It takes some practice….
Recently, various newspapers published articles on the negative effects of multi-tasking. Their inspiration was an extract from the neuroscientist, Daniel J. Levitin’s book ‘The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload’ due to be published this year.
This focuses on an important issue. So often our lack of rest is simply due to doing too much. Busyness has become the new badge of honour, outside and inside the Church.
And even if we don’t think of ourselves as multitaskers, how often do we do one thing while thinking about something else?
I am challenged to live in the present: to concentrate on, and delight in, the present moment and the present task. And to find the Lord in that moment – in my heart to be sitting at his feet.
It takes some practice….
For those who want to take de-cluttering a bit further, and are interested in a Christian perspective, check out Joshua Becker's website:
Although I'm not sure I'm persuaded into the kind of minimalism Becker advocates, there are some very helpful ideas on this site, and in the book below.
This book can be purchased from Amazon* by clicking on the image.
There are also other books available by the same author, which can be accessed through this link.
End of winter starkness also speaks of simplicity, and encourages us to think of how we can simplify our lives:
We can de-clutter our houses. I am not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s good to go through the house at this time of the year and get rid of surplus: the clothes we’ll never wear, the books we’ll never read, the excess stuff that lurks in corners.
We can fast from the TV, the internet, our I-phones. We can turn off the machines, the background music and just be for a bit.
We can simplify our diaries: cut out the things which make our lives whirlwinds? Are the things we spend our energy on really important?
With the countryside preparing itself for a new beginning, bright sunshine and sharp clear days, the traditional task of spring cleaning is unsurprising. Armed with some free time and good intentions, I’m washing curtains and sofa covers - at least one room will be fresh & clean and ready for the year...
Personal spring cleaning is a good idea too. Are there things for which we need forgiveness, or people we need to forgive?
In the past I have found it a very helpful and liberating action to divide my life into segments: early childhood, teenage and so forth, and then to ask the Lord to bring to mind anything still on my conscience for which I need forgiveness, any action I need to take, and any people I need to forgive. These lifetime issues can then be put to rest.
Try it and see!
1 ½ lb fruit
3 pt water
3 lb sugar
Wash fruit. Pare the grapefruit leaving a thin layer of pith on the peel.
Cut off the remaining pith from the fruit & reserve. Slice the peel thickly or thinly according to preference.
Slice lemons thinly. Take out pips & put in a muslin square with the pith. Tie up firmly with string.
Soften peel using either the hob or a slow cooker:
Slow cooker: Put muslin & peel in slow cooker. Add water & cook on High for 5-6 hours.
Hob: Put peel, muslin bag & water in a bowl to stand overnight. Then cook gently for 2 hours until peel is soft.
Remove muslin bag. Add sugar. Heat gently until dissolved.
Heat clean jam jars in the oven on a low setting.
Boil rapidly until setting point is reached.
[Take pan off heat while checking for a set. Place a small amount of jam on a cold saucer
& leave in the fridge for a few minutes.
If it wrinkles slightly when touched, a set is achieved. If not, boil for another 5 minutes and try again.]
Leave 15 minutes to cool. Pot in the warm jars, cover & label.
Sometimes life circumstances: unemployment, retirement, bereavement, empty nests, relationship breakdown and a host of other things, can make us feel stripped of that which give us identity and purpose. We can rail and fight against our situation, or we can turn, wounds and all, to the One who loves us beyond measure, and allow Him to speak healing and grace over us.
Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness were an attack on His identity and purpose. But crucially He had heard the Father speak over Him:
‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I’m well pleased.’
And so He stood strong against the Evil One's onslaught throughout His ministry.
What we hear the Father say over us is vitally important.
Let’s take time out to listen…..
On these recent ear-aching, throat-grazing, finger-numbing bitterly cold days, the countryside seems frozen to the very core. Everything appears stripped bare to the searching eye – all the imperfections displayed in starkness. There’s no gentling on the eye.
Makes me think of Psalm 139:1-4:
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
If we are willing, the Lord will show us the underlying issues in our lives – not to beat us up and make us feel condemned, but to set us free.
And when the sun shines on the bare branches, or the clear blue sky shows them up in relief, we are struck with their beauty.
So it is with us.
Sometimes February bleakness can find echoes in our souls, causing our moods to swing very low. One remedy for climate-induced depression is gratitude.
I came across this article by Beth Richardson with some great suggestions:
When the sun is shining, it is easy to be glad that Spring is just around the corner. But when the world is grey, cold and puddly, it is good to take some time out to notice and celebrate the small signs that winter is on the wain: such as the lengthening days, bud-tipped trees, and the bulbs pushing through in the undergrowth.
In the ancient calendar, the beginning of February brought in the Season of Stirrings. Once our senses are tuned, we find evidence of this all around - even on the greyest of days.
Journey into Rest - Seasonal Blog: a Diary of Seasonal Living.
LIVING WITH A SEASONAL RHYTHM
We can scaffold rest in our lives by punctuating our days & weeks with breathing spaces. Paying attention to the passing seasons is one way of doing this. So come on in & enjoy the Creator's symphony....
AUGUST, SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER
The Season of Fruitfulness
Check out this site by Photographer, Pat Mingarelli: