Saturday, November 19, 2011

A pause

A dear sister of mine wrote something quite significant to me last month. In seeking to glean further fruit from recent blessings in her life, she wrote, "I am still trying to process all that took place...and now I have some more layers of processing to do. I’m really trying to pause (as hard as that is in this season of life) to think deeply and integrate what I have read, experienced, etc. I think that this helps it to “stick” to my mind and heart. It’s so easy to just be moving from one thing to the next (whether books, conferences, conversations, etc.) and not really think deeply about it or to hear/respond to what God is saying in it all."
This made a deep impression me. How many times have I sought to live more slowly, not allowing the flow of everyday life to snatch away my times of reflection and meditation? How many times have I been intentional about thinking over conversations that I had in the past week? How often do I press in to learn more from recent encounters or experiences? While I often do find my mind reflecting on these things, it's usually within the flow of the day, when I'm easily distracted by needs at homes. In addition to abiding with Christ in private, I am learning of the necessity to pause in life. I want to embrace the simple moments and think upon the various circumstances, conversations, and lessons that the LORD is weaving in and out of my life. I look back on my life and feel that I have tried to live too fast. In almost every facet of my life I have pressed too boldly: education, experiences, relationships, and various creative pursuits. The result of such strong pursuits have been wasted energy, time, and emotions, which have all brought a negative impact on my physical health. I remember clearly how, as a young girl, I would plow through everyone and everything that stood in the way of something I wanted. My father would often remark, "Here comes Erika! Don't stand in her way!" While this often carries funny memories, I look back with a bit of sadness on the amount of heart and soul that I poured into everything I sought after. This wasn't always terrible, if that thing was necessary for growth and learning, but in other areas it was quite damaging. It has been to my own detriment and shame that I never sought to glean true gems from merely living, which is, in itself, a divine gift! It comes to no surprise that I am still the same way. The careful, intentional discipline of slowing down to reflect doesn't come easily. But as I begin to see, with more clarity, its affects and influences upon my spiritual/emotional/physical health and relations to others (and how effectively I can pour out to them), I begin to place more value on it.
This past week, I have been doing some reading on holistic lifestyles, mostly in regards to health from a Christian approach. However, in application to every aspect of life, these articles/blogs were inspiring to me. To summarize a definition of holistic living, I found these:

A holistic approach to faith, life, and wellness sees interconnection and integration everywhere—because factors are not fragmented, but are intended to work together and influence each other.

A holistic way of life means that every part of life complements the others instead of competing against them. Rather than one part vying for attention at a given time (though sometimes extra attention is needed), all parts are helped to move in the same direction with interdependence and integration.

As a point of reflection near the end of one of the articles I read, the author concludes: "Ask yourself if your long term desires for good health, for multi-generational relationships, for strength and ability, and for peaceful emotions are being encouraged by your lifestyle habits today."
I sense how very much in the beginning stage I am of gaining God's vision for my future and how He intends to use me, all during a presently busy and, sometimes, intense season of my life. The Lord seems to be slowly pressing in a lot during this season, but it's clear that this time might bring forth some of the richest fruit, through the Spirit, as long as I continue to walk this path of surrender to Him.
There has been array of thoughts that have burst forth from some moments of pause. The musician-artist in me wants to express them in tones or prose, but I feel pressed to sift through them some more. I resolve, in my innermost being, to be Christ-exalting, turning to look for traces of His hand-prints upon the smallest details of my days. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD (Psalm 104:34).