The pace of life ebbs and flows, some seasons afford rest and renewal, others are full of anticipation and fun, and then there are the busy seasons when we are trying to just hang on and get through each day. In these busy times it’s important to stay grounded, and not get swept into the frenzy to the detriment of our souls.
During these times, our normal habits of wellness and spiritual disciplines may be forced out and we can feel disoriented and discouraged. Rather than being driven by these very full days, we can take some simple, but deliberate actions to keep us centered and anchored in God.
- Zoom out- when we feel like our days are frenetic and it will never let up, it benefits us to take a wider, and longer view. Look back, look forward, and look around. Remember that this is a season, that we are not alone, that the current situation we are in doesn’t define us.
- Practice Gratitude- I Thessalonians 5:16-18 calls us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Look for God at work around you, develop a practice of gratefulness by naming things for which you are thankful- by speaking them aloud, writing them down, or designating a moment in your day to stop and ponder. By doing this regularly, you will begin to see life through a grateful lens. Set a reminder on your phone labeled “Gratitude” if you want!
Stay connected to God:
- This may not be the season where you have large chunks of time for i- depth personal Bible study- nevertheless, you can still stay in the word. Maybe this is the season to mediate on less verses rather than read chapters each day. Write a few verses on index cards or post it notes and carry them with you through the day. Meditate on them. (Psalm 1 promises that those who meditate on the law of the Lord, day and night will be like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in its season. And Psalm 19 promises that the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.) We are encouraged to meditate on his precepts- day and night.
- Listen to worship music as you go about your day- plant truth in your mind and a song in your heart to carry you through this season. Music has the power to inform and encourage our souls. Make a playlist of songs with truth to cling to during these days.
- Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you! (James 4:8)
Stay connected to People:
- Find ways to stay connected to your family and friends. Reach out and let them know what you need. In times of busyness our normal rhythms of being with people can be compromised which can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. We were not made to do this life alone!
- Collaborate or share tasks that feel overwhelming- carpooling, meal sharing, menu inspiration, or delegating tasks. Don’t try to do it all. Work together with your people.
Tend to your body:
- Get some rest- respect the limits that God made us with and prioritize getting sleep to sustain you for these busy days.
- Move your body- when I am busy, exercise is one of the first things to go. Find quick, sustainable practices to move your body: take a 10-minute break at work and walk a loop or an afternoon dog walk, or 15-minute exercise video, or whatever helps you.
- Plan for nourishment- during the seasons I am most busy, I need to be more planful about having groceries on hand and easy-to-prep yet nourishing meals. Take the time to prepare so that you don’t have the added complication of last-minute food decisions.
- Get outside- get out into nature and look around and look up. God’s creativity and power is on display all around us. Take a few minutes to pay attention each day. This is perspective giving.
Consider what one or two practices you could try this week- to keep you grounded and focused in the midst of all the tasks and demands you are facing. And take heart that God sees, and He cares for you.
Julie Hunt is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Director of Field Education at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is wife to Dave Hunt, a worship director and wood worker, and mother to a college aged son and two teenaged daughters. She also enjoys walking, baking, reading, food blogging, thrifting, and enjoying time with friends.