Totally fessing up here. Try as I might, it’s been tough to pray often, eat well & move more this week. I’ve been swept up in going from one public health website to another and then back again–just in case something changed…
While it’s prudent to be informed, I realized all this fact-finding was eating away at my prayer time, eroding my trust in God. This, in turn, causing a domino effect in my productivity, creativity, connectivity as well as my eating, movement and sleeping patterns! I was letting my light dim. Here’s how I’m dusting off all the stuff I want to let go of to reveal what God really wants for me and what he’s calling me to do during this time of never-ending change and uncertainty.
I was already thinking about how I was going tie together letting go & cleaning/decluttering when I read about Walter Hilton (ca. 1343-1396) in my daily devotions.
“Just as a woman sweeps her room in search of a missing coin, so we must clean our hearts of worldly attachments.”Give us This Day ~ March 26, 2020
As Luke tells the story of the woman looking fervently for the lost coin, Jesus says the woman is God fervently looking for each of us. He’s always sweeping away things to spot us, popping in to say, “Hi! I love you! What can I do to help you shine your light brightly?” He sees and values our true worth. Rejoices when he finds us and accepts us, dirt and all.
But unlike a coin or a light bulb, he can’t just dust us off, sweep away all our dirt, all our vices that prevent us from receiving the plan he has for us. All the good things he wants to give us. We have to do our part, too.
God loves us so much, he didn’t want to impose all his goodness on us. He gave us free will. We have to choose it. We can choose to stay covered in dirt, chained to vices, or we can choose to let them go. Let them go, sweep away our own dust (with God’s guidance) and allow him to fill us with all his goodness.
As soon as we turn to him, ask him for help and open ourselves up to receive his goodness, he reveals the answers. He’ll tell us how to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, but we’ve got to choose to do it. And then actually do it.
Dusting Myself Off
The first thing I did when I found myself really floundering was to ask God for inspiration. What do you want me to do, Lord? Inspiration immediately flooded me. Soon, I had a whole list of things that have worked well in the past as well as some new ideas.
- Put a sticky note on my computer saying “At 12 & 6pm” (to check public health sites)
- Put a sticky note on my sweet potato chips & pork rind bags “What do you really need? Are you really hungry?” (Or all 3 bags would be gone in 3 days)
- Create a loose schedule for the day (sticky note pad & pencil by the coffee pot)
- Create a loose menu plan (index card by the salt & pepper shakers)
- Get outside for at least an hour every day–walking in the woods if possible (Keeping in mind physical distancing-I had the whole county park to myself during my walk yesterday)
- Make a promise to myself to not open any public health websites on my kindle (I usually read on my kindle right before going to sleep and don’t sleep well when my mind is racing with the news)
- Listen to Matthew West or Showtunes Radio on Pandora as I’m creating & connecting (aka working)
- Remind myself of the mission God has put me here for (sticky note in my journal)
- Clear off my desk, island, make my bed as well as keeping things physically tidy around the house
- Do qi gong at least once a day to keep things moving (putting it on my to-do list)
- Make sure I read the daily mass readings and other devotionals (I really miss mass & receiving the Eucharist 2-3 times a week!)
- Remember my husband & I are safe, staying home and have enough to get us through for a good, long while (if we run out of TP-there’s always old t-shirts & rags–thank goodness for our new washer last week!)
- Be more cognizant of God popping up to say, “Hi!”
Helping Each Other
Yes, it’s our job to follow through on God’s invitation to dust ourselves off, but we also need other people to help us see the dirt on our backs or help us clean the spots we can’t reach. Knowing my own tendencies, I employed reminders and accountability to help me jump start (or restart) actions.
I am blessed to have an understanding, level-headed husband who’s not afraid to lovingly call me out when I ask him to. I also have a good health coach and project manager who keep me in check. Not to mention my clients and all my followers who I love interacting with and lift me up!
On the Right Track
We also have this inner guidance that tells us when we’re not connecting to God. When we’re letting the dirt pile up around us, we don’t feel good. We get depressed, distracted, seek food, alcohol, or other mechanisms to escape. They make us feel good at the moment, but that quickly turns into deeper depression, distraction, guilt, shame, etc.
What we really need during those times is God. When we’re stuck in the muck, if we tune into God, he’ll show us the way. When we’re on the right track, we feel the fruits of the Spirit. God wants us to use Joy as our compass.
It’s not always easy, but the more we respond to God, the more we let go of the vices that prevent us from feeling his goodness, the better we feel and the easier it becomes. The joy we feel when respond to God’s call with thanksgiving is no coincidence. It’s his way of supporting us with positive reinforcement to dust ourselves off and make better choices. All so we can let our light shine brightly for God, ourselves and others.
How are you responding to God’s call to dust yourself off and let your light shine?