When I look over my current prayer list and think about the many different circumstances that my friends, family and I are dealing with it can become overwhelming:
- Horrendous, ongoing and painful health issues
- Loss of income, jobs and financial worries
- Broken and deeply damaged relationships
- Challenges and changes in life and both unrest & fear about the future
- Dealing with the gut wrenching pain of death & dying
- Overall exhaustion, weariness and stress
Can you relate to any of this happening in or around your life today? Yes, life is hard.
Even as I sit in the comfort of a lounge couch on a cruise ship smoothly sailing over the open seas I am well aware of the depth of despair all around me as well as my personal current life challenges. And yet I have peace in my mind, joy in my heart and satisfaction in my soul as I enjoy this amazing time of refreshment that is like a tall ice cold glass of fresh lemonade on a searing hot summer day.
It is because life is hard and often full of overwhelming exhaustion, worry and stress that we need to be refreshed regularly and the harder life is at any given moment the greater relief that refreshment brings. This cruise however will all too soon come to an end and while the extended time away has been a blessing (see Times of Refreshing Part 1), I know that we all need regular times of refreshment in the midst of the craziness and often hardness of life.
What brings you regular refreshment? Have you ever made a list of those things that refresh your spirit, nourish your soul and bring relief from the struggles of
life? It would likely look different for each of us as we each have individual tastes, personalities and bents as well as different cultures and backgrounds. As you think about what brings you refreshment, let me share with you my personal list:
- Prayer – for me there is nothing better to bring peace than simply talking to God and listening to him speak to me through His still small comforting voice. Now I can pray at anytime but if I truly get time alone to commune with the Lord….it refreshes my soul & lifts my spirit like no other. (Acts 3:19 – “times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord”)
- Praise – I get completely lost in a perfect heavenly place when I sing praises to my Lord – it might be in church on Sunday, in the shower, on a walk or in my car driving with the volume turned all the way up in my CD player – but praise and worship always does an amazingly divine thing in my heart and life!
- My morning coffee – especially if I get to actually sit down and enjoy it while reading my daily devotions. For me coffee is a relaxing experience not a “buzz” (really! I can drink Espresso at 11pm at night and go right to bed…in fact I actually think it puts me to sleep…strange I know)
- Afternoon Tea – a beautiful china tea cup along with delicious Paris tea and some mouth-watering cookies or scones listening to classical music nourishes my body and my soul. Whether I am alone with a good book or enjoying the conversation of my girls it is a perfect respite in daily life.
- Walking in a beautiful place – now for some of you daily exercise brings you refreshment and that is great! I however am not one of those people…but taking a walk in beauty does do that for me. Just this morning I walked over a mile on the deck of the ship looking out at the massive ocean, rocky shoreline and occasionally seeing a porpoise splash through the waves. Now that was refreshing! (and yesterday we went on an amazing hike in Ketchikan)
- Sleep – yes just simply sleeping in comfort and without interruption (quite an accomplishment if you are a mommy) for seven or eight hours straight is often all that is needed to be refreshed. Sounds easy and yet….
- Touching – one of my “love languages” is physical touch so snuggling in bed with my toddlers, walking hand in hand with my daughters, cuddling & kissing on the couch with my love and warm loving hugs from dear friends and family all refresh my heart & soul
- Massages – my all time favorite way to check out for an hour…if only I had more money (trying to convince one of my girls to become a massage therapist) Of course I must tell you that my amazing husband does give me a foot massage almost every night of my life…I am blessed!
- Hot Showers & Hot Tubs – for me there is something about hot water that clears my mind. Since we don’t have a hot tub (on my dream list) the showers work on occasion (it is a rare thing where I can actually take an entire shower without someone needing something…but that day will come all too quickly when I will no longer be interrupted so I try not to let it bother me)
- Candlelight & Fire Glow – If you have ever been to our house for dinner, you know that low lights and candles are a “staple”. It is because candlelight for me brings everything down a notch. All the craziness or loud noise of the day seems to settle down under the glow of the candles. If I ever need to relax I find that of I turn off the lamps and light a few candles I feel the tension releasing. Of course a glowing fire in the winter, soft music, a warm blanket and a good book is almost instant refreshment(especially if I am sitting next to Dan)
- Lunch with a Friend – I am blessed with a dozen friends who I regularly enjoy a lunch or coffee date with. They are uplifting, encouraging, passionate people who both renew & refresh me. I always come away from these times with great joy and fulfillment. (and so yes, I schedule them regularly)
- Date Night – When I wake up & look at the calendar that says – “Date Night”, I instantly feel excited and look forward to a night of perfect relaxation & refreshment. There is nothing better for me than a night out with the man who is not only my love and my partner for life but truly my best friend. The deep conversations, the connection and the love shared fills me to overflowing. Falling asleep at night after praying with this man is also one of the most satisfying & refreshing moments in my day.
- The Beach – this is my place of pure delight and refreshment. Of course if you know me at all, you already are well aware of this! The sand in my toes, the crashing of the waves, the breathtaking sunsets, the exhilarating walks, the gentle breezes…I love it all. The sights, the sounds & the smells of the sea! Thankfully I can be there in a 2 hour drive from my front door as well as finding a true “refreshment & renewal” beach retreat where I actually get to live there for a month each year. (Lord willing)
Wow! What a list….even as I was writing it all down I was amazed at the number of ways (and I even forgot to include dark chocolate, writing, flowers and album making on my list of things that bring me refreshment!) that I have on a regular basis to be refreshed and renewed even in the midst of “normal” life (ie: not on an amazing refreshing Alaskan Cruise with my love that included just about everything on the above list). And I am sure that your list is or will soon be just as plentiful.
If you are in the midst of life being hard or you are feeling overwhelmed with worry, exhaustion or stress…take some time out today or tomorrow or this weekend to do something to refresh your mind, your soul and your spirit. Let the Lord touch your life and His perfect peace fill you to overflowing in the midst of your challenging circumstances.
Some scriptures that may encourage & inspire you as you seek to be refreshed –
- “Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs & do not forget to thank Him for His answers. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your heart & mind in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7
- “You will keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on You,Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
- “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:1-5
- Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31
May you be richly blessed with “times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord”.
If you want to post a comment and share some of the things that refresh you…we would all love to hear!