Tuesday, July 28, 2020

When you hit a wall, 4 things to do

I’ve heard the same thing from several people, some in leadership roles. Last week was a tough time for many. It’s as if collectively so many of us hit a wall, because the seemingly worsening pandemic isn’t the sum total of the issues we’re dealing with. Day to day problems continue to roll and last week it felt as if the challenges just piled on.

Some of the problems we can address, but some we feel helpless in the face of, because we’re unable to effect any change.

So how do we live day to day?

Some of this I’ve said before, but I’m going to say it again. Here are a few suggestions:

1.      Savor the small things. I spotted an unusual coneflower in a neighbor’s yard and found a plant at a local nursery. It was more than I wanted to pay, but how it changed colors as the bloom matured really brought joy to my heart. When I put it on the patio, I realized it was a big attraction to pollinators. So the caveat is if you’re allergic to bees, you might want to skip this one but on the plus side, a pipevine swallowtail has decided it is home plate. More joy.

2.       Do something creative. For many of you cooking is a creative outlet. It usually isn’t for me, but I discovered this woman from a link Ann Voskamp sent out. Brenda Gantt made a little video of how to make biscuits for friends and family and posted it on social media. It hit a million views. So now, she’s down there in South Alabama cooking up a storm and showing the cooking dummies like me how to do it. She reminds me so much of my Aunt Nell. I've never done it before, but I may just get up the courage to cook collards this week. Find somethingpainting, sewing, crafting, gardening, jewelry making, or writing, whatever to take you out of that side of the brain where you’re trying to figure it all out.

3.       Slow down. This is one of my greatest challenges. You might ask why I’m in a hurry when there are not too many places to go. Here it is. The hurry doesn’t come from out there. It comes from in me. I get up in the morning with a list two people would have trouble accomplishing. I’m hurrying through my list all day and in the evening still feeling I haven’t accomplished my goals. I go through periods when I’m consciously aware of keeping the list short but then over time, I start adding more and more and the rush escalates. Someone I respect recently recommended the book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. It has my name written all over it and is on my ereader right now to be read next. I sense I’m not the only one with this issue since it’s sitting in the top ten in its category. In the mean time, I’m going to renew my effort to remove items from my to do list.

4.       Stay connected to God. Above all, make sure you’re taking the time every day to spend with the One who loves you most. In your efforts to streamline your to do list, be intentional about blocking out time with the Lord for Bible reading and prayer. That time is a well we draw from throughout the day. As is said in pastoral circles, we want to minister from the overflow not the undertow. After we come out of this pandemic, we want to come out more in touch with God, not less. The words from Isaiah come to mind that God is able to give us “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).

You probably have a few tips you’d like to share about what has helped you during this time. I’d love to hear about them.

Keep up your hope, friends.

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