in a car accident on Christmas Eve many years ago. I was shocked, heartbroken, and so stunned at first that I was completely numb. I walked around in a fog, going through the motions of grief, but knowing my grief was so profound that if I let it escape, I might not survive. I had two baby sons at the time and also knew that I could not remain in this numb state of grief because they needed me. I still had a responsibility towards them to not just take care of their basic needs, but to love them and nurture them. How could I do that when I hurt so very much? Well, I prayed first. I cried over and over, “God, how could you let this happen? Why Joe? Why did he have to die in such a horrible way? Where were you when it happened?”

I received no immediate answers. I was met with silence. Then, and this may sound like an odd way to deal with grief, but I watched a Cary Grant marathon of movies all day on New Year’s day, mostly by myself. (Cary Grant had died the same year my brother did, hence the marathon.) I sat in front of that television and watched movie after movie. I cried, I laughed, I cried some more. I got lost in some of the movies and forgot my grief for some moments. Some of the movies brought the grief back so freshly I was sure my heart must be bleeding inside. Finally, at the end of the day, my emotional well was completely empty. I had cried myself out. The next day I got up and took care of my family. I still had grief over my loss, but I had expressed it so thoroughly, I felt cleansed of the deepest parts. Over the years, that grief has resurfaced many times. I still miss my brother. I can’t wait to see him again in heaven, but today I can deal with it. It has been 29 years since I lost my brother. I still don’t know why he was taken home early, but I do know that our love endures somehow. I know I still love him and? that he still loves me. In that way, he is always with me. This eases my grief immensely.

How do you deal with grief? Do you push it down inside and try to ignore it? Do you get angry and take it out on family and friends? Have you allowed it to take over your life so you’re stuck in it and can’t seem to find a way out of it? If so, let me assure you there are healthy ways to get unstuck. I wouldn’t recommend a Cary Grant movie marathon, but there are ways to deal with your grief and continue forward on your journey. There may even be times when you remember the love that you shared with that person and feel joy.

May God bless you on your journey, Elaine

Moving Finding Joy Blog Posts to Pocket Full of Words

I’ve been maintaining two blogs, one of them being Pocket Full of Words and the other being Finding Joy.  I’ve discovered that the Finding Joy blog isn’t one I update often and more frequently connect with people in that capacity (inspiration and informal transitional life coaching ministry) on a FB page by the same name. So, long story short, I will be importing the blog posts I had on Finding Joy to Pocket Full of Words and then deleting Finding Joy. As I move them over, you can read what you want and leave the rest as the old saying goes!  I hope all of you have a pleasant week leading into the Memorial Day weekend and I’m sure I’ll be posting some more poems here throughout the week!