Small Changes to Care for Ourselves Well

“You don’t seem so drained,” he says. I pause, take a sip of my tea. It really does work, I think to myself. Why had a deprived myself of my morning routine?

November is my one year anniversary at my job. After 17 years working from home, I thought I’d adjust to an office position easily, but my energy drained along with my intentions for 2022. Intention is my word 2022, so I deeply felt a weighing heaviness from incompletions.

I’d become tired – all the time.

I ‘d also dropped my morning routine of devotions, writing, and setting my day. Silly, because I know a morning routine can increase energy, productivity and positivity.

Each morning, as we face the page, we meet ourselves. The pages give us a place to vent and a place to dream. They are intended for no eyes but our own.” Julia Cameron, The Miracle of Morning Pages

So, I recently unburied my spiral notebook to do (again) what Julia Cameron has penned your “morning pages,” that is “a place to vent and dream, and a place to remember all that is good in my world.”

Through my morning pages I recognized that I was surviving, but not thriving. Check marks on my to-do list would never satisfy my parched soul.

“When we find courage to be still, and to be transparent, we find ourselves found.” Ann Voskamp, The Waymaker Bible Study.

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” C. S. Lewis

Finding Where We Don’t Care for Ourselves Well

So, I dug deeper to expose where I’d made (another) wrong turn to loving myself well and asked:

1. What is your stress level now on scale of 1 to 10?

2. When was your stress lower? What has changed since then?

3. When you look at your task list, what emotions come up?

4. What is your current pace in life? Are you feeling energized to start your day, or is it hard to get out of bed in the morning?

5. What does your ideal day look like?

6. What small change could you make today to free up time and energy?

Is there a change you can make today from surviving towards thriving? It is by loving yourself well that energizes you to pursue God’s calling.

The world needs you.

Linking up with Grace&Truth #TellHisStory Let’sHaveCoffee

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  1. “Each morning, as we face the page, we meet ourselves. The pages give us a place to vent and a place to dream.” I love my early mornings as they are the best part of my day. When I miss them, I feel it and so does everyone around me 🙂

      1. Thank you for the beauty that you always share here, Lynn. Your nature images make me long for my past days of long hikes. But your post and questions here are pointing me to look for the nature right outside my own window where the juncos have just arrived. God has given resting and restoring places for each of us! Blessings to you dear sister!

          1. Thank you so much! And a junco is a small, sparrow-sized bird that is the one bird that migrates here to spend the winter in the upper states, hence it’s nickname the snowbird! It actually migrates north for breeding, maybe somewhere near you? It’s back is dark grey and it’s chest is snow white, with the cutest beady black eyes. I hope you get to see one!

          2. Gosh, just looked them up, and we do have juncos in my area. I see so many sparrows, chickadees, and jays, that I hadn’t notice the juncos among them. I’ll be keeping a look out for them now! Thanks for letting me know about these “snowbirds.”

  2. I can easily see why you’re more drained, Lynn, when you were used to working from home so long. And if I remember correctly, it’s a long commute, too, right? Though my life is slowly paced in comparison, there is nothing like reading the Word and listening to God’s voice to keep us energized. I should write more, but these last couple of years I often feel stuck for some reason… I love the idea of asking ourselves questions. And the last three lines especially speak to me. Thank you so much for the encouragement to learn to thrive instead of survive and to remember the world needs us. And thank you for the photos that breathe so much hope into my spirit! 🙂 Love, hugs, and blessings to you!

    1. I’ve said this before, Trudy, and cannot help to say it again. Your words always bless me here, and at your place when God’s wants you to share your encouragement from His word! I could be reading God’s word more. I am trying out a few podcasts to listen to during my long commute to and from work. I especially enjoy Bonnie Grey’s Breathe podcast. Love and hugs to you as well, my friend.

  3. oh this is so good. your words made me breathe deep. an invitation that makes me smile. in this season of life it’s a continued challenge and necessity. thank you so much, Lynn

  4. I have been retired for over 12 years now, and love the fact that I can still sleep in when I need to and still have as much time as I choose to read the word and pray. If I don’t do it when I first get up, it usually does not get done at all. I live alone so I have no one else to consider when I spend more than a couple of hours most days. I love it, and I find that, though I am not actually writing much, I am “writing” in my head for my next books. It comes as I pray, and especially as I pray the word. Be blessed every day as you meet with the Lord whether through being still, reading, meditating and praying, or on your way to work listening to a podcast. God bless you, Lynn.

  5. New seasons can unsettle us, can’t they? I am so thankful for God’s kindness in sending us exactly the encouragement we need. I too became lax and let my morning routine fly and wondered why I was becoming so tired. It’s when God woke me up repeatedly at night and I had such sweet time alone with Him, I realized what I had been missing. I am waking up from my slumber with you: praise God for His mercies.

    I am also being so blessed by the book: The Way of Prayerful Living: Everyday Contemplative by L. Roger Owens. It’s helping me notice God’s Presence so much more in my day in a season I had started putting a blindfold over my eyes in my sin because I became resentful of my hemming in – but oh how amazing to now see the fruit He’s always had there waiting for me to pick – in laying down my thoughts and plans for His 😊. Oh may Jesus continue to encourage you and I both in these places that have shaken and are shaking us awake to see and experience His glory unfolding in our midst. Oh may we both open our hearts and hands to the fruit of His choosing and yielding for us, right here where He’s planted us. Much love from afar and thank you for this breath of fresh air and encouragement to keep stepping forward into God’s bountiful purposes.

  6. BTW this verse so encouraged me and thought might do you too:

    Psalm 121:3-4 NIV
    He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

    1. Thank you, Anna, for your words and sharing that verse with me. A friend shared with me Proverbs 16:9 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Yes, “laying down my thoughts and plans for His” sure takes the pressure off too, so we don’t need to so tired trying to figure things out! Blessing to you!

      1. I love that verse. Thank you for sharing. I so often speak it over myself and it sure does lift that weight off my shoulders too 😊. Amen to not figuring things out ourselves and resting in God’s blessed mystery unveiling here piece by piece in His perfect timing.

  7. Lynn, this post speaks to my heart. It’s been a very stressful couple of years. I need this reminder to slow down and consider my days, my stress levels, my Father. Thank you for offering practical thoughts and questions to reframe my journey!

    1. I pray you feel better soon, Debbie! I’ve found doodling helpful with just a pencil and post-it note paper when I feel there is something I need to work-out but writing a word just seems too much. May you feel God’s healing comfort today.

  8. Lynn,
    After years of teaching, raising kids, starting a non-profit, writing and publishing, you’d think I could accept the notion of doing a little selfcare?! I realize my generation doesn’t know how to grasp this important concept. To me selfcare sounded rather lazy or indulgent. Boy was I wrong. I’m learning — what you’ve pointed out in this post, that good care for ourselves is not optional — it’s necessary!!
    Bev xx

    1. It’s interesting how generations create thoughts on taking care of ourselves. I hadn’t looked at it that way! The balance between working hard and self care is a learning for each generation. How can those concepts become undivided? I’m not sure! Maybe it is in the act of being present at all time, staying close to our Father who directs our steps. Thanks for your thought-provoking words here, Rita!

  9. I love this Lynn. ‘Morning Pages’. Great reminder that our souls need expression and in making time for that we are somehow refreshed and recharged. I have also allowed my morning time to be devoured by the demands of life. Thank you for this encouragement to “do an about turn” and invest in the things that contribute to thriving.