Do you ever experience times where information comes at you in multiple ways as though life were trying to give you a message? Times where it feels as though a billboard is repeatedly placed in the path of your journey at every turn? Over the many years I have been following Christ I have come to recognize these times - these billboard signs plopped down in my path - as ways God uses to try to get my attention to some message that He has deemed important and vital to my journey. You see, I am an independent, I-can-do-things-myself kind of a woman, and I trudge along thinking "I got this", when in reality I don't. And God must use billboards, repeatedly plopped down in my path, to get my attention so that I pay attention to what He is trying to tell me and to where He is trying to lead me. Is it any wonder that I deal with issues of burnout! Over the past few months God has been trying to get my attention.
So our Take Me Deeper theme for the month of May in the His Kingdom Come community is called Sanctuary. (This will all connect,I promise!) The content of this month's devotions are topics that have been ruminating in my heart and soul for the past few years in my journey of self-discovery and dealing with burnout. I have touched on many of these topics in my blog posts, as beginning this blog was one of the ways for me to formulate and organize my thoughts during this journey. Writing the devotions for May really helped me pull it all together in an organized manner. I tend to grasp at the many threads that float in my mind and the discipline of writing a month of themed devotions has become so beneficial for me in pulling all my loose threads together. The theme of Sanctuary is about finding the places in our lives where we experience refuge, rest and respite in God's presence and making habits of dwelling in our place of sanctuary so that we live holy and healthy lives - healthy emotionally, spiritually and physically. I have to admit, that for me, the physical part has taken longer for me to be convicted about. And in the month since I wrote those devotions I realize that I did not touch on that area much in those writings. It is in this area - physical health - that God has been placing billboards in my path. It is in my place of sanctuary and the times of dwelling in God's presence that the threads all come together.
- This past fall I started looking at my personality type in relationship to the issues that are brought about by stress and crisis-like circumstances. In the Myers-Briggs personality type world how you respond to stress and crisis-like circumstances is referred to as "in the grip". Being in the grip causes you to respond in manners that are not compatible with your personality type. In other words you may respond in a manner that doesn't feel like you are being yourself. I read a few articles that helped me see this and that gave suggestions, based on your personality type, for getting balance back. I read that INFJ's benefit from engaging in regular exercise and that it can be effective for regulating mood, quieting the mind and calming emotions. In addition, being outside and engaging your senses are also helpful in regulating mood and calming emotions.
- About that time I also stumbled on a quote that is credited to Augustine: "Solvitur Ambuland = It is solved by walking."
- This winter I began reading "How to Beat Burnout" by Minirth & Meier. They advocate making changes in the physical areas of one's life first. "Just feeling better physically often begins to change a person's burned out emotions and gives them the strength to begin other changes - physical, emotional, and spiritual."
- Recently I picked up a book I had stopped reading, "Invitation to Solitude and Silence" by Ruth Haley Barton. She says that our "spiritual journey is taken in a physical body, and there is a very real connection between caring for our body and deepening our relationship with God." She goes on to say that, "Learning to rest into God in times of solitude begins with the body."
When I prayed about and chose my word for this year, renew, I know that one area of my life that needed to be renewed was my physical health. These different billboards are convincing me that the importance here is more than just simply losing some weight - that hasn't motivated me enough in the past. The importance is that physical health is beneficial to my emotional and spiritual health. Dealing with issues of burnout have made me look closely at the importance of my emotional health and energy. Much of what I have been reading indicates that good emotional health really benefits from good physical health. I have much to explore as I dig into Scripture and look at how God views our physical body in relationship to our spiritual life and growing in spiritual maturity.
My first art journal page for May's theme:
I didn't post much last month, so here are my art journal pages from the last three weeks of April's theme, The Resurrection Life:
|From Death to Life|
|Power For Living|
We have quite a community growing at His Kingdom Come and it's great seeing how everyone expresses the devotions in so many different creative mediums. There is so much talent in this group! Check out our community at His Kingdom Come.