Thursday, February 28, 2013
Dancing Flowers and Discipline
One chronic sufferer of an exhausting disease is a girlfriend who found out about my illness and did even more than say, "I'm sorry." Knowing my husband had positioned my bed enabling me to see outside since I couldn't participate in the springtime weather, she sent me a little stuffed daisy for my windowsill. She wrote a brief note explaining that she understood the need for 'pick-me-ups' when bedridden and expressing her hope that her gift would help me smile.
I wrote her back with thanks and explained how recently, I had fallen in love with the cute little dancing flowers that use solar energy to cheerfully 'dance' back and forth on my kitchen sill. After I was back in the saddle, her gift took up residence among them-a constant reminder to pray for those with conditions of exhaustion. It's ironic and maybe a bit amazing to discover that these people are so often those who make a constant habit of doing for others.
It's also an amazing thing to find out how much of our exhaustion stems from, or is at least contributed to by one to five roots:
~Improper eating habits
~Overextending our activities
~Lack of sleep
~and Taking on Worry.
And at the cost of sounding naggish, I have to say that I have noticed, at least within myself, that all these things come from LD.
A Learning Disability?
A Lack of Discipline.
Because eating properly may cost more, but having to pay less to doctors and dentists costs much less. And there are any number of sites right here on the web that teach us how to eat better for less. But to do so requires a measure of discipline. Cost effectiveness is very much a part of traditional eating-after all, it attempts to eliminate costly, empty-nutrient processed foods from our menu-but it does require forward planning and preparation. And IF we 'do it rightly', we find it is, indeed, do-able. So, if we're honest, eating better can cost a lot less than we claim.
It takes discipline to discern between activities beneficial for us and activities that drain our souls. That doesn't mean that tiring activities are bad, but they are if they aren't meant for us. Sometimes, that means testing the waters, being honest with others right up front, letting them know that we are getting our toes wet prior to giving a committment to swimming. This allows freedom to say, "You know, it's just not working after all. I need to stop this." The Bible tells us to count costs and I think that goes beyond asking Jesus to pilot our lives and extends into most corners of our lives. I know, there are those true emergencies, but sometimes those who know our accommodating hearts tend to turn their situations into our emergencies. If this is you, you may need to grow a few new things in your garden: Discernment and Backbone...and backbone actually translates into discipline...the discipline to say, "No".
Oh, and I doubt very seriously I need to say another word about discipline in regard to exercise...
If you're like me, you cherish the 'after-hours'...that sweet space of time after the day's work is as complete as it can be, (for me, this means 'coming to a good stopping point'), and before bed when the world's demands on us go away, or at least, diminish. The worst thing we can do, and yet many of us do anyway, is try to extend that time past a healthy hour because we want to indulge in the bliss of 'no responsibility'. Sadly, this error in discipline depletes our store of energy for tomorrow. If you don't have another little space of time to grab a little extra shut-eye during the day, this is bound to create stress of body, mind and spirit...and you will, you will take it out in one way or another, on those you want to serve with love. Later, this will bring mental and emotional regret...Can you see the ripple effect a small lack of discipline can set in motion?
In regard to that little nap space, however...if you do find the day has afforded you this luxury, indulge! Even with an adequate amount of sleep the night before, this is a great way to recharge. Trusting God comes into play when we have such opportunities. Remember, He sees all time...the past, present and future. He knows if you're going to need an extra store of energy. One of my consistent prayers is that He will order my time. When He gives me the gift of space for napping, I have learned to trust Him and take it.
I never regret it.
Perhaps the hardest thing of all is to discipline ourselves to disengage from worry. Again, we have Biblical instruction to let go of it. This is one of those things that's a lot easier to preach than practice, but to be the best we can be...save energy, save beauty, save kindness...we have to, have to, have to let go of worry. There are a couple of old adages that encourage this: "Let go and let God," and "Leave it at the altar." Both are good, but leaving it at the altar is the best way to let go and let God...We need to discipline ourselves to think on other matters after we've prayed and asked God to handle it. Trust that He will show us what to do or bring about the doing Himself...There are times when He'll say, "Be still and know that I am God." This can be so difficult for us 'do-ers'! But I've experienced God's hand working in my own life several times from this angle. It takes a lot of repetitive practice to get away from worry. It may help to have a list of other, better things where we can turn our focus.
And finally, although not listed above, we would all do well in remembering to allow ourselves enjoyment of the little things each day. That's really how this entire post began. I was enjoying my dancing flowers and thought it might be nice to give myself, and you, a break from food writing. For me, my dancing daisies come into play regarding little daily delights. For you, it may be a myriad of other joy-givers.
..."I hope you dance!"