Sunday, September 04, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Learning to Carpe Diem again

A few weeks ago, I was finally able to clean and declutter the Study after experiencing back pain for about two months.  I had placed boxes of stuff in the Study that I wasn't sure what to do with.  Perhaps the worse was that unexpected busy days had put off going through the "Inbox" on my desk and then sorting through files that needed clearing out.  

However, I can walk into the Study without cringing now. There are still a few boxes but they are out of the way.  All the mail has been sorted and that which is in the Inbox now only needs to be filed away.

I don't know about you but there are times I do things that annoy myself and I'm the one doing them!  While cleaning and decluttering, I found myself not being able to rest until it was done.  Even though there was no punching of a time clock or another person telling me it had to be completed within a time frame.

I had no company coming, no one who would notice any clutter or care... yet, each time I sat down to rest or enjoy a movie I felt guilty.  I came to realize that is a ploy of the enemy of our souls that can creep in without us realizing what is behind those feelings.

If we didn't come against that lie that we must get everything done NOW, rarely would we experience true peace.  Not only that but we could not enjoy the work of our hands if we feel the need to go to the next unfinished project or room needing cleaning.

I was driving into town recently, enjoying the beauty of the countryside and thanking God for all of that beauty that is ours to enjoy for free, when the thought came to me that I needed to "learn to Carpe Diem all over again".  Hmmm... that was an idea to ponder.

On one hand, I have learned to have a thankful spirit.  I have developed the good habit of thanking God for all kinds of gifts, those as tiny as standing at the kitchen window when a hummingbird is enjoying a snack from one of the flowers... to having a huge answer to prayer.

I thank Him for daily food, I thank Him for indoor plumbing and running water (especially after a water emergency having to do with our well), I thank Him for financial provision and for insulin that keeps me alive every time I take a shot.  All good gifts are from above!

I find it easy to thank Him but learning to rest in Him is a lot harder.  Maybe it is a cultural thing?  Perhaps something that I learned in childhood from my hard working parents?  I don't know for certain but I have come to realize that not being able to rest is no gift to myself or those around me.  Especially when I need lots of rest.

One of the meanings of Carpe Diem is to Enjoy the Day.  That is hard to do when I am listening to the wrong "still small voice".  I am convinced that one of the tricks of the enemy is to somehow whisper lies to our soul.  Most likely lies told us from other people or perhaps even from listening to the not-so-sound advice of "experts" through various media.

If we are vulnerable to thinking we need to be working all the time, even the lovely YouTube videos we enjoy can unintentionally teach us that we must always be working.  I do think most of the women I follow are part Energizer Bunny. I have to remind myself that quite often, the changes they show were accomplished over weeks... or longer.

Jesus said He came to give us peace, not as the world gives it.  His peace is deep and everlasting.  It is based on His infallible Word to us.  He doesn't take it away in a snit as one would deny a naughty child his dessert.  That is something the evil one would do for he comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

Long ago, I read an article (or a chapter in a book?) about Philippians 4:8.  Especially the part that tells us to think on "...whatever is true".  I think I went back and read that part at least three or four times.  It was one of those times when what I am reading sounded alarm bells of Truth from my mind all the way to my soul.

Why hadn't I thought of that before?  God tells us we need to learn to think on "whatever is true" because we are surrounded by that which is not true.  The real danger comes when we start to believe what is not true... as if it were true. That has always been the case for humanity but can't you see it even more so in the world we find ourselves living in now?

I know that need to get tasks finished as soon as possible, especially large projects, will always be with me.  But remembering what I had read before helped me realize I had lapsed into old habits again.  I need rest.  I  need to sit and read good books and watch lovely movies and even the occasional British murder mystery. Most of all, I need to be still and meditate on the Word.

So, the next time you find yourself pushing to get things accomplished when there is no reason for speed... ask yourself if your need to rush is actually true.  Who is the source of our thoughts?  

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Ephesians 4:8 NIV


Vee said...

So much truth here. You have made me ponder. You always do. In fact, I have pondered so much that I could write my own post. Well done on The Study. We all have many areas like that I am pretty sure. A blessed new week to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

I just love, love, love this post! Thanks for the reminder! And that verse is always my "go to" verse!

Jenny said...

I read something in 'My Utmost for His Highest" recently that has really helped me with many of these kinds of attitudes.

In my own words....being self-conscious is a sin. We're either self-conscious because of pride (we don't want someone to see us this way, or our house, or our yard, or our children, ect) Or being self-conscious can be caused by fear...fear of speaking out or offending someone.
But when we choose to turn our thoughts from ourselves to Christ...we become Christ-conscious! I've heard all my life that we need to think of Christ more but never have I heard the term Christ-conscious. What a change that made in my mind! Now when I feel guilt, embarrassment, fear...what ever the feeling...I stop & think..."Am I feeling this because I'm thinking of myself? I want to be Christ conscious & when I am, my self fades into the background.

Being Christ-conscious means I am not embarrassed because I'm seeing others through His eyes so I speak up, or let things go as needed. It has been my daily prayer since discovering it & has made such a difference in my attitude.

Ann Stevens said...

Oh! I am so much that person who pushes herself to get things done and thinks I can only sit down and read that book I started after everything else in my entire life is under control!! I know ... that's a bit of overkill but it's how my mind works sometimes. I grew up in New England where there is instilled in one (or used to be) a strong work ethic which is a good thing to a certain point. But beyond that point when one feels driven to finish everything right now -- and like you say, for no particular reason -- then it is not a good thing.

I just had total knee replacement surgery 12 days ago and that's an eye opener. I can't get up and do it. I can get up and walk around with my walker but that's about it. Energy for physical therapy has to come first. It's a learning experience and I am trying to get the most I can from it. If the house isn't perfect everyday because I hired a friend to vacuum, mop and dust for us once a week and the days in between can get a little messy, so be it. If my husband cooks a less than tasty dinner, at least he did it for us.

I am recovering very well and will be back up and going in about 4 more weeks but I'm going to try to remember these afternoons when I sat in the recliner in my cozy spot and read for a few hours without feeling guilty for "me time". And picking up our 5 year old granddaughter from school and having fun with her until Mom and Dad come home from work instead of cleaning out another closet or wiping down the baseboards is the better thing to do. She loves her Nana and Papa and I am so blessed to live five minutes away so she feels this is her second home where we play silly games, sneak mini candy bars, and jump in the pool. We won't be in her life forever; these days are precious -- other things can wait.

Thanks for reminding me and have a blessed week.

Keri said...

I definitely needed this reminder today. I've been feeling stressed and overwhelmed all week, as I always use Labor Day as my signal to switch out everything in my home from summer to fall. I decorate seasonally in a pretty big way, so switching out all of my decor takes a while. I also have entire sets of dishes for each season (I may be a problem... :-D), so they need to be switched out, along with my closet/clothes drawers, and I need to clear off the deck of anything that "smacks" of summer, while still leaving out the furnishings we'll use for a couple more months of outdoor living here in Louisville. Getting all of this done this year has been extra tricky, because my husband is repainting our entire downstairs for the first time since 2003, so everything is already topsy-turvy!

My point in saying all this, though, is that there's no actual need to do it quickly! You're so right about our self-imposed pressure to get all the things done by a deadline that we set ourselves, only to feel like failures for not succeeding. How silly!!! Nobody in this house -- or outside of it -- cares whether all the fall stuff is in place by a certain day. It's just my own stubborn self making me miserable and stressed out. I'm going to take your reminder to heart and focus on the truth that there's no need to stress about the state of my home at this time. Instead, I'll be thankful that I'm able to indulge my creative and beauty-loving tendencies by making these changes to my living space! What a blessing that is, and certainly nothing that the Lord wants me to feel stressed out about...