Category Archives: healthy living

The Silence Detour

On a recent jaunt up into the Smoky Mountains for morning hike, I noticed several signs along the roadside. Obviously, there were the signs that pointed to important points of interests, various hiking  trails and sites, as well as directional signs to get travelers back to wherever they came from. And then there were these signs: images

Each time we passed one, it was as if the sign was calling my name, beckoning me to come spend some time in quiet. It was as if my heart longed to simply walk a path and enjoy stillness. Although, I was about to hike a trail with my husband, something about this simple sign was alluring. We never stopped to take a look-see at what stillness was to be experience on such a walkway. Still, I can’t shake the simple entreaty that this sign promised.

I know the feeling of traveling life’s road and needing a moment to get out of the car and just escape down a quiet path. How many times, though, have I ignored that need? How many times  did I ignore the Voice that suggested I take a moment and rest?

These days I’m learning to stop the car and head down the quiet walkway. Although I haven’t visited one here in the Smokies, I have made a routine of taking time for myself, for seeking some silence. In a world where technology makes it nearly impossible to disappear for any length of time, we must vigilant in finding time to be still, to be quiet. The constant noise of the world drowns out the voices we need to hear. The voice of God, obviously, grows soft in the midst of worldly chatter, but also other voices that need us to hear them.

When was the last time we stopped to ponder a conversation with a family member: a child, spouse, mother, or father? Maybe we had a chat with a friend that still haunts us on some level because we sensed something wasn’t quite right. Or just maybe, our bodies are asking us for a little silence – for a chance to let our brains rest, to be without responsibilities, music, and conversations.

In taking time for “Quiet Walkways” we allow ourselves a chance to truly find answers and peace in the silence. We find truth in silence, too. Sometimes it’s a truth we don’t want to hear, but the silence can allow us to both hear it and accept it.

So how do we take these hushed detours? We get intentional! Begin now looking for a place that can become your quiet walkway. It could be a nearby park, nature trail, or simply the chair on your front porch. Schedule a time to “walk the trail” and then keep it. Finally,  turn off the phone and music and just listen. Don’t try to come up with answers to problems, just enjoy the silence.

And if God’s voice so chooses to whisper in that silence – keep your lips sealed, so you can hear what He has to say.

Where do you find “quiet walkways” in your life? 

sloppy

adjective – careless and unsystematic; excessively casualth

So many times while the pastor is reading a scripture reference during his sermon, my mind will latch on to a word or phrase.  This phrase jumps of the page, and my brain gears start spinning.  Sometimes it’s because the phrase instigates deeper questions in my heart. Other times, it’s because it fits my current situation perfectly.  Yesterday, the latter reason was the cause for my brain’s kick into gear.

Part of yesterday’s sermon came from 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27 (my version was from The Message).

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.

The words sloppy living leapt out at me. For the past 3 weeks, this is exactly what I’ve been fighting against. No, I haven’t been watching dirty movies, or cursing, or drinkin’ it up (alcohol – that is). But there are so many other areas in our lives where we tend to live sloppily. Let’s name a few:  eating habits, prayer time, television viewing, busyness, exercise/health, bible study, church attendance, free time, etc. Surely, there’s one area in that list that might be sending up a red flag of sloppy living for you.

My problem is life here in the jungle is either run-away train busy or Sunday-afternoon drive slow. Both can lead to sloppy living. On the slow days, it’s easy to sleep in a little later, lolly-gag all day long, watch too many DVDs, stare at Facebook/Twitter/Blogs too long. Suddenly, it’s time for bed and a whole day has been wasted – or in this case, sloppily spent.

On the other hand, the sloppiness is present during locomotive-fast days as well.  Work begins with the sun’s rise and ends well past the moon’s shift-change. If I’m not careful, those days are spent without prayer and time refueling in God’s word. This busyness often gives an excuse to eat sloppy.  It’s so much easier to grab a bag of chips and a Coke when hunger calls than to make a healthier choice. Exercise?  Ha!  That’s means I’d miss even more sleep.

The past three weeks have been an exercise in living well. A mantra keeps playing over and over again in my mind: “God always rewards discipline.” Is this a verse found in the Bible? Nope. Can I pull this truth from a Bible story?  Possibly, but I didn’t. Somewhere along the way in my many readings of books and blogs, the thought just materialized. Even though it’s my thought, I feel like it was God-given because isn’t it just like God’s character to live up to this mantra.

For me it all boils down to effectiveness. When I live sloppily, my life is ineffective for God. Why? Without the discipline of daily exercise, I’m a worse me. If I choose to eat whatever I want – which usually ends up being salsa and chips, brownies, and sweet tea — my body sludges through it’s day. If I skip the daily prayer time or study of scriptures, my spiritual  and mental response to life stinks. And these put together help NO ONE!  I cannot be effective for Christ if I continue to in sloppy living.

Has my discipline over the last three weeks been rewarded?  Enormously!  Have I wanted to take just a split second and live sloppily by making unhealthy choices or being lazy? Yep! Have I slipped up and fallen into the “just this once” trap? Oh sure. BUT….I have gotten up every morning with His “new mercies” and tried once again to live disciplined.

It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about “doing” things to earn the love of God (cause I have that for free). It’s about learning that a disciplined me is capable of being used more by God, of dreaming bigger with God, working harder with less stress, and being happier because of all of it.

Just like the athlete  Paul references in 1 Corinthians, I’m seeking to “giving it all I’ve got.” I want to “run hard for the finish line”  in everything that He calls me to do. I don’t want my “sloppy living” to cause someone to miss their opportunity to know Christ. Have I achieved this discipline in every area my life? Nope, but I’m taking steps in every area to finish the marathon, not the mile.

What’s one area of you life that you feel God calling you to put away the “sloppy living”?