Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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One Hour Sit Down

When our kids were little and past the days of napping . . . we began an afternoon 'quiet time'. This meant staying in their own rooms for an hour. They could play with toys, draw, sleep, or build forts but just needed to stay in their own rooms.

This was awesome for a few reasons: It meant that I could nap or catch up on work that needed concentration. It also meant that they learned how to be alone, initiate their own ideas of play or fall asleep if needed. Often they came up with creative ideas, inventions and after the hour was over, they'd enthusiastically invite us in to see what they had made.

Why do I tell you this story?

If you've been watching the news, then you are well aware of the events happening around the world where people need assistance, donations of money, clothing or help. If you open your mailbox, you've probably received requests, today, for help as well. One trip to Safeway, a few minutes standing in the line and you've probably experienced people who need love, money, stress-coping-techniques, and some serious rest. And you yourself . . . probably have concerns of your own that relate to your health, your family or your financial situation.

We may not be kids anymore, but we may still need some time in our rooms.

I read a great article the other day that compared the concept of "ruminating" and "problem solving". It suggested that if we allow thoughts to ruminate all day long without actually identifying what is going on in our minds, then we are allowing an unhealthy habit to take root.  The article suggested taking time to write down what those main concerns are and set aside time to problem solve, creatively and regularly.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes ruminating as this: 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruminate

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruminate

So . . . feeling burdened to help the Syrian refugees? Take time to consider which organization to donate to, how much money to give and pull out your visa, go online and make it happen. You can't help everyone . . . but you can make one decision to help in one way. Use that quiet time in your room to think this through and make a decision.

Worried about your kids? Write down the main concerns. Constantly thinking about what you'll wear to an event coming up? Take time during that hour to try on your clothes and see if they fit.  Feeling burdened for the food bank? Go to your cupboard, pull out 10 items of dry goods, put them in a bag at the front door and drop them in the food bank bin next time you're in Safeway. Gift giving? Make a concrete list, with a budget, and make some decisions. Wondering about a new job? Take some time during that hour to research, send an email and inquire about options. Make decisions during that hour and then stop . . . for that day. 

When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, the bottom-line, the main thing, what it's all about . . . He answered, "Love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy" (Mark 12:28)  If our minds are consumed with worry and ruminating thoughts, we are not necessarily loving God. We are loving worry. We are loving the sense of 'control' we feel by continually running through scenarios and repeating events in our minds.

Let's not.

Let's focus on God and ask Him for the self-discipline to set our worries aside for the moment and take time to problem solve later, for an hour, so that we can be free to be truly present with those whom we love and are loved by and those who need love too.