Life nowadays always seems to feel so full and often cluttered, both externally and internally. I suppose to a certain degree, that just comes with the territory of working full-time as a nurse and being married to a pastor. Alas, if my life and my heart didn’t feel full, it would probably mean to some extent that I didn’t care as much as I probably ought to about these contexts in which I live. All that being said, I am learning to value self-care more than ever these days, and so much of that involves the simplifying of all that is within my power to simplify.
So I’m trying to make changes, some small, some big, all significant in their own right.
– I am learning to bite the bullet and take care of those things that seem like a hassle at the moment, recognizing that if I just take the typically less than five minutes to just get them out of the way, it will make my life much easier in the long run. For example: Putting things in their proper place at home before a bigger mess builds up. Untangling my IV lines at the start of a shift rather than mid-way through when I’m feeling as wound up as my lines are. This unclutters both the external, as well as the internal. I’m no longer trying to remember or keep track of yet another thing I need to take care of, saving my already tired brain from information overload.
– I am cutting down on the time spent checking email and perusing Facebook. The iPhone was a terrible culprit in this. I realized it started getting really bad when I started to use my iPhone as my second alarm clock, in case my bedside one didn’t go off. This was fine in and of itself, but I kept the phone too close to me at night, and as a light sleeper, I could hear it buzz when a new email or Facebook post came through. Slowly I fell into the bad habit of checking it in the middle of the night, and I can hear all your eyes rolling at me now. Terrible idea, I know. I think I’ve learned my lesson and I’m keeping that phone out of reach at night now. The people behind the iPhone and Facebook know human tendencies and weaknesses all too well. They’re not dumb. They know what will sell, what will pull us in and keep us there, and why. The iPhone and Facebook make things too easy, reducing my life and entertainment and everyone else’s life to this gadget in my hand, a gadget that is too small for my own good. True life is bigger than this, and true life is quieter than this. I desperately need to regain life again.
– Throwing things away. Still working on this one. Ugh.
– I am going to counseling again. It is expensive, but this is by far the best financial investment I could make in my overall well-being at this point in time. I realize there is a stigma in some peoples’ minds about counseling and people who go to see counselors, but that’s ok. I believe deeply that everyone can benefit from counseling if and when they are open to it. I know I have blind spots in my life. I am not perfect. I find myself in life situations that are often beyond me – beyond my experiences, beyond my wisdom, beyond my own capability to sort through in healthy ways with a perspective beyond my own limited view. Other people, some whom I love very deeply, are affected by my responses to these life situations. Having a counselor speak into my life about areas where I am not healthy, about burdens that are not mine to carry (though I thought they were), about practical things I can do to guard my sanity, has been an absolute gift from God.
– I am learning to sit still. This is hard. I am relatively quiet and mellow in personality but I am Type A nonetheless in terms of my compulsions to stay busy and be over-productive. But these ambitions to be over-productive can also be too small for my own good. Sometimes, oftentimes, no….all the time, I need to come back to what is better for my soul. To do what I need to do, but to rest when I need to rest. To pray and to remember that I am not God. He is.
I know life is always going to be busy and complicated to a certain, unavoidable degree. But I’m learning, or perhaps re-learning, how to slow down from the madness where I can – because sometimes, especially in our society, I think we honestly forget that we actually can – and constantly remind myself where my heart’s true home is.
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek;
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
– Psalm 27:4-5