Refresh Your Soul Week 1- Creating Space to Breathe

Take a deep breath. Now another one.

What word or words do you want to describe your life, this year, this week, this day? Joyful, Peaceful, Refreshed, Intentional, Simple.

It is time. It is time for you and I to place our flag in the ground. It is time to stop living at break-neck speed. Time to stop rushing from one thing to the next, filling up our free space with mindless distractions like the Internet, phones, and TV, which leave us feeling depleted instead of refreshed.

If you are a mom like me, we still have a lot of the race left to run.We still have to finish raising our kids, and so we need to look at our lives as a marathon instead of a sprint. I don’t know your personality, but I know mine. I hate to say no to people, so I often say yes to something, then I get overwhelmed by all I have to do, and end up going back and renigging on my commitment. I am working on it.

I am learning to say no. My life often has many unexpected interruptions, people stopping by, needing something, a last minute visit from a neighbor or a friend. I am guessing yours might too? So I need to learn to say no to a lot of planned things so I have space to enjoy the interruptions in my day instead of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

What things in your life are just fillers? There is a difference between having a busy life and having a full life. A full life is one you choose intentionally what things you are going to put in, life-giving things, things that you truly feel called by God to do.

The busy things are those fillers that you feel like you should do, have to do to look good, want to do, but don’t fit in your season of life. And the other kind of filler is the one you use as an escape—the internet, iphone, endless tv watching, or maybe even mindless eating.

For me, as I look at how I have been spending my time, there are several commitments I am pulling back on. In addition to those, the fillers I have allowed into my life are a 30-45 minute mindless Facebook and internet checking with my coffee in the morning, letting the wind take me wherever it will, and watching a TV show with Dave each night. Are these things wrong? Nope. But I need some space to breathe, and my soul isn’t filled by these things. I want to fill my time intentionally {not to the max} and have time in my day to ponder and talk with God, read quietly, and engage in conversation with my family. So, mindless internet surfing is going in favor of a scheduled block of time to work on my blog, update Facebook, and answer emails. TV watching is now limited to Friday and Saturday nights, when we can enjoy it, and not worry about staying up too late.

Just these small changes make me smile. I have peace in my heart knowing I have space to breathe. It gives me a lightness to my step and helps me de-clutter my mind and my day.

This week I want you to consider these challenges:

-Declutter your life by praying about something in your life that needs to go. Let it go without guilt or reservation. Smile at how much better you feel.

-Turn off the “feeds” early. Stop eating, stop watching, stop clicking earlier than you usually do. Snuggle into bed a little earlier than usual.

-Anyway you work it, I highly recommend if at all possible to wake up at least 30 minutes before your kids. Really. I’m not tyring to be mean, but I have seen such a huge difference in my attitude just from waking up earlier than my kids. You can do it! Spend some time in the Word first thing, filling up your mind and refreshing your heart. {Good Morning Girls is a great resource for your quiet time!}

*If you are a nursing mama, and aren’t getting enough sleep to begin with, don’t beat yourself up! Try writing out a few verses on some cards that you can meditate on anytime day or night. Grab your sleep when you can!*

-Do NOT underestimate the power of the nap. Guilty, you say? Get over it! I still take a 30 minute nap every single day and my youngest are 5! Institute quiet time, play a book on your ipod for non-nappers, or even give the kiddos a movie to watch. Whatever it takes for you to get some rest.

-Do something nice for yourself each day.

Some ideas:

Meditate on a verse or verses.

Quiet tea time.

Listent to your favorite music.

Light a candle.

Buy some flowers, just because.

Put your snack on a china plate and drink your water with a bit of lemon out of a wine glass.

Read a chapter of a fun, relaxing book.

Go for a walk.

He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.”Psalm 23:3

Enjoy your week, breathing,resting in Him and allowing Him to restore your soul as you consciously make room for Him in your life.

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  • Heather

    Thanks Joy! These are also some of the things I am working on in my life. Fortunately I am not on facebook or twitter, and I don’t watch tv but goodness, there are always things rushing life and sucking our precious time! I want to slow down and savor the goodness He can only give! He alone will satisfy! I am really looking forward to this series!

  • Aggie

    I have to be honest, I’ve been struggling. Your post feels like a hug just when I needed it. My good friend told me to pop over & I’m so glad she did.

  • my_redeemerlives

    Thank you Joy!! I have been trying to cut some things out and just relax more. It is so hard when I sit and I think of all the things I could be doing. BUT I know I need to rest too.

  • lmurrell80

    this is just wonderful….thanks joy!

  • Anna

    Hi! Your advice is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing it with me :) hope you have a great day.

  • Kasia

    Love you Joy!

  • Linda

    Great advice!!!!!! I love the emphasis on planning. There is a quote I love, ” Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

  • gayly

    thanks for the great ideas and great reminders. I need to learn to say “no”more and this is a great reminder to me to do so. And the to bed earlier is one I need to work on, I often find that I end up being up late because the kids are in bed and my husband’s job often keeps him later a few nights each week. I need to just go to bed those nights and sleep instead of waiting (he agrees because it isn’t predictable when he will get home on those nights.) Thanks again!

  • Cassidy Robinson

    Your words always hit me right where I need it! Thank you for this encouragement to find rest and refresh our soul! I am a new mama to a 4 month old and learning to make my time with The Lord a priority, on top of finding rest when I can! It is difficult. I appreciate your suggestions. :)

  • Kristen Grills

    “Restore your soul” – words that I just KNOW that I needed to hear. Thank you!

  • grazingacres

    Thank you! And God bless you today.

  • Angela

    Oh how I needed to hear every word of this at this very moment! Thank you! My kids just went down for naps, so I now have time to (get off Facebook) have a quiet time with a candle lit and maybe even some special lemon water in a wine glass… And then a nap of my own :) Thank you for your words of love and kindness that I really really needed to hear!

  • Nadine

    Thanks Joy, this post is so perfectly timed. Cultivating a full life that honors Him in every way is something that God has been teaching me lately. I was fearful about letting go of the things in my life that have been sucking my time, energy, and focus away from God and His plans for my life. But every time I let go of another ‘to do’ or ‘want to do’, and replace it with something of eternal value, my life becomes a little more peaceful, intentional, restful, and joyful. We serve and amazing God, and I love creating that space for Him to work!

  • Sarah Michelle

    Even as a college student, it is hard to put away the things that just steal time. Facebook is a big one for me. I’m learning more and more that these things need to be set aside and the time spent instead with Jesus. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah Beals

    Loved this, Joy. I, too, find myself evaluating things during different seasons of life to see if they are really important things or are things that are draining me. Great post. :) Thank you.

  • Camille

    Amen! I’m right there with you… confirmed what I’ve been doing is right for me, even though those temptations to say” yes” are creeping in… thank you and Praise God!

  • Tara

    I am really enjoying doing this series, it really is refreshing me, thank you again for doing this, I hope you gain wonderful things from sharing your heart with us all. Tara (The Proverbs 31 Sanctuary)

  • Dayna

    I have been reading the Love Dare to improve myself in my marriage, and last night it was about being irritable (which is one of my weaknesses right now). He said exactly what you said. “Life is a marathon not a sprint”, and it talked about stress and letting to many things control your life. I’ve noticed myself being less intentional over the past probably 6 months, and I’ve been a different person because of that. I’m ready to refocus!

  • Christina Kirby de Martinez

    I do not know what to say you live so far away but are so much like me lol!
    I am a missionary living and married to a national missionary here in Mexico with a son who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy I have Fibro Myalgia and my husband has COPD we are early 40′s! With all of this we still serve God daily and praise Him for bringing us here to serve and love the drug addicts and the alcoholics!
    Thank you for this devotional it so help me start this year on the right track!
    Numbers 6:24-26