Because there’s no such thing as a stressed-out, hustling Jesus

By: Amy Dalke

I took a walk the other day. Which is not breaking news material, but just roll with it and hope that I actually have a point to this excitement.

First of all, a leisurely walk doesn’t quite fit into my category of Favorite Things To Do. I would rather run and get finished much faster.

But when my mentor suggested a meditative walk, I was all for it, since physical movement during meditation was preferable to sitting still (boring) for any length of time. Plus it would knock out two items on my list: exercise and meditation.#fantastic (FYI: I quickly learned that a meditative walk does not count as exercise. At all.)

Anyhow. On Thursday morning last week, I grabbed my shoes and my phone; and stepped outside to call Ruthann (my mentor), who would lead me on this meditation walk over the phone.

Once we got going, Ruthann instructed me to pay attention to the rhythm of my steps: “…as you walk, think ‘step’ with your left foot, and ‘place’ with your right foot.”

S t e p  a–n–d  P l a c e.

S t e p  a–n–d  P l a c e.

I could already tell this would be a riveting half hour it we kept up this slo-mo pace.

My mind moved at a much faster clip than my feet: Is this a joke? I look like a moron. Please God don’t let anyone look out their window right now. 

It was just awkward, y’all.

After 3-4 minutes of fumbling through the rhythmic pauses with my slow motion feet, Ruthann read Psalm 23 to me. She read each phrase deliberately and paused between each one so that my mind had time to soak in the words.

That part was all great. The only problem was that we were now about 7 minutes into this meditative walk, and we had 23 to go. What in the world?! I had a laundry list of things to accomplish, and for crying out loud, I had no business taking a walk at 8:30am on a weekday morning.

My brain was screaming at me: You don’t have time for this. Don’t you know that success skips over weekday morning walkers? Who does this? Retirees, that’s who. And monks. And last time I checked you were neither. You have Greek to learn, a kitchen project to clean, and a guest post to write by next week.

That mental exchange went on for about 5 minutes. (Maybe shorter, but only God knows, since the whole walk felt like a lifetime from my perspective.)

Nonetheless, I finally did settle into a calm state after a soft whisper echoed powerfully over all my frantic notions:

In My presence there is fullness of joy. Maybe your stress tank is overflowing, and your joy tank is empty right now because you aren’t present with Me.”

Well then. Busted. (And that’s a perfect example of why I think Jesus sometimes goes #boom when He calls me out on a thing.) (In a laughing, loving way of course.)

I just don’t know, y’all. I’m beginning to think living slow is key to abiding in Christ. When I really stop to think about it, I rarely discern God’s guidance when I’m hustling to the next thing and the next at lightning speed. Many days are like a sprint, and even when my calendar isn’t crammed from start to finish, I fret over what I should be doing to maximize the time.

Is there such thing as a stressed-out, maxed-out, hustling Jesus?

If I don’t get still enough to sit before Him and just listen, how do I even know whether it’s His voice or my own directing all the traffic in my head?

Often, Jesus is sort of like a carpool partner. Once it’s time to get my day rolling, I drop Him off so that I can focus on all the things that are important.

What good does all our hurry do if we miss Jesus in the madness?

I’m not suggesting we go all pioneer days and ditch our Cozi calendars and iPhones altogether. But I am saying that scripture doesn’t portray a hustling, stressed out Jesus.

If we truly aim to be more like Him…we might do well to slow our roll…and pay attention to the Right Now.

A rhythm adjustment might jar us at first, sort of like awkwardly pausing between each step. And our neighbors might look out the window and think we’re weird.

But if keeping up the culture’s stressy-rushy pace means we’re too busy “accomplishing” All The Things to notice how God shows up all around us, then perhaps it’s time to reset our rhythm to the original factory settings.

After all, we were made for the holy, not the hurry.

Amy


What does your hurry look like? How does it feel?

What does it look like to slow down? What does that feel like?

 

White Space

By: Amy Dalke

I have stared at my computer screen for the last 3 hours. I’ve written paragraphs after paragraph, only to group them together under my cursor and delete-delete-delete.

There are at least 14 things I want to share with you, and not one of those things will come together succinctly. After asking God to please not leave me hanging with nothing to write, I’m reminded that the purpose of this blog is God’s purpose and not mine.

So may it never be that I write here for the sake of words.

Sometimes routine can blind us from our purpose. Our motions become mechanical. We’re good enough to get by on our own steam, so we lose sight of the reason we started in the first place.

I don’t know what that looks like for you. But with that in mind, I invite you to glance across your week for a minute. Picture your calendar full of morning routines, workday habits, after school snacks, and bed time patterns.

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Have you left any room for God’s creativity to show up? Or is each time block nailed down so tightly that divine interference would be more of an irritation?

Wouldn’t life be a little more exciting if we lived beyond our box? Wouldn’t life be more carefree (less stressful) if we didn’t have to figure it all out on our own?

As you look at your schedule, your meetings, your plans, I challenge you to leave some white space.

white space sky

Be bold and let go of your own agenda for each hour…and see your life this week as an invitation for an adventure with God.

Amy

 

 

 

I Am Woman, I Am Invincible, I am Tired

By: Gail Armatys

HeartSong Life Coach

I didn’t know it, but I was in need of a Calgon moment.

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Some of us certainly remember the product and the commercials that began running in the 70’s. If you were born in the 80’s it could ‘ring a bell’ because you vaguely remember telling your mom you think she needs one of those moments. (Probably not a good move.) If you are younger than that, well it’s what you and Wikipedia might call ‘vintage’.

Calgon, a bath product, was supposed to make you feel like you were living in the lap of luxury – not a care in the world. The tag line was, ‘Take me away, Calgon’. And it was spoken as though the harried momma crying out these words knew a quiet bath with Calgon was the last, good hope for her life to go on. That moment in the tub, with the bubbles, the scent, the soft water – that was the Calgon moment!

A Moment of Another Kind

I’d been working on a project that had a self-imposed deadline. The more I attempted to accomplish the work, the greater the barriers, hurdles, obstacles, the devil and his pranksters – they all kept me stuck – one after another. Day after day, nothing I did or tried was working. Computers, ideas, those helping me.  Nothing was coming together.

My frustration was mounting but all the while, believing God would fill me in on the details, I managed to keep going. Trying a different route – a new way. I am good at persevering but the mountain I built and that was mine to climb kept getting steeper. I was starting to STRESS!

It’s become very clear to me over the years that while I do not stress much, when I do it manifests itself in a rather passive way as more of a physical, internal tenseness. Do you know what I mean?  I usually don’t take it out on the cat or the dog. The husband?  Maybe.  Well, this time – the husband – definitely.

In a one minute phone call that my hubby took time to make in order to see how he could help; I lost it.  Nothing directed at him.  But every tiny bit of frustration came blowing toward him – out of my mouth like a cannon.  BAM!

Funny thing. My husband knows about Calgon moments, and he also knew I needed one. He had hinted at it. Our dog probably knew it.  And the cat, well of course, cats are not only above everything but they know everything. So she knew it. I knew it, too.

In a moment, my frustration sprayed like shrapnel – brief as it was.  Thankfully, no damage was done. The apology was quickly given and well received. But it wasn’t over. I had basically just been loud for a few long seconds. The momentum of my project hadn’t changed…until God saw to it mine did.

God In Control

My special momentum – changing moment came in the form of a 24 hour flu bug with headache, nausea, and fever. I was made totally incapacitated for a day.  I hurt so badly that I couldn’t stress about anything.  There would be no work or frustration about the work not working.  I couldn’t control it.  I was finally in rest mode.  Made to be still.

This, my friends, was my Calgon, take me away, moment.  Not like the commercial at all.

Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalms 46:10

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Here’s the reality of it: God knew all about our need for Calgon moments long before Calgon began its advertising campaign. And, he knows precisely when to for much needed moments of rest if we don’t take the opportunity to do so ourselves.

As I lay feeling crummy with a cool rag on my head, body shivering, and head pounding, I slept. Interestingly enough, it was the best sleep I’d had for awhile. Not surprising though. That’s how our loving God works. He graciously gives us the freedom to make our choices, politely suggests and nudges, and when necessary allows some stress or pain in – or even lets us cause our own – until we come to a place where all we can do is rest…in him.

Stressful situations, decisions, issues – big or small, he knows what we need and resting in him is at the top of the list. We can even do it in the tub with a little Calgon. Just be still. Rest.

Thanking God For Our Calgon Moments

Oh, and one more thing. We may be familiar with the ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ part of Psalms 46:10.  Rarely, though, do we hear the end of the scripture.  ‘I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ Maybe what he is telling us is this:  Not only are we to take time to stop and rest in the knowledge that he is, after all, God but also that he is in control and on our side. And for that, we shall praise his name.

Purpose Prayer

Father, thanks for always being on the lookout for us.  For leading us and nudging us  this way and that – and for stopping us when all we really need is to rest and know that you are in control.  We praise you for that and for your love, grace, and mercy that take us away with you so we may know you more and come back refreshed ready to follow you in our journey.

Purpose Steps

  1. Recognize and write down what/who is stressing you.
  2. Ask yourself why the source of the stress affects you?
  3. Take time to be alone with God.  Rest. Be still.
  4. In faith, pray for wisdom, knowledge and breakthrough, releasing control of the situation to God.
  5. Praise God for answered prayer, that he is in control, and for Calgon moments.

Listen to Your HeartSong:

Click Here: Be Still My Soul (in You I Rest)/Kari Jobe 

Live the Song Written on Your Heart.