“One of the marks of a godly woman is that she takes responsibility for her soul's need for joy and delight. A woman is a conductor, who leads the orchestra of her surroundings in the songs and music of her life. God is a God of creativity and dimension, and so He is pleased when we we co-create beauty in our own realm, through the power of His Spirit.
It was a profound realization when I understood that I could become an artist with my very life.”
― Sally Clarkson, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe
The month ahead might just have more demands, deadlines, drains, challenges in my schedule than any other period in my life. My temptation would be expend a lot of energy worrying that I am not possibly going to get everything finished, that I will become sick, that somehow I will not complete something and that my life will consequently fall through the cracks.
Yet, over many years, God has shown His faithfulness to me in such times. Learning that I have more capacity than I ever knew, seeing HIs faithfulness through all of my demanding seasons have taught me that even as He has been faithful to me in all the past seasons, so He will be faithful in this season. I am careful to plan my priorities, to work as hard as I can, to take the time I need to meet the needs and unexpected demands of my family and then to leave the results in HIs hands.
Psalm 37 tells us:
Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him and He will do it."
Building the foundations of my life on the truth, wisdom and promises of God's word has taught me to live freely, without burden one day at a time.
Yet, to experience such grace, I have to take time for myself, to immerse myself in the wisdom and grace of God, to make sure I am sleeping enough, to simplify my expectations of what is reasonable to accomplish, and then to plan for my own well-being amidst such pressure.
I have had to learn that no one else in the world will be responsible for my over-all well being. I have a husband and children who love me, but I am responsible for my rest, my quiet time, my eating and exercise and my chill time.
I do have countless emails in my inbox that I would love to answer, and there are tasks calling my name around the house, but I have become the queen of turning my head away and sticking to my priorities. In order to live a sustainable life, I have to stick to these principles of living life intentionally.
I have found that there will be just as many things screaming for my attention tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. But today, I know that my body and mind need a little rest and that when I am a steward of my body, I am protecting my walk with the Lord. I am always simplifying and evaluating if something is worth the effort--(I do think that making things beautiful and special during the holidays are worth the effort as it builds the taste and values and work ethic and ministry skills of my children--but all in its season--and now is a season to restore. But it may not be worth it to answer one more phone call or one more email--as this will certainly steal from my children and husband who need me today.
This is one of the times of year, I take a one woman retreat to set the months ahead of me in order.
Remember, He wants you to restore and have rest and refreshment.
"He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul." Psalm 23
Kristen and I are sharing about how to set aside some time to imagine and pray and plan with the Lord in our podcast today and we've included some questions below the link for you to sit and answer as you head into the new year. I hope it is an encouragement to your heart today.
Questions for your One Woman Retreat
What are the things God has clearly called you to cultivate and steward? Honestly assess how you are doing well, and where God would like to help you grow. Are there things you are expending energy doing that God has not called you to labor in? Are there things you need to let go of? What needs to change for your calling and stewardship to be sustainable?
On Your Unique Puzzle of Life
Yourself: What are some of your unique gifts? What circumstances, experiences, convictions or personality has God given to you in order to serve others? What are some of your personal limitations and drainers? (These could include relational or financial stress, a sick child or aging parent, big life changes, etc)
Your Marriage: Where is your marriage strong? Where is it weak? What is one thing you can work on in your marriage this year?
Your Parenting: Where are the hearts of each of your children? What do you want to give them this year? Where are the areas you see them flourishing and what are some character qualities you would like to help them to strengthen?
Your Commitments: What activities do you want to continue and which do you need to cut out for yourself or your children? What do you want to have established as the anchors of your family and the way your spend your time? Do you have other interests you'd like to pursue if you could make the time? Make a plan that brings joy!
On Cultivating Your Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength
How will grow in your relationship with God this year? When will you spend time in the word? What books will you read? What great thinkers and writers and artists will you expose yourself to? How will you rest? When and how will you help your body to be strong?