{two-and-three, again}

On Monday, I talked about self-care and listening to your body and being intentional with your time, and how these three things are my survival kit for my crazy life.

But these next two? If you don’t hear anything else, please hear these:

4. Rest and quiet are more a posture of the heart than spaces in your calendar. I really believe that presence, and rest, and space, and quiet are essential parts of following God and building meaningful relationships. Be still and know that I am God, you know? So here’s what I’m learning: being still is far more about my heart than it is about my free time. I can spend a day flitting here and there from seven in the morning till eleven at night, and feel calm and cheerful and un-rushed. Or, I can have a day that is empty of appointments but full of anxiousness and dis-ease. The stillness or flightiness I feel have nothing to do with my schedule, and everything to do with my heart. When my heart knows my place before God, when I am resting in who I am in him – even the busiest day opens into the widest space and I am able to be present to the people and the God-movements around me. But when my heart is anxious and restless and insecure, my world closes in and I can’t see anyone but me. And you know? I really want to see the people and the moments and the God-movements I’m supposed to see. So I keep praying for this quiet heart with eyes to see, and I keep practicing this posturing of stillness before God.

5. You have to let go of guilt. I hate this one. Because, as I wrote awhile ago, I’m so good at carrying around guilt. But God is slowly teaching me to cast this burden on him, too. Because my guilt? It’s all about me, and my ego. It’s about who I expected myself to be, the polished image I want to keep, the straight-back shoulders that I just assume everyone else is leaning on, and the expectations I imagine everyone else has of me. It’s about the fact that I dare not displease anyone because that would brutally trash my insecure heart. But here’s the thing: that’s not the person I want to be. And it’s not the person I am. I am loved, saved, rescued, redeemed. I’m bought and paid for. And it’s about God’s glory and his love for me and his love for others. I’m not the center of the story, but I’m an important, secured part of it because of what God has done for me. So I can let. go. And just be. And I can stop assuming what everyone else thinks of me, and be secure in who I am. And guess what? This provides space in my relationships for me to see that I’m not the let-down I assume I am when I don’t live up to my own expectations.

copyright Jenni Cannariato 2014
copyright Jenni Cannariato 2014

Maybe I expect a spotless house. But my husband, whom I assume I will let down if my house isn’t sparkling, doesn’t expect that. He’s happy with tidy. And my friends, who I imagine being hurt and offended when I don’t plan dinner parties or have them over for a month or more, actually are okay with a simple afternoon hanging out, or okay with no hanging out at all.

And really? Everyone cares a lot less about how polished I look than I do. So I can just sigh and let. go.

Because nothing good happens out of shame. And no redemption comes out of condemnation.

So, you busy? Take care of yourself. Get some sleep. Be intentional.

And keep your heart quiet and still before the God who loves you. Cast all your cares on him, because he cares about you – and even be brave enough to cast all that ego-obsessive, overly-expecting guilt that you keep carrying around onto the straight, strong shoulders of your Father.

 

 

 

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{two-and-three}

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been working multiple jobs for a couple months now. Opportunities arose, and I’m in this phase of my life where I’m trying to say “yes” to the open doors. So when I was offered a part-time job at a coffee shop, with flexible hours, my husband and I agreed that it was a gift, this unexpected door, and we decided that I would continue working there until it wasn’t a gift anymore. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to build relationships and to get a change of pace from the banking world.

There’s just something about a cup of coffee.

And when I was unexpectedly offered the chance to gain some bookkeeping experience at our church, my husband and I prayed and thought and agreed, that this too, was an open door – a great opportunity to build some experience and broaden my expertise.

And, boy, has that been stretching. I’m not an accountant. And it’s like learning a different language altogether.

So, as October began, I lined up my multi-vitamins on the counter, filled up my water-bottle, got out my calendar, and determined that I would need to take the best possible care of myself and be really, really organized to make this whole two-or-three job thing work.

copyright Jenni Cannariato 2014
copyright Jenni Cannariato 2014

And the funny thing? My organization didn’t last that long. The craziness ensued, and I spent the last couple of months with that feeling you get when you’ve lost a little weight and your pants are too big – constantly pulling up, constantly catching up.

But I’ve survived. Maybe more than survived: I’m enjoying relationships and continued success in both jobs. I’ve finally found a little time to write again. My house has been slightly cleaner the last couple weeks.

And although I wouldn’t encourage super-busyness on a normal basis, and although I highly value rest and quiet and space, I do understand that life brings different seasons, and some of those are really, really busy ones.

So here’s a few things I’ve learned working two jobs:

1. You really do have to take care of yourself. Let me tell you, I can feel it. Those days where I miss breakfast, or have too much sugar, or too much caffeine, or too little sleep? I feel it. I can power through a double-shift day on a good breakfast of eggs and toast. I can feel alert and bright when I’ve had enough water to drink. But when I don’t take care of my body, my brain melts into a fog and I just have to slog through my day. Eating well, drinking plenty of water, stretching muscles after a long day of standing, moving gently, sleeping plenty – these are so essential to being well during a super busy season.

2. The more intentional you are, the less time you waste. It’s simple math: when you spend a lot of time working, or have a lot of commitments and responsibilities, you have less free time to spread around. I’ve learned this the hard way – no matter how much I work, or how much I don’t, I only get seven days each week, and each of those seven days always only has twenty-four hours. So I’ve had to be really clear on my priorities, and what I really, really want to get done. One of my goals for the new year is to get better at this (more on this later). My days can disappear into a wafting, pointless fuzz of social media, Netflix, and plopping on the couch if I’m not careful. Or, if I’m careful, and thoughtful, and intentional, I can write and read and pray and take a bath and tidy my house and build my marriage. But that just doesn’t fall into place without a little thought, and it definitely doesn’t happen by chance.

3. Listen to your body. This follows both #1 and #2. I’ve learned to be really gentle with myself. I’ve learned that when I break down into senseless tears before 8 a.m., it’s time to take a personal day. I’ve learned that when I’m dog-tired and my feet feel like they’ll never recover from hours on concrete floors, I need to watch a movie or take a bath and not force the errands or the cleaning. I’ve learned to stretch tight muscles, drink when I’m thirsty, sleep a little longer one morning, spend a little more time with my husband. I’m also learning to identify the big stressors in my life and creatively figure out ways to make them less stressful (whether it be working on a relationship, getting a big task done, asking for help, etc.).

These three things seem so simple, yet they are so crucial to living well in the midst of a busy season.

So important, so practical these three. But do me a favor? Come back Wednesday? Because there are two other things I’ve learned that I really, really want you to hear.

~ jc