For a while I had been going 100 miles per minute. My overextended schedule left me practically lifeless and surely mindless by the end of each day. Burning the candle at both ends is a surefire way to stress, anxiety, and ultimately unhappiness. It was never God’s intention for us to live our daily lives like we’re racing in the Indy 500, but if we’re not careful that’s exactly how will end up.
Jesus said that he is the vine and we are his branches. Our life source, nourishment, strength, purpose, and focus come from Him. We can attempt to fulfill these needs elsewhere, but when we do we forfeit the ability to be successful in our endeavors, for Jesus said without me you can do nothing of any lasting value. We can be busy spinning our wheels, but if what we’re doing is void of God’s grace and spirit, why do it?
If you’ve been running on empty for some time now (you know that feeling of looking at the gas gauge in the red just praying you won’t end up stranded on the street somewhere), it’s time for a spiritual tune-up. Elijah in 1 Kings 19:3-4 is a good example of what happens when over-exhaustion sets in. He ran away from his responsibilities until he ended up under a broom tree, depleted and depressed, asking God to kill him right then and there. But God was waiting with loving and open arms and nurtured Elijah right back to health with rest and nourishment.
To keep our autos in tiptop shape, we need to perform periodic maintenance. And to keep our lives running smoothly, or as Jesus said “more abundantly” we need to do the same. So what spiritual maintenance program do we need to schedule?
1.Daily quiet time and meditation with the God. Looking for Christian stress relief, try meditation. This is where we spend 15-30 minutes meditating on the lord and entering into His presence. It helps us to be still, to cut the pull strings, to refocus and re-energize and to quiet our mental clutter or piercing demands so we can hear and respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
2.Meditate on God’s Word. Meditating is different than reading. Meditating on the Word makes it alive in our heart. To meditate on the word, find a passage in your Bible and just start reading. Don’t stop until a word, phrase, or scripture jumps off the page like a neon light! Write it down, think about and reflect on it throughout the day. Ask God to expand your revelation of it and consider how to make this Word more meaningful in your life.
3.Spend time in Silence and Solitude. Try to incorporate silence and solitude into your daily life. Perhaps daily won’t work but how about an hour during the weekend or even consider a quarterly silent meditation retreat. Silence and solitude helps us to tear down, rebuild, and rejuvenate. It’s like a fast of the spirit and mind that allows us to purge those mindsets and faulty concept that interfere with God’s purpose and plan in our lives.
4.Create a Realistic Daily Schedule at the Beginning of Each Day. After your quiet time, once you’ve subdued the “must dos” and the “need tos,” spend 10 to 15 minutes planning out your day. After listing each item, number them by priority. Decide what time you plan to work on the each task, i.e. 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Begin on time and end on time. Move unfinished tasks to tomorrow’s list. Then, go enjoy the rest of your day being social, active, and nurturing to yourself. Balance is the key to health, joy, and on-going happiness.
5.Build Nurturing Time into Everyday. Spend at least 1 hour per day doing something you really enjoy or those necessities that keep the centered. For me it’s Biblical meditation, journaling, PraiseMoves, morning walk with my grandson, a great breakfast and reading a few pages or chapter of a favorite book. These activities keep me grounded when the pull to just work, work, work comes calling.
6.Rome wasn’t Built in a Day and it took God Seven Days to Create the Earth. Did you know a day in God is 1000 years? Learn to pace yourself and enjoy the journey on the way. Don’t put unnecessary demands on yourself or your time. You won’t reach your destination any faster going 24/7, and in fact you may never reach it at all. Studies show that the happiest people in life are balanced and they’ve learned to make daily routines into enjoyable rituals. Don’t miss the beauty of the flowers because you’re constantly gazing in the sky.
7.This is the Day the Lord has Made, I will Rejoice and be Glad It. Notice the Word says this is the “day” God has made. He didn’t say, week, a year or even eternity. Therefore, live for each day and leave the past and future in God’s hands. Rejoice in today and be grateful for the many blessings you possess right now.
Incorporating these spiritual disciplines into your daily life will help you to keep your perspective, balance, and energies in check. It will help you increase your output and productivity without draining you mentally, physically, and spiritually. God is our increase, our source and our constant supply. When we rely and trust in Him, we can give up striving and can live in peace, joy, and prosperity.