grace

Replenish: A New Look at Relaxation

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You know what I do when I need to relax? I find the most smile-inducing, soul-satisfying, energizing ways to recharge myself. I then save all of those ways on Pinterest, and spend the next 3 hours glued to my screen.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s really beautiful, organized Pinterest boards. They are a fun way to use so many of my skills: organization, creativity, and a desire to connect and share. I’d love to stop there. But they also use my manic control freak, my thirst to always present the best image of myself, and my tendency to procrastinate through doing something that feels pseudo-productive. That last list isn’t quite as feel-good as photos of painted mason jars and polka-dotted flats are supposed to be. I’m only now realizing how Pinterest does not replenish, but replace.

Instead of savoring a piping mug of coffee in the Polish Pottery I own, I’ll scroll through 50 pages of new mugs. Instead of reading the books I have piled on every shelf, I’ll click on photos of more interesting reads. Instead of having fun getting dressed with my most whimsical dresses, I’ll favorite dozens of items that are just more fun.

But wait! I say. I’m just highly visual! Besides, Pinterest is just a creative outlet!

Honestly, yes, Pinterest is a creative outlet. But like so many things in life, I have twisted it into serving a whole other purpose. I rarely allow myself to simply become inspired, save each idea, then unplug to infuse daily life with these new nuggets of wisdom. Oh, no. Instead, I spend hours upon hours trying to find a way to look more put together, have a more perfect house, and make more out of my life.

The funny thing about focusing on more is that I end up getting less.

More time planning how to make my life change for the better ends up with less time actually making any changes. I get stuck forever in the cycle of searching and re-organizing, but never getting to the point of doing. 

Do you ever feel stuck? Even worse, have you ever felt like you’ve finally found the answer to change, only to realize a week later that you still haven’t moved an inch? There’s a fine, fine line between replenishing your soul and keeping yourself running to never notice the emptiness.

Emptiness doesn’t need to be filled but felt. Anxiety doesn’t need you to run but to rest. Weariness doesn’t need to be silenced but soothed.

You know how to stop the cycle of replacing simple joy with a lust for perfection? Understand your worth. You were not made to measure up to perfection. You are called to serve, but never to run on empty. Listen to those heart cries. You don’t need to feel guilty–trust those longings to think, to read, and to replenish.

Matthew 11:28-30 speaks the grace to, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” You were never created to run the race of playing for perfectionism. There is a difference between serving the kingdom and depleting your temple.

True replenishment starts when you say, “I’m done.”  

I’m done with distracting myself chasing a perfection that will never happen, and I’m going to allow myself the time and energy to experience the things that truly, deeply replenish me. No matter how tired, how empty, how far I’ve fallen–I’m going to do the next best thing, and find grace and rest in that choice.

This has meant less Netflix, less social media, less working out due to obligation, less life-measuring, less obligation and resentment, and less of a coffee slamming, last-minute-alarm lifestyle.

That all makes room for more reading, more journal time, more feeling, more meeting up for coffee, more simple gratitude, more unconditional loving, and more living.

Today, I checked my email. Then I logged out of my social media accounts, and lit a candle. I started and finished another book. I wrote down some new ideas. I did some coloring. I caught up on my favorite YouTube channels. And honestly? I feel deeply, wholly replenished.

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Does it even count as relaxing if you don’t have tea?

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