Originally published Tuesday, 01 August 2017.
As our summer comes to a close and right before we go back-to-school shopping my family and I took one more trip to the beach. For the last 25 summers my family and I have visited Emerald Isle, NC. As a child my cousins and I would play all day at the beach, in the water, in the sand, and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Those times were so sweet and most of all simple. Just a bathing suit and the ocean were all we needed to enjoy all that life had to offer. And it’s crazy now seeing our own children out in the open waves enjoying the simplicity of beach life.
It’s all been a great reminder for me. A few weeks ago I shared with you the last time I had an ugly cry. Overwhelm and stress had got the best of me and I just had to let it out and it was just what I needed. And from the comments I’m not the only one who needs an ugly cry every now and then.
After that, summer came and things slowed down a lot for me and not by accident. I felt the Lord leading me to pause so I made some intentional decisions to do just that. It’s been in this pause and stillness that God as done some serious restoration on my soul. And it’s not always been in my prayer corner but also in the mundane and everyday life; taking a walk with the kids, late night conversations with my husband, and laughing a lot. I’ve said no to thoughts of guilt and shame and have resisted feelings of insecurity to maintain my peace. I’ve been saying yes to the things that feed my soul. Even more, I’ve unapologetically said no to the things that rob my joy and harm my soul.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. – Psalms 23:2-3 ESV
Most of all slowing down has enabled me to see God’s presence in my life on a deeper level. Trust me when I tell you there is nothing better for your soul than the presence of God.
Often times however, we miss God in the hustle and busyness of life. We may feel like God’s forgotten us, that He’s not here, that He hasn’t heard our prayers but those are just feelings. False feelings that we tend to project on God, especially when we’re tired and weary.
The truth that goes beyond our feelings is this: God is always with us whether we’re crying at the kitchen sink, taking a nap on the couch, driving to a job we hate, or breaking up a fight between the kids.
If we can make the conscious effort to recognize God even in the mess and craziness of life we protect our souls from missing out on what we need most: Him. When we recognize the presence of God in our day-to-day lives our souls don’t have to run on empty until Sunday. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of running on fumes.
So I’ve made this decision: I’m not waiting until next year’s beach trip to restore my soul.
This peace and freedom is just too good to get loss in deadlines and adult responsibilities. I’m taking this increased awareness of God’s presence with me through the school year, through the obligations, and through the challenges because honestly, that’s where we really need it most. Wouldn’t you agree? I know you do. So I’m challenging you to do the same.
Instead of doubting yourself choose to trust God is ordering everyone of your steps.
Instead of feeling guilty about what you don’t do, remind yourself of what you can and have been doing.
Instead of thinking how behind you are in life remember how far you’ve come.
Go to coffe with friends, read a good book, take the last minute trip, make the leap of faith, take time to be with the people that really get and know you and still love you anyways, find what sets your soul on fire and do it over and over even if no one ever sees and you never get paid. And above all; live free, whole, and loved.
Now I’d love to know, what recent decision have you made to better your soul? I can’t wait to chat more in the comments!
If this post was encouraging to you please be sure to share it with a friend. You never know who might need some Beloved Encouragement today.
P.S. Just a few reminders:
1.) Take the time you need for some soul care this year’s Beloved Women’s Conference! This one day event is filled with dynamic speakers, fun entertainment, breakout sessions and more to help you refresh your soul, enjoy your life, and empower your purpose. Click here to register before this event sells out!
2.) Shout out to Chrystal Evans Hurst for today’s writing prompt that inspired this post. Chrystal is a wife, mom, and author of “She’s Still There: Rescuing the Girl in You“. As a part of her “She’s Still There” rescue team I’ve had the chance to start reading the book and I’m loving every word. As a stay-at-home mom who often finds herself lost in motherhood I am in need of rescuing from time to time. Needless to say, this book was right on time. If you’ve had a recent ugly cry or are also in need of a rescue I highly suggest checking out her book here!
3.) Introducing the Official Beloved Women Mobile App! Start your day with our daily devotionals, find practical wisdom for everyday Christian living, and go deeper in God's Word with our video Bible Studies. You'll find all the encouragement you need to grow your faith with the free Beloved Women Mobile app now available for download in the Apple App (https://goo.gl/Qtjw9Y) and Google Play (https://goo.gl/AANov9) Stores!