Friday, February 1, 2008

LeeAnne: A Break from Busyness

From LeeAnne Beres, Earth Ministry Executive Director:

As I was thinking about I would do for my Lenten practice this year, a zillion thoughts flew through my head. I could give up meat, alcohol or sweets; I could pledge to take more public transportation; I could turn off the TV.

All of these would be good for me and many of them would be good for the Earth, two of the goals I set for myself this season. Options abounded and I began to pursue each one with my characteristic zeal to have everything thought through and planned out well in advance (just ask the Earth Ministry staff).

But as my mind raced, I became aware that what I really needed to do was stop and reflect on the meaning and purpose of Lent, which is to make room to listen to the voice of God in our lives. This realization made the linking of “goals” and “Lenten journey” a bit of an oxymoron! And as sad is it may sound, I know that my hectic schedule and perfectionist tendencies have left little room for God to be heard lately.

My personal addiction is to busyness, and I have been running from meeting to meeting, event to event, always juggling priorities and trying my best to meet everyone else’s needs while neglecting the most important things of all – my health and my relationship with God.

As Rev. Annie Ruth Powell said in a sermon entitled “A Charge to the Sisterhood: Love Yourself”, taking care of ourselves is the first step to having a loving relationship with God and other people. She describes a triangle with God at the top, the self on one side, and the neighbor on the other, each connected to the other. When one side of the triangle is weak, all three relationships suffer.

We are commanded in the Bible to love God with all our heart, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, but as Rev. Powell asks, “given our human brokenness, especially among women, can we assume the presence of self-love” that makes the other relationships possible?

As an immensely practical person with a strong service ethic, I have spent far more time on the self-neighbor relationship than the self-God relationship, and this lack of self care has taken its toll. This Lent, I intend to stop, take a deep breath, and give myself time to slow down and hear the small, still voice of God that I so often overlook as I cross the next item off my to-do list.

I’ll try to set some realistic boundaries for what I can actually take on, say no a little more, focus on one thing with my full attention rather than frantically multi-tasking, and stop rushing so much.

As a daily practice, I’m going to reinstate the hour-long walks that I used to take each weekday morning before my schedule got out of control. I would walk and pray and feel the presence of God in the glory all of creation, and it filled my soul. I long for that connection again, and know that the time is right to re-forge that covenant with myself, and with God.

My morning walks will be a time of rest, rejuvenation, and reflection – good for the mind, body, and spirit. And for at least an hour each day, a break from busyness will mean I will ultimately have the ability to restore the balance of my relationships between self, God, and neighbor, and allow me to be open to the opportunity of new revelation. And in the end, it will indeed be good for both me and the Earth!

Next installment:
A little more Mary, a little less Martha

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree. We get so busy sometimes that we lose sight of what is most important. Thanks for the reminder.