One of the biggest blessings that our church has to offer, in my humble opinion, is the ROC. It's a plot of land just south of town that we use as our Recreational Outreach Center (ROC). It boasts of baseball fields, soccer fields, ponds, streams, walking trails, and an ultimate frisbee (or, maybe it's frisbee golf - I don't know the difference) course. Fortunately for me, it's only about 5 minutes from my house, and so it is one of my favorite places in all of the world. (I took the pics at the ROC this morning.)
This morning was a busy one for me with the tasks of home construction, so when things calmed down, I decided to stop off for a little morning walk. I think walking in the morning is THE best! There is just something about the cool breeze, the birds singing, the sun just rising above the horizon - it's tranquil, and it reminds me always that His mercies are new every morning.
Today at the ROC, the patrons were few and far between; there was a fishing grandpa with his elementary-aged grandkids, a mother pushing a sleeping baby in a stroller, and a father running as his wife and child rocked in a rocker on the clubhouse porch. It's best when it's sparsely populated, which is usually the case in the morning.
For years, I've loved walking as my form of exercise. Now, it's vindicating for me. Every step that I walk, God's voice whispers, "Walk by faith, not by sight." It's been that way for years. I hear His voice most clearly when I'm walking. I pray. I think. I ponder. I reflect. For me, this simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is healing.
Today, I praised Him for giving me health enough to exercise in the great outdoors. I rested in the fact that I felt more like a student of Christ than a student of cancer. It hasn't always been that way. And then, I thought about how fortunate I am to have a husband who has allowed me the privilege of taking care of myself. That's a gift, and I don't take it lightly.
Next, I wondered why most women feel guilty for taking time for themselves. I regularly hear ladies say things like, "At the end of the day, I'm spent. There's no time for me."
Women, I need to challenge you today, because that's what God put on my heart to do as I was traipsing over the boardwalk by the pond. You need to step away. Taking care of yourself is so important. If I've learned anything in the last 3 years, I've learned that stress is detrimental to our physical health, emotional health, and mostly our spiritual health. Seek renewal today. Demand refreshing. To be the best you can be for God's specific purposes for your life, you must take time to recharge.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I would just go, go, go thinking, "Aw, I'll rest later. I'm fine." And, then later comes, and you're even more depleted and more stressed. I'm charging you today to adopt a de-stressing routine.
These things bring health and renewal to me, maybe they'll help you, too-
1. Walking outside in a beautiful place (especially in the morning or after the sun has set)
2. Taking deep breaths
4. Unplugging everyday (no phone, no facebook, no email, no TV)
5. Napping outside in the sunlight
7. Taking a bath (not so much in the summer)
9. Drinking a glass of tea in the shade
12. Cooking with fresh ingredients (for some reason the color and concept of "fresh" makes me feel fresh)
13. And, of course, the most important de-stressor in my life is spending time in God's Word
How do you take the stress out of your life? Leave a comment and let us know.