Hello again, seems it’s been a good long while since I’ve entered into my own little cyberspace part of the world. If I’m being honest I have lost my blogging zest of sorts. It seems I’m investing in so many around me I have forgotten my love of writing and tangibly looking at my thoughts that float so seamlessly through and out of my brain. I have thought a lot about this little space while I was away, and I mean A LOT. I love to write and love to share. I’m stopping to share something that is truly Marvelous in My Monday…
I’m linking up with Healthy Diva for ….
My post today I decided is simply to be encouraging, to someone, or anyone out there.
I want you to be encouraged today reader. Read and remind yourself of a world that hides the encouragement, the happiness, under stacks of horrible news stories and deaths and rallies and egos and anger. It’s a hard stressful world, there is proof of that in the worn out ragged looking faces of so many trying and desiring a faster life, before we know it we’re over the edge burnt out and suffering from even physical manifestations of our desires, of our hurts, or of our competitive notions this world today has taught us are all very real things. I’m here to remind you today they are simply not. Don’t believe my friend, that you aren’t worthy of taking a moment today to steal away happiness, joy, and encouragement. You are so very worth it.
I was listening to a sermon today as I ran and spent time on a machine at the gym. As I did my interval training and delighted in the sweat dripping off my brow I listened to the steady words of a pastor of New Spring Church sharing a sermon about serving. I couldn’t keep my mind off several things and the TV which was tuned to a morning news show was vying hard for my attention as well. I was busy minded…
Rewind to 8 years ago, I was 18 and in Africa doing mission work. I lived there and not only spent that summer there but went back for more mission work two years later. I delighted in the work of the Lord and came alive in a new way in Africa. My soul felt on fire I had a zest for the Lord, and you know what, life was slow. It slowed down in a new way in Africa, these people served each other well. They were subsistence farmers living in small villages on the sides of large mountains. Sugarcane was most of the crops grown, sugarcane fields by the thousands grown in lush jungle terrain. The view was absolutely breathtaking, something we americans would save for years to experience on a two week strategically planned vacation where we ate over priced tacos and had way to many plans for so little time leaving and nudging each other saying wish we had more time that went by so fast!
I didn’t live in Africa very long in terms of a full lifetime, but what I did live was the life of a slow ‘take it in’ atmosphere. I breathed in those mountains in a new way, the scenery; yes was breathtaking, but the people around me took my breath away far more often. It’s that slow breath in breath out way of life that has you literally living moment by moment. I found that I was at peace with things I hadn’t ever been at peace with before, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Slowly I danced my way (literally) day by day with these people, we spent time and energy doing chores, cooking, talking, laughing, crying, listening, and through it all I saw my life view change, I had slowed as well.
Flash forward, here I am on that machine again in a gym in Nebraska, so many years later. My mind was; to put it simply, a maniac, jumping from one thing to the next never making a home and never making things find a home in my mind. Nothing was finished and everything was frantic, and thats when it happened.
A breeze came up and a bird flew just at the right time for me to silence the distractions of my own mind and listen into the sermon. “Saved People Serve People, people get saved and they begin to start serving.” I felt God’s presence saying, slow down Jayne, I want you to recognize where your past has brought you. I immediately was able to recognize how busy I had become and how bustling my life was. I hadn’t slowed down in that way in so long. I’ve tried oh how I have tried. But the determiner to my ability to slow down isn’t a place it isn’t always in Africa, its in me and learning how to slow wherever I am. To live slower in my life I need to reach out, I need to encourage others by making it less of me. That’s when I start to notice more things around me, other peoples faces become beautiful mountain scenes. Their smiles light my day even when it’s cloudy. Their laughs slow me to remember the lines in their faces or crinkle of their noses. Slow and steady means I have time for conversation, it means I can look you in the eyes and listen, or stop to give you a hug because you need it. Slow means I live and I serve, I become less of self absorbed super fast and busy ‘woman’ and more of loving, caring, reaching out, and wants to listen to you ‘Jayne’.
Be encouraged, everyone has the opportunity to slow down, it doesn’t take going to Africa, it doesn’t take working out at a gym, it doesn’t take listening to a sermon. Slowing down, serving, for my life I see them going hand in hand. Slowing down looking out into the world, offering a hand, and just simply sitting and being. They are all connected and in our all to often caught up world we don’t find this necessity quite as much as we should. Be encouraged you can, I believe in you.
On a lighter note……If you want to start slowing down, start baking Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread. This deserves a post all it’s own honestly. Its an amazing and intricate process that is helping me learn of slowing down in a whole new realm.
Love Love Love
Do you make sourdough bread?