Today I celebrate the hard work of writing 1000 posts. I do an excellent job minimizing the difficulty of my accomplishments so today I notice and applaud the time and effort it takes to write this blog.
Reflecting on what motivates me to pick up the computer every day to pen a few words intended to lighten someone’s load, I realize my greatest motivator is people I cannot see and do not know. It is the notes I receive along the way that encourage me to press in. So thank you for reading, responding and being a part of my story.
Recently I noticed that many people, including me, started living with purpose out of a place of pain or difficulty. As I look back, I see that my passion for helping others recognize and step out of the chaos of life began decades ago. Little flashes here, dissatisfaction there, determination to live not under the circumstances but in spite of the circumstances.
Chaos comes in many ways, but primarily settles in one of two ways — internal and external. Internal chaos is the battle of our own thoughts and processing information. It is the place Paul speaks about in Romans 12:2 when he says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” My internal chaos is transformed when I allow truth to inform what I think about myself, God and others. When I recognize the places where distortions and dysfunction have intruded and deformed my thinking, I can apply truth and the chaos quiets.
External chaos is the pressure of society and culture to accomplish and do rather than BE. Recently, I heard someone say we should work from rest rather than rest from work. That simple statement resonates so much with me and informs how I strive to organize my life.
Years ago, our pastor talked about living with margins. He used the illustration of a dinner plate. Imagine a 10 inch dinner plate with a 1 inch border around the edge. That leaves an 8 inch circle in the center of the plate. The center is where the food should be. Too often, our plates are full and overflow the center circle and then we pour gravy over everything and soon the plate cannot contain all we put on it.
Life lived in this way is chaotic. Commitments keep us exhausted and stressed out, threatening our health spiritually, emotionally and physically. Too many of us run on empty and suffer because of it. Not only in our bodies and minds, but in relationships with God and people. There is another way.
I like to keep the image of a dinner plate in my mind. On the plate is a moderate amount of colorful food contained within the 8 inch center circle. The food comes from all the colors of the rainbow and between each item on the plate there is space. Not only does this represent how I want to eat, but how I want to live.
I want to live with margin. I say no to things that make me busy but don’t give me life. I say yes to the things that feed my spirit yet allow me the margin I need to remain healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have a long way to go but I am pointed in the right direction.
There is one thing about which I am especially passionate — emotional health. It is my experience that emotionally healthy people are more likely to be spiritually and physically healthy. It is kind of a chicken and egg discussion. Which comes first? Emotional health or spiritual health? Physical health or emotional health? On this we can agree to disagree, but my personal experience says that my emotional health directly impacts my ability to heal spiritually and physically.
My heart breaks for those who live with deep emotional pain and don’t even know it. Or perhaps they do know it, but have no idea what to do to relieve the pain. If they do know what to do, the effort required to bring the pain to the forefront is so overwhelming it keeps them immoblized and stuck. There is another way and I am so proud of those who undertake the hard work of soul healing.
In the last year, I developed three avenues to assist others in the process of soul work. First, my husband and I renovated our 14 x 20 log cabin from a rustic structure with no modern amenities to a deliberately designed space with all the modern amenities necessary for a personal retreat. Our desire was to provide a space that exceeded the expectations of a potential guest. I believe we accomplished that with high end finishes and surprising comfort in a small space. We look forward to finishing the outside in the spring by adding landscaping, a stone firepit area and an outdoor shower. You can check it out at Cabinoff39.com. The intention is to provide a space for one or two people to retreat from the chaos of life to be renewed and refreshed in the shelter and presence of the Lord.
The second avenue I offer is providing guided retreat material for a person who wants to take a spiritually refreshing retreat but isn’t sure what to do. I custom write the material according to stated goals and the life situation of the retreatant. The material can be written for any length of time, but not less than three days.
The third avenue I offer is spiritual direction. In the strictest sense of the term, spiritual direction is an ongoing relationship with once a month meetings between director and directee. While an ongoing relationship is a possibility, I also offer to meet only during a retreatant’s time at The Cabin to help see where God is already at work in her life and to help guide her to a greater awareness of God in every day experiences. Sometimes a person just needs someone to listen and help point her in the right direction. It’s kind of like asking directions when you are on a road trip. Often the general direction is right, a person just needs a little affirmation they are on the right path.
Both guided retreats and spiritual direction are explained in more detail on my website at Cabinoff39.com. Check it out and plan for your personal time away soon!
Thanks to everyone who has been with me from the beginning of this journey. I really appreciate your faithfulness and encouragement. If you read this through FaceBook, would you do me a favor and share this post to your feed? If you get the post to your inbox, thanks for reading! I would love to hear where you are reading from so comment below and let me know!
Here’s to one thousand more. Or maybe I will write a book. Who knows what the Lord has up his sleeve!