Life can get unbalanced at times. With all good intentions, we push a little harder, we work a little longer and we engage a little deeper. This may be fine for a short period but when we set this pace for long stretches with no end in sight, it is a sure way to loose our peace and our joy. I know because very recently my life was way over the edge. The result was not pretty. My sleep was disrupted, I was tired, uncreative, defensive and plain awful to be around.
Losing peace and joy is a path to certain defeat. God has gifted each one of us for a task that is uniquely ours. When we lose our peace and our joy, anxiety sets in and it steals our creativity and passion, both of which are integral ingredients for fulfilling our unique God-given tasks.
I needed to pay attention and I needed to make some changes. Immediately.
This is what I did. If you have lost your peace, your joy or both, may I encourage you to try this too.
I humbled myself and shared my burdens with others. In return for my trust, I was wonderfully blessed by people who surrounded me with prayer, with scripture, with care and with grace.
I slowed down. I intentionally said no to tasks that would keep me working beyond a reasonable 8-hour day.
I stopped listening to the multitude of voices. Not disrespectfully – grateful for the input but needing time to process silently.
For a time, I disconnected from social media (even from this blog that I love).
I took long walks at the end of my workday. The Nature Reserve close to our house was a perfect place for me to wordlessly find God. The rolling hills that suddenly peak into spires of rock filled me with awe. The tiny flowers hanging in crevices like miniature bells rang with the joy of their Maker. In God’s wonderful creation, the wind of the Holy Spirit whispered in my ears and fortified my heart.
I read scripture. I simply read and read – allowing the familiar, comforting words to bring clarity and strength.
I gave thanks. On purpose and with purpose. I reminded myself of the many, many blessings for which I am truly grateful.
I was determined to find the simplicity of life again.
The reward has been one more added blessing to count. The peace of God, which is beyond human understanding, re-filled my heart and my mind. My normal sleep pattern returned. Anticipation of life and the accompanying joy rang out with victory. I am planning on a Sabbatical rest in a few months time. This will re-energize my body, mind and spirit. In the meantime, I have brought balance back and it has paid huge dividends.
Finding our way back from all the pointless busyness and walking in the simplicity of our calling is what truly matters. It is here that peace and joy are daily companions, where striving ceases and where we see the work of the Lord simply unfold.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6