Category Archives: stillness
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…”” Psalm 46:10, NIV
I am closing down my office till Tuesday. Did not work much this week, but it was very important to spend a few days with my mom before she leaves for Ukraine.
I finally realized it is ok to have time off to spend with family and friends. We get so busy! For years I did not give myself permission to relax, delegate chores and just be and breathe.😥
Often we need to be reminded to slow down, unplug and be fully present with the ones we love.
I came to realize that at least one day of rest per week has to be a nonnegotiable. For me it is usually Saturday. Regardless of my busy schedule I need this day of rest like a day of fresh air. I need to unplug completely, no email checking or FB posting. 📖
Do you have a day of rest you keep? Do you unplug on occasion? Do you spend time in nature, at the park, 🌳by the ocean, river or lake?
When was the last time you got lost in a good book? Would you like to share your thoughts on this matter?
Two days after I posted my previous blog entry Spiritual Desert of a Laundry Room I had a breakfast with a couple of girlfriends. As we were having a great time catching up one of the ladies mentioned a beautiful red lamp she recently purchased for her laundry room. Laundry room? Did I hear her correctly? I was not the only one surprised. We were curious why she decided to decorate her laundry room in a special way.
The answer was unexpected as well as eye opening. For this woman her laundry room has become her spiritual retreat. She loves coming there at night not only to wash clothes for her family of five, but also to enjoy some solitude and prayer time. She decorated it with splashes of color and items she likes to make it cozy and inviting.
Listening to her I thought how a change of perspective could completely switch one’s attitude. Decorating a place you spend a lot of time at and leaving negativity at the door can be revolutionary in a sense how you perceive any task you complete in that space and possibly affect your overall satisfaction with life.
I remember praying for my loved ones on numerous occasions as I did household chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry. My least favorite was ironing. I disliked it since childhood. We did not have a dryer when I was growing up, clothes came out wrinkled after being line dried and it was my responsibility to iron piles of clothes week after week. I became an expert at ironing, but I hated it. Later on even with a dryer there were still things that needed to be pressed. I used to set my ironing board in front of a TV and watch spiritual shows because not even sitcoms worked to sweeten a pill of this task… I also learned to pray more for my husband as I was pressing creases out of his dress shirts. Can you imagine my huge sigh of relief when I was able to send stuff to the cleaners where someone was doing laundry for me? Halleluiah!
Most people I know can easily identify their most and least favorite house chores. For me ironing tops the list of least favorite and it took a lot of prayer not to spiral down into resentment and self-pity when I was doing it.
What I do like is washing dishes by hand. There is something soothing about warm soapy water running through my fingers. It brings me to an almost meditative state of mind and it feels like a mini-retreat. I think that is what my friend experiences when she does laundry in a quiet room at night. Nobody interrupts her thoughts there and she can just be. Often this is as much “me” time as she allows herself.
Having downtime to unwind is necessary for everyone and there are many ways to do it. Often we think it is necessary to allot special time and find a place. But it can be as unorthodox as one’s laundry room or a quiet time by a kitchen sink.
It is funny how house chores can become uplifting spiritual experiences regardless if you like them or not. It’s all in a mindset.
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” Philippians 2:14-15 ESV
As soon as I got up I realized it was to be one of THOSE mornings:
First, a friend, who was supposed to go with me and record a video of the event texted that she had to cancel.
Second, I had a bout of allergies with non-stop sneezing and watery eyes for over an hour. I had not have allergy symptoms in years, why today?
I could not find a sweater I wanted to wear. My closet is organized, yet it was nowhere to be found… I had to pick something else.
A transcript of my speech wouldn’t show up on a computer screen. When I finally got a printer to work there was a paper jam. Next, it promptly ran out of blue and yellow ink. Though I only needed black ink the machine refused to print…
I wanted to have my notes, and it took me about five attempts to finally open the document on an iPad.
I begun to pray and prayed every step of the way, as I often do in such frustrating situations.
Soon my allergy miraculously cleared without medication, it was completely gone by the time I got to church. I quickly found something nice to wear, accessories and all, my car started and I got to the place on time.
As my girlfriend wasn’t available to film my speech another friend kindly agreed to do the job.
The presentation went well. I didn’t need my notes after all!
Afterwards a woman came up with tears in her eyes. She told me that my story reminded her of times when she supported a ministry that was smuggling Bibles to the Soviet Union. We talked for quite some time and were amazed how many things we had in common. It truly felt like a Divine Appointment.
As I am writing this I am lying in bed sick with a food poisoning or a flu. I was ill a week before as well. I am also have been very sad about the news I get from my native Ukraine… Today my emotions can easily spiral down with self-pity and frustration.
Yet again I need to focus on prayer and gratitude. What can I be thankful for, even under these circumstances? Well, here are a few things:
– I am recovering at home, it would have been much worse if I was traveling.
– I have freedom to cancel or postpone all engagements and appointments and focus on getting well.
– I can use this break from usual activities to pray for my family, friends and everything that comes to mind, including governments and political situations.
– I am blessed to have my family and friends.
Is my body feeling much better after this exercise? Nope. But my spirit is soaring a little higher now. And for that too I am grateful.