Sustain me.

Sustainable: of, relating to, or being a method of {harvesting or} using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

How do I live so that I’m not completely depleted?  Permanently damaged?

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been living with the imagery of my cup overflowing.  Being filled to the brim and the only way to sustain the contents of that cup are to slow down.  So how do I do that?  Like, actually slow down when life seems to be moving at warp speed?  Here are a few of my methods.  This is not a prescription, by any means, but a context for how I’ve been able to function.  Just a few thoughts and nothing is earth-shattering or anything new to most of you, but just a little glimpse into my daily operations as of late…

  1. Plan– I know. Most of you aren’t surprised in the least that this is step one.  It really is all about intentionality. Taking that time to plan out the things in your life that cause you stress. Dinner plans make you have melt-down-into-a-crying-mess-in-the-middle-of-the-kitchen-floor meltdowns? Take some time over your weekend and plan them. Get out your cookbooks, favorite cooking blogs, your planner and (this is key, I think!) something that makes the process more enjoyable–coffee, wine, chocolate–and plan. Utilize an online meal planning tool like Plan to Eat to make the process even quicker. I’ve planned meals in a matter of minutes once taking a few hours to get my account up and running in a fully functional manner (recipes added with their ingredients, etc). What else stresses you out?  For me, it’s my wardrobe. Even with implementing neutrals this month, I’m still stressed each morning in front of the mirror. So on Sundays after I’ve planned my meals, I literally write down in my planner what I’m going to wear each day. Definitely eliminates (most) of the morning crisis in front of my closet when I “just can’t find anything to wear.”
  2. Slow down (when you can)–So in between meetings, car pool, changing diapers, changing laundry, making those meals you’ve planned, trying to fit in exercise, our lives run on fast-forward most of the time. For those of us who work full time, Monday-Fridays are a bear. For those raising kidlets, there never seems to be a break as weekends are quality time with those kids, but also time in which your attention is constantly demanded. Find time to implement some rhythms that allow you to slow down both weekly and daily. Sabbath keeping is important to me and I’ve made it a point to make Sundays feel different than the rest of our week. No watches. Special coffee mugs. Silence, which means no music blasting from our record player or the iPad.  No screen time–tv, iPad, phones (okay, more like limited–still learning on this one). If you want some thoughts on Sabbath keeping, be sure to stay tuned for an upcoming review of Matthew Sleeth’s newest book 24/6 (ps–this Kindle edition is $2.99 right now!  Not sure how long it will last!) For a daily rhythm, check out a quick devotional like Jesus Calling. If finding time alone before the kidlets wake, get involved with the practice of getting up before they do and get involved with accountability through Hello Mornings or Good Morning Girls. I’ve found that accountability here is key.
  3. You are not alone–Find a friend in a similar season of life and carve out time to talk about this. Whether it’s kids, a busy season in ministry, a job that is frustrating or more serious situations that you just need to talk and pray through–life is about community. Having some time set apart on a consistent basis to talk through that has been key for me to process my overflowing cup.

What are some ways you’ve learned to slow down?  I’d love to know some tools that work for you!



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