Porch #67 * Nudges Toward Wholeness

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Hello again, dear over-our-heads over-wrought friends (or those who've been there, done that)!

Welcome back to the final piece of our little burnout series.  If you missed the first two parts, here you go:

Today's nudge toward wholeness could look like some kind of to-do list ... and the danger is thinking if we check all the boxes all will be well.  But life isn't linear and most of these practices or rhythms take time to cultivate and bear fruit.  

Consider these suggestions as hugs of hope, doses of sanity, and nudges toward wholeness.  

* And thanks to my dear friend, Debby Hudson, for these soothing, inspirational images.

Stop ignoring what is true about where you are.  Speak it right out loud.  Write it down.  Hearing your weary voice utter raw truth and seeing it scrawled in black and white allows you to name what ails you, see how it's impacting your reality, and offers you a wide open invitation to choose your next steps.

I am  _____________  and it's left me feeling  _______________.  I am making the choices to  _______________,  _______________,  and  _______________  so my body, mind, and soul can be strengthened. 

You're craving comfort food, but all those carbs and sugar will do nothing but drag your already taxed body lower.  Surround yourself with the real stuff like fruit and vegetables and eggs and groceries that don't have an ingredient list that's as long as your arm.  Display the healthy stuff front and center in your fridge and cupboards.  Put the junk somewhere inaccessible to you.  Aim for 6 - 8 glasses of water each day.

Move your body.  Get outdoors.  Walk or bike or hike or run after the dog.  Stretch or dance or lift some weights.

Sleep is not an option.  It's imperative, it's life-giving, it's healing.  Curl up and take an afternoon nap.  Or go to bed a half hour earlier.  If this is an ongoing challenge, there's probably a medical component going on and your doctor should know this is plaguing you.

How is stress impacting your body?

Please don't allow people to send you on a guilt trip or make you feel like you're obligated to give extensive reasons for the choices you make.  Wisdom is knowing when to say yes and when to say no.  When to take a sabbatical, when to get a replacement, when to decline an attractive invitation or a long-awaited opportunity. 

It's easy to become so immersed in tending to everyone and everything that we unknowingly begin to neglect our own precious bodies, minds, and souls.  Yes, we're called to love others as we love ourselves {Matthew 22:39}, but we often forget that the 'love ourselves' mandate gives us the grace and the fuel to effectively reach out to those around us.

Where do you need to set up some boundaries?

We're obsessed, we're addicted.  Social media's many attractive tentacles can easily breed an exhausting spin cycle.  Comparison, dissatisfaction, jealousy, FOMO {fear of missing out}, and feeling 'less than' all combine to create an endless toxic striving which can easily morph into an unhealthy anxiety.  Our society has created a culture where we are always on, always available.  There is no rest for our minds, leaving us with no space just to be still. 

What would unplugging look like for you? 

Solitude that feeds our thirsty souls is one thing.  Isolation is a whole other ball game. Morphing into a hermit benefits no one and invites depression to come join you.  Begin to re-create focused time with those you love.  Chances are they've been missing you.  Tell people what you need ... it might just be an occasional quiet companion to keep you company.  

Who are you missing?

Pray yourself awake in the morning and pray yourself to sleep at night.  Unpack your heavy load with the One who has borne your griefs and carried your sorrows.  And in the process, pray for another soul.  You won't have to look far to find someone in even worse shape than you are.

Read a simple Psalm, sitting reflectively with the Psalmist and the One who ministers to our deepest hurts.  Or check out Elijah's story of spiritual battle, physical depletion, and emotional exhaustion ... and glean from his recovery story in 1 Kings 18 - 19.

Keep a little gratitude journal, writing down three simple things you're thankful for each day.  Counting your blessings and giving thanks is not overrated.  It's a lifeline ... and has the power to refocus you when anxiety and fear come to call. 

Music touches the deepest part of who you are, your soul.  Pull together your favorites, maybe create your own playlist.  Start singing again.

Which soul care practice is calling your name? 

We've lost the beauty of this lifeline along the way, either looking at this biblical mandate as far too rigid or unapplicable for today.  Two of my favorite iron-sharpen-iron women talk about this delightful, life-giving invitation ... Emily Freeman and Ruth Haley Barton are the real deal.  Listen in and download the transcript right here

What is God inviting you to?

I'm praying as each of us consider which of these these hugs of hope, doses of sanity, and nudges toward wholeness we need to discover ... or re-claim ... or share with others.  And, as always, I'm looking forward to hearing your stories and suggestions.