The month of December is all about giving yourself permission to slow down and then following through on this permission - even during the most chaotic time of the year.
The last post talked about granting yourself permission to slow down. This post will focus on putting this permission into action.
Allowing yourself the time to slow down is not just a nice gesture - it is absolutely the most essential part of this holiday season.
Not giving yourself the time to slow down and breathe puts you on the fast track to becoming a hot mess.
Trust me, I know this from personal experience! When I don't slow down, one rude shopper, one whiney child, and one overbearing boss is enough to completely unravel me. And that unraveled Angie is not a pretty sight!
The question is: How do you slow down when life is so busy?
Finding time in your day to pause is not about going off on some grand adventure, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
While vacations are amazing and needed, you do not need one in order to slow down.
Did you catch that? Vacations are not the answer.
Rather, finding pause in the day-to-day monotone of life is what your tired soul needs.
And this pause is not about spending hours watching TV shows or scrolling through Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram. It is about turning your eyes upward, and resting in God's presence.
Here are a few ways that I find pause to sit at God's feet. I pray a few will resonate with you as well!
This one I talk about a lot, but it is worth mentioning over and over again. Giving God your first is all about giving Him your first thoughts, your first glances, and your first words. It is about praying to Him, reading the Bible or a devotional, and asking Him for guidance throughout the day.
There is no magic formula to doing this. It just requires action. However, I have found a few practical and free ways to give God your first.
The First 5 app is a perfect way to start your morning. Each day, a new devotion is offered, along with the corresponding bible verses and chapters. I love to read the verses/chapters first before reading through the devotion that matches the reading.
If you want to add another layer into giving God your first, I encourage you to spend some time journaling about what God is teaching you in the scripture reading. What verses speak to you? What verses do you want to meditate on throughout the day? What is God trying to teach you?
Giving God my first each morning by reading the Bible and journaling is how I hear God speak to me.
Another way I love to quiet my soul is to meet God on my yoga mat.
I know that yoga has a background that many do not accept and agree with. While I understand the fear that holds many back from practicing yoga (based on its early beginnings), I also can attest that Holy Yoga is all about putting God in the center of movement. It is about using scripture and prayer to meet Jesus, while you breathe through movements, gaining flexibility and strength as you practice.
What I love most about yoga is that I get to be filled with God's truth while intentionally taking deep and healing breathes; breathes that allow me to slow down.
And you know what I need this time. I need to be filled with His truths throughout the day and I need to breathe. All too often I find myself holding my breathe, increasing the stress and anxiety in my body.
I would love for you to try meeting Jesus on your yoga mat.
I have a very dear friend, Maria, who is a Holy Yoga instructor. A while back, Maria graciously developed a slow yoga flow for my followers. This flow is perfectly executed before bedtime. Not only will you meet Jesus at the end of your exhausting day, but you will find the space you need to do some deep breathing as you exhale the stressors of the day while inhaling Jesus' grace and love.
When I'm not able to take Maria's classes in person, I love to follow Caroline Williams on Youtube. She has many videos you can choose from, but two of my favorites are her quick morning and evening yoga flows.
No yoga experience is necessary. All you need is an open heart and a willingness to invite Jesus into your practice.
There is nothing quiet as relaxing as quieting your mind through music.
When you take away the spoken words, the beauty of the melodies that give life to a song radiates out. I can't explain it other than it provides me with great comfort. Between the soft melody and the unspoken truths, my once anxious heart melts into God's hands.
Give them a try as you work to find stillness in your day.
Friends, as you walk (or run) into the month of December, remember that the reason we celebrate Christmas is not for the gift giving or the decorations, but for the birth of our Lord and Savior. While the world can so easily push us into the need to get a lot accomplished, let's allow our hearts and minds to pause several times throughout the day to look up to heaven and breathe in God's grace and love.
You see, God wants our hearts more than He wants our cookies.
Praying you through,
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