Thursday, January 27, 2011


v. shift·ed, shift·ing, shifts
1. To exchange (one thing) for another of the same class: shifted assignments among the students.
2. To move or transfer from one place or position to another.
3. To alter (position or place).
4. To change (gears), as in an automobile.

To exchange, to move, to transfer to alter, to change.  Sometimes we can do these actions automatically.  Other times it's SOOO hard to shift, especially when it's about our thoughts and habits--patterns that are ingrained in the way we operate during the hours of each day.

In the Soul Restoration class I'm taking, I'm realizing that I have some really bad habits, like focusing on worry and replaying events that make me feel unhappy about myself.  The more I concentrate on this, the more I become a worried, self-critical person.  

As I realize how much time I devote to my stewin' and brewin', I've know I need to SHIFT my habits of worry.  When I catch myself starting up, I have to STOP and turn my thoughts, shift my thoughts, into a different direction.  I can think of a task I want to finish, focus on being mentally present with my son, recall scripture, listen to a song I love, even change what I'm doing if possible to get into a different environment and break up that train of thought.  I love this quote from the class,

Do not give any more energy to things that you want to be free from (Brave Girls Club).

Very wise!  So, as I'm trekking through the wintry Chicago ice and snow (not so easy with a wiggly toddler, can I tell you?), I'm also remembering to be intentional about the kinds of thoughts I let my mind--and my soul--spend time on throughout the day.

4-5Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!  6-7Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
 8-9Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. 
Philipians 4:4-8 The Message

Monday, January 10, 2011

Soul Restoration

I'm feeling very excited about the next several weeks.  Through blogland, I heard about the Brave Girls Club based out of Idaho and discovered their online course called Soul Restoration.  Starting tomorrow, I'll be joining with many other brave girls to make new discoveries about ourselves, striving to live fully as the women we were created to be.  I'll have the opportunity to create projects that express the truths I'm learning along the way.  I'm not an artist like some of the participants are, but I absolutely love to dabble around with paper, fabric, glue, get the idea.   Because I've been teaching for so long, this is a chance for me to spend time doing something that isn't directly for my students. While teaching was incredibly important for me too, I'm glad to try something  a little different.  I'm also eager to see what I learn about myself throughout the class.

I'm also dipping into some "soul time" in trying to integrate some spiritual disciplines into my life.  Thinking back to my previous post, I'm aware that I need to unplug from media distractions and not get hooked into spending too many hours in front of one screen or another.  So I'm "unplugging" from some of those outlets to spend more time in other endeavors. 

The second discipline is tough for a lot of us...self-care.  Initially I dismissed this discipline, thinking that I get to the gym each week and am spending some time at home with my son.  Rather shallow view of the true meaning of self-care.  In reading the Spiritual Discipoines Handbook:  Practices that Transform Us  by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, I LOVED her perspective on this area.  Her words:

We are gifts of God.  His Spirit lives in us.  And we are to receive the divine love that takes residence in our bodies.  We are to take it in and let it form us into a place of prayer...Receiving this love into our bodies births the ability to give love and forgiveness to ourselves and others.

I hadn't thought of self-care in this light.  By caring for my mind, body, soul, and spirit, I'm creating a place for God's love to flourish for myself and overflow out to others.  Do I think healthy thoughts about myself during the day?  Do I allow my mind and body to be overwhelmed with nerves from anxiety or tension from an impatient spirit? Or do I open myself up to receive God's love and Truth about me, living content and at peace with the life He has given to me?  Do I devote my time to dwelling on thoughts that uplift and encourage, seeking solutions and not wallowing in self-pity or anger?  Caring for myself may include rest, proper nutrition, and exercise for my physical body, to be sure.  It also includes taking care of my mind, soul, and spirit so that I'm creating a place of love for myself and others.

Cheers to God, myself, and a new adventure with other Brave Girls!  Trek on, ladies...