We view the story of creation in the Bible as being done in six days… on the seventh day, God rested. I’ve always viewed the seventh day as being a day where nothing happened, a passive example of how we should take a break once a week in order to avoid burn-out.
Priscilla Shirer, author, speaker, and co-leader with her husband of Going Beyond Ministries, has released a Bible study called Breathe, Making Room for Sabbath. One phrase that truly stuck out to me this week was the “Tranquility, Serenity, Peace, and Repose” that we are supposed to have in our life – not in just one area, but in particularly the areas that overwhelm or enslave us. I’m one week in and already feeling the peace and serenity from the gems of truths it’s revealing. This first week, we’ve been looking critically at what specific areas are causing us to have less tranquility, serenity, peace, and repose. It can be anything, even certain people, for me, I’ve realized it is Social Media & my Mothering my children.
Here are some other areas that might apply to you – none of these things are “bad,” however, sometimes, depending on our personalities, they can start to overwhelm or take over our life and peace we are supposed to have:
- Home Decorating
- Social Media
- Opinions of my friends
- Opinions of people I don’t like
- My appearance
- Obsessing over something I’ve lost
- Other (anything you can think of)
Its quite a list! And again, none of these things are individually bad or good, its simply when we use them incorrectly – without the boundaries that should be there – in order to fill the void in our life.
God wants us to have that “void” – He purposefully and intently created rest on that seventh day, so that we could fill it with spending time with Him.
When we let these things take over and start chipping away at our “tranquility, serenity, peace, and repose,” we “limit our Christlikeness and miss out on some of God’s greatest gifts.” Priscilla even warns in the study that, in the words of Jeremiah 25:7, “we actually ‘provoke’ God to anger and bring ‘harm’ on ourselves (NASB).”
For me (and possibly not for you, this kind of thing is very personal), Social Media is an obvious pitfall. I’ve had ruined relationships come from me pushing a debate or argument over topics when a person didn’t want to argue anymore, or in confronting people when I should’ve kept my mouth shut (it wasn’t my place to confront them) and given it over to God; and likewise, I’ve also had all these things happen to me (role-reversal anyone?).
Social media can be a mud-slinging jungle when you let it get out of control, and even though I’ve made a lot of progress in setting boundaries for myself in it, this study has made me realize I need to actually sit down, and write out a “plan” for its proper use. I want to use it purposefully, not absent-mindedly or randomly when I’m bored; I want to have time limit boundaries of only allowing myself a short time period per week – I want to focus more on the relationships I have in person that are so much more fulfilling and deep. And I want to establish a creed of exactly how I will act in certain circumstances that tempt me, I want to have it already planned out so that its easy to follow & not get sidetracked or drawn into pitfalls that diminish my tranquility, serenity, peace, and repose.
With my mothering, when I don’t purposefully stop and create tranquility in this area, there is only chaos, hurt, and bad bedtimes! When I let this area get out of control, it is not the memories I want to be making! I wrote about this way back at the beginning of my last pregnancy here, and the changes we worked on then were great! It was a good perspective shifter to sit down and declare who I wanted to be as their mother, here is an excerpt:
To be truly attune to my son – interested in him and everything he is doing and telling me. To really listen to him and his concerns, his adorable thoughts, and most importantly, his questions. He asks the most interesting and deep questions about life for a child who just turned 4 years old this summer. He’s so intelligent and understands things beyond I’m sure, what I understood at that age.
To make bedtime like it used to be – before I was lacking energy, moody, and pregnant. I’ve always thought that bedtime was the best time to have one last impact on your child’s day – to get last words in of counsel, or assurance, and a last attempt at praying and leaving them with spiritual guidance. Even reading to them (which has always been part of our bedtime routine) simply shows them how much you VALUE them as people in their own right. Without my husband being there for support and literal “back-up,” bedtime has been rushed and stressful at best, and tumultuous at worst! I’m amending this… bedtime is supposed to be peaceful, reassuring, and that last push for connection and love that can last a lifetime of remembrance for my son.
To be kind, even when tantrums are at their peak and I’m thoroughly exhausted from what seems like endless confrontations. 🙂 He is the most assertive little one I know – whereas my husband and I are both extremely easy going people, our son (at this age at least) is definitely more head strong, and takes more energy to constantly explain and discipline. Even though he may be harder in this one way, I wouldn’t have him any different, he is so wonderful and is such a complex mixture of tender-hearted sweetness.
Here’s to this journey of finding freedom from chaos, disorder, and misunderstandings as a result, finding time to breathe even in our overwhelmed areas.