One of the things I’ve been doing throughout lockdown is finding joy in the everyday things that are around us. It has been a wonderful practice to develop.
Regularly Finding the joy in the little things helps us to develop a mindset of wonder at the beauty around us, as well as pulling our thought-world into a positive state (sometimes only for a moment).
The more we find enjoyment in the little things, the more we build up a well of joy and resilience within ourselves. Building joy also impacts and increases our level of hope that things will be okay.
But what if your life is full of pain? What about when you’re carrying trauma, or going through a hard time?
Here’s a few words from my experience of pain that I hope will encourage you…
May we find joy in the little things each day – there is beauty, wonder and joy all around when we look closely. Enjoy the images I’ve put below – they are examples of enjoying the little things.
Did you know that YOU are the most important person in your life? There will never be anybody that knows you the way you know you. This is why it is important that you are true to yourself.
Being true to yourself starts with being honest with your self. It continues with presenting your true self to others. This is not always easy for us – people may not like the real you, or they may like the real you even more that the masked version.
Being true to yourself minimises the internal stress we place upon ourselves. It releases us from the pressure of hiding behind our masks.
Being true to ourselves is easier when we surround ourselves with people we trust, people who accept us for who we are rather than who they want us to be. We are not meant to live life behind masks, or living in the shadows. We live life best when we are in open honest relationship with trusted people who walk with us in life. Life can be hard – it is definitely much better to do life with others who empower us to be true to ourselves.
May we each life life well by being true to ourselves.
I’ve tried reading through the bible from cover to cover numerous times – needless to say, I don’t always get through it, but I do often sense God is speaking through what I did read. I began to think about how often I open the Bible. As I thought about opening the bible my mind began to wonder if opening the book was just the initial step to hearing from God through it’s pages.
It struck me that we do need to open the book, but also that we need to be open to the bible.
Will we open the Book and be open to The Book each day?
I’m not asking us to be legalistic and force ourselves to read everyday till we are gorged on words that come to mean little to us except guilt and failure at our own lack of self-discipline in reading it. Rather, I’m asking that we consider our heart-attitude to the bible. This is about how expecting a God to touch our hearts through it, rather than just reading from habit.
How can we do this?
I believe it’s simply just asking God to speak to us personally through the words we read in the bible.
May Christ set us free from the feeling that we need to read every day, and set within us a deeper need of hearing from God so that we live more like Christ every day.Enjoy the journey 👣
My neighbour recently threw out an old white, broken, mouldy bench. It wasn’t pretty to look at, but you could see it had been lovely in it’s time. I passed it four or five times and as I passed the bench I found myself wondering if I could restore it.
Restoration is the process of returning something or someone to it’s intended state or status. It is the process of refreshing and cleaning up; of applying a little tender loving care, and gently renewing again.
And so I asked my neighbour for the bench. He was happy to have been let off taking it to the dump, where most old benches end up, and I was happy to carry it home.
I wonder, do you ever feel like life has just left you in the dump?
Do you ever feel you are no longer valued or respected or able to do what you were previously able?
I think most of us feel that way at some point – at many points! If you haven’t been thee, keep reading, because one day you may feel that way.
So I took the bench home. I cleaned it with warm soapy water (the equivalent of TLC for a bench) and I removed the mould, dirt and dust. I replaced the broken piece of wood. The bench looked much better.
Restoration looks like this: tackling the pain, the hurts, the habits that destroy us. It is an internal washing of the heart and soul that prepares us for what is yet to come. Restoration itself can be a painful process because it means letting go of what is in the past in order to move forward in the present.
How do you restore your soul?
For some of us it is in the faith we hold. The Old Testament scriptures have a poem with the lyric “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3). Millions of people across many centuries have found that God can indeed restore (heal) and refresh the soul. The soul is that part of us that cannot be seen. It is the invisible, internal aspect of being human. When we experience heartache, loss or hurt it can scar wound our soul. When we experience joy, kindness and love our souls are refreshed and can be healed. This is one reason finding joy, sharing kindness, and experiencing unconditional love are so vitally important.
The Psalmist is saying that restoration of the soul ultimately comes from God. Now that doesn’t mean that restoration can only come to a person who has faith in God. The bible God is presented as pouring grace, love, forgiveness and mercy upon ALL humanity – in grace he provides friends, family, therapists, colleagues, sunsets, creativity, activity, etc. All of which can help to restore our souls.
So, how will you see your soul restored? Will it be through activities or sports that reinvigorate the body? Will it be through intellectual pursuits that can restore the mind? Perhaps it is in being creative? (that works for me!) Or in drawing closer to God? Perhaps it can be found in being surrounded by the natural beauty of the world? For some of us restoration occurs through interaction, while for others it comes through introversion and solitude.
If you are feeling like my broken old bench, in need of some tender loving care, take time to consider how you might restore your soul. If we neglect to care for the soul everything else can eventually unravel. Look after your ‘inner person’ in order to keep functioning effectively in your work, relationships and pursuits.
For me it is back to the bench. It needs another coat of paint, and then it will have a lovely space in my yard among the flowers and plants we are growing. It will allow us to sit, rest, reflect, and restore as we watch sunsets, eat, and talk together – just as it was created to do.
May you find restoration for your soul so you can live as you are created to do.
Living life on purpose is about choosing to live life according to what makes you feel most fulfilled.
Many of us just go through life being knocked here and there in life, career and interests, without thinking about what we really want. Purpose is such an abstract concept: it is hard to pin down, which is why I love the idea of finding a sense of purpose. Purpose can change as we journey through life, although some variables will not change much. We get an idea of what makes us feel most alive; what connects us with others; what contributions we can make. These things help us define our ever-shifting sense of purpose, and to live in the joy of that purpose.
So here’s my few tips. You will need to click the links to read, but I think you will find it’s worth the read…
Identify what your ‘sense’ of purpose is. In Japan there’s a word used for that sense of purpose: Ikigai. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Click the link for a very practical and helpful on identifying your purpose
I’ve recently been taking time to just “be still”. Our world has become a noisy, chaotic place where it can be difficult to find peace and quiet.
Stillness refocuses our attention and our hearts towards what really matters to us. When we take time to be still our minds wander into the thoughts we need to process. You could say that stillness is the gate into the garden of contentment because when we settle into quiet contemplation we find ourselves heading towards contentment.
The monastic movements such as the Benedictines understood this and made contemplation and silent meditation part of their daily rhythm for living. In silence we reconnect with the spiritual in life – the Old Testament poet wrote “be still and know that I am God”.
Whether you just need peace, silence, contentment, or a deeper understanding of God, stillness is still a great non-activity to recenter your mind, soul and spirit.
I recently visited one of the most beautiful little villages in the UK. St Abbs is a tiny Scottish fishing village nestled close to the Scotland-England border and it is simply gorgeous.
I was snapping photos left, right and centre (and I guess driving my very patient children a little crazy as the danced on the borders of boredom!). I found this photo amongst my days’ snaps…
I don’t know about you, but when I first looked at it I wasn’t sure which way was up and which was down. Life sometimes can feel just like that, can’t it? One minute you’re heading where you want, and the next life throws you a curveball and you feel totally out of sorts.
How do we get back on track? Here’s a few tips:
1. Stop and think about what’s happening: how are you feeling about it? Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually?
2. Get the perspective of trusted friends and family
3. Take time to adjust – don’t rush
4. Realign your perspective – not all change turns out negative. In fact when we embrace change it usually ends up positively. Resistance to change can unnecessary create inner conflict (although some changes should be resisted – as we grow in wisdom learn to recognise when resistance is required).
When we realign our perspective we learn to see more clearly. I found a photo I’d intentionally taken…
Reorienting your perspective is the difference between looking at my first photo and my second – we see things more clearly.