Monday, April 23, 2007

Identify What Restores You, Then Do It!

DH and I recently spent nine days in the Great Smoky Mountains, a trip that reminded me once again of what truly restores my soul.
It's taken me many years, but I've finally learned that being outdoors in God's Creation is what refreshes me most: woods, streams, lakes, gardens, mountains, hollows, coves, seashores -- as long as it's outdoors and relatively untouched by human hands (and away from the crowds) it will refresh my soul like little else.

For the longest time I thought that because other people were rejuvenated by things like service projects, getting together with friends, extended worship times, inspiring music, journaling, going to conferences, taking workshops, etc., that I had to be, too. And I tried. I really tried.

But those things, though I was better for them, drained me even more.

Then I realized that I needed to listen to how God wired me. And God wired me with a deep appreciation for all things outdoors; He made me so that I need the outdoors.

Not everyone is wired that way, and that's okay.

But I am.

And I'm finally feeling free enough in grace to make time for my "nature fix." I'm listening to the restoration song God has implanted in my heart, and I'm finding my soul restored.

What refreshes you?

It could be, like it is for me, reconnecting with the Great Outdoors. But it could be other things, too:
  • creativity (doing art work or hand work or crafts, cooking, writing)
  • music (listening to music, playing an instrument, participating in corporate worship)

  • relationships (being with people)
  • learning (studying, attending workshops, listening to teaching)

  • helping (serving others)

  • physical activity (swimming, hiking, bowling, kayaking, biking, working out)

  • other people's stories (reading biographies, listening to others)

  • spiritual disciplines (extended time in prayer, meditation, Bible study, worship, etc.)

  • quiet (just turning off the noise of everyday life

  • changing your pace

  • changing your environment

These are just a few; I'm sure you could name others.

The point is this: learn what truly restores you (not what others think should restore you), and then plan time to nurture that part of you. Make time for that which rejuvenates your spirit and encourages your soul.

You (and others, especially those you serve) will be better for it.

'Til next time,