10 Things to Do When You Are Tired

My life is delightfully full—and also sometimes a bit out of balance. In other words, I get pretty pooped out now and then. What’s a body to do?

I know the Bible says that if I wait upon the Lord, I’ll renew my strength, but sometimes my strength, well, it needs renewing sooner rather than later. Here are a few steps I try to take:

Play worship music. It lifts my spirits and energizes me.

Use a Bible software app (like YouVersion) to fit in Bible reading on a busy day. Sometimes I listen while doing chores around the house or driving or lying flat on my back for a few minutes.

Put on a pair of supportive shoes. Don’t laugh until you’ve tried it. And this tip isn’t just for the over 45 crowd. I’ve been donning good shoes first thing in the morning since my kids were toddlers, and when I don’t, I pay for it by the end of the day.

Eat a piece of fruit. Sometimes, I just need a hit of sugar, but of the kind that will last a while without making me crash.

Try a cup of green tea—lots of possible benefits, only a little caffeine. Or give kukicha tea a try. (I love it, but its flavor isn’t for everyone.)

Reevaluate “The List.” Is there something that can be delegated or delayed?

Alternate “body tasks” (stuff that takes physical stamina) with “brain tasks” (the ones that require sitting and thinking.) At the very least, take short breaks from any particular type of task.

Remember, this time will probably pass. It’s easy to become even more tired today by thinking about all I have to do tomorrow, so I try to take things one day at a time. An easier day may crop up before long.  

Notice the “chocolate chips” of the day. Even when we’re tired, the day is better if we look for the little blessings and moments of joy sprinkled here and there.

And, of course, ask the Lord to provide strength. (He does promise it after all. See Isaiah 40.)

Cross Words

I enjoy crossword puzzles, even though my book of “Extra Easies” is full of scratch-outs and empty boxes where I came up blank. But crossword puzzles serve as a reminder to me of these three axioms.

Believe the best. Many puzzles look impossible to me at the start. My inner pessimist whispers, “Don’t bother. You’ll never get it. You don’t even know the answers to the first five clues.” Persisting in the hope that I really can mind meld with the author of the challenge before me, I eventually see that I do know the answer to the sixth clue, and the eighth, and the tenth. Before long things start to come together after all. I’m always glad I didn’t give up at the first sign of trouble.

Start with what you know. Thanks to a tip from a smart friend, I no longer tackle crossword clues in numerical order. Now my M.O. looks something like this:

  1. Find a clue I can answer and fill it in, say maybe five across.
  2. Next try every clue for which I now have a letter, like five down.
  3. Continue to try clues for any spot where previous success has provided a letter, then go back to step one.

I read once that, if we don’t know what God wants us to do, we should look for the last thing he asked of us, but that we left undone, and start there. Another great strategy is to simply look for a need we know how to fill and prayerfully consider heading out to help there. It doesn’t matter if we don’t know what lies far, far ahead. All we really need is the next step.

Sleep is a powerful force. Sometimes, if I try a puzzle too late at night, I get nowhere, only to discover how easy it is to solve the next day. We’re all good at ignoring our basic human needs and weaknesses. Are you crabby or confused today? Angry or anxiety-ridden? Maybe you haven’t had enough [of the right stuff] to eat or drink. You might be behind on working out or getting fresh air or simply enjoying a good night’s sleep. Sometimes simple acts of self-care make a radical difference in the way we respond to life.

So, besides great fun, and a perfect wind-down to the day, what do you see in a crossword puzzles?

photo by pixabay

Happier Still (continued)

I read “Feel Happier Today,” by Lisa Fields in the May 2020 issue of Reader’s Digest. Last week I began my spin on what the author had to say. My first point was practice God’s presence, and practice the habits that engender happiness. Here are the five other happiness boosting tips I promised you: 

Increase social connections (and social media rarely counts). I once committed to writing a prison inmate twice a month for the duration of his incarceration. I was astonished by the response this evoked, of the importance that small connection held. Phone calls and walks and cups of tea are simple things with high impact (even when they must be held at a distance). I have to fight against my inner hermit. Do you? I’m helped by the verse that tells us not to forsake assembling together. So, connect!

Perform acts of kindness. These feel good and cause us to turn our focus away from our own troubles. Kindness comes in many forms. Some of the best are cheap and simple. Don’t hold back! The Bible is full of directions (commands, perhaps) to be kind and loving to one another. We’re better off when we continue to practice acts of kindness regardless of our circumstances. I’d love for you to tell me how you’ve experienced simple kindness, or how you’ve delivered kindness and felt happy because of it.

Get some exercise. Our bodies belong to the Lord. Exercise keeps us healthier. Studies say it also makes us more cheerful and better able to handle stress. (I’ve certainly seen that in my own life.) Nearly everyone can do some sort of exercise. ‘Enough said on that point. Please put on your sneakers.

Get enough sleep. Steve just finished reading a book by Dr. Matthew Walker that insists we all need 7-8 hours each night, and we suffer more than we realize when we skimp. Getting enough sleep seems so indulgent, doesn’t it? But, in the end, it empowers us to do a better job of living—and living happily. I love to read, to watch movies, and to keep my to-do list tidy, but I’ve had to forego a good bit of all three in order to maximize my sleep. I challenge you to consider doing the same.

Here’s one Reader’s Digest didn’t mention: Let go of fear. Fear is a sleep-robber, a joy-killer, and a powerful excuse to turn our focus solely on ourselves. I’ll end this essay by telling you what my life group leader has to say:

  • “The most repeated command in all of scripture is “Fear not.”
  • “Fear is faith in the enemy.”
  • “Keep your love, your joy, and your peace.” (Yes, I pray that you will do just that!)

photo by @stanislas1 via Unsplash.com

 

 

Weird Tree Moss

 

IMG_2378

I keep forgetting to ask my son what this stuff is called. At first glance, it’s actually kind of pretty. I used to enjoy looking at it as it spread across the oaks near my house. Its proliferation astonished me. Then Tony explained that it’s actually killing the trees–and not just in Austin. As I strolled gorgeous Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon, I snapped the photo above, sad to think the tree will probably be gone before long.

What used to look beautiful to me makes me sad, even angry, now. That spindly, mossy stuff blocks the sun. It kills the leaves, then the branches and finally the trees. The analogy it brings to mind makes me sad and angry as well.

What do we allow, unaware (or ignoring the fact) that it’s slowly killing us?

Have we taken enough time for introspection, checking all areas of our lives?

  • The spiritual side: Sin and distraction creep in covertly, often looking beautiful at first. I’ve covered that plenty of times, as has your pastor, I hope.
  • The physical side: We Christians sometimes sidestep those issues, both with our loved ones and within ourselves. But it’s time once again to ask: How is your self-care? If you’ve given your life to the Lord, you’ve given up the right to abuse your body in any way.
  • Then there’s the mental/emotional side: Petty grievances and pet worries can look justified, even righteous. But, like all the other sap-suckers and joy-diminishers I’ve mentioned, they must be pruned.

Ugh! Pruning. I’ve seen it done to trees, and it looks painful. I’ve seen the Lord do it in my life, and it was painful. And I see it coming again: less looking at my phone, more fasting and less TV. Our Divine Gardner prunes each of us in a different way, according to what’s hurting us and separating us from him.

So, today, I’m asking you to set aside a few minutes to be silent (right now, if at all possible). Ask yourself and your Lord what needs to go. No matter what he shows you, I hope you’ll hand it over and ask him to help you leave it in his hands!

 

I Love YouTube

YouTube geralt via pixabay

I like to watch flash mob proposals and acapella singing groups and funny movie clips. But what I really love about YouTube is the chance it gives me to watch great sermons, new and old, by pastors from all over the world. I watched one recently by Philip Yancey called Rumors of Another World, delivered at the University of California Veritas Forum several years ago. You can find it here:  Let me re-tell my favorite story from that talk, though, the one that struck me most. 

A group of high ranking US health officials met to discuss the greatest threats to long life and well-being here in our country. They made a list of the top problems, including the seven listed below.

·                Smoking and tobacco use

·                Obesity and poor dietary choices

·                Drug addiction

·                Alcohol abuse, including drunk driving and fetal alcohol syndrome

·                Stress based hypertension

·                Sexually transmitted diseases

·                Violent crime

As they pondered solutions to these life threatening and life altering issues, one member of the think tank shed a very different light on the subject. That man was Dr. Paul Brand, a physician who spent years in India working with those who suffered from leprosy. Dr. Brand explained that, while the list I’ve just shared with you is perfectly valid in the US, a similar committee in India would come up with a very different threat roster. That list would include: 

·                Malaria

·                Leprosy

·                Polio, until very recently

·                Smallpox

·                Yellow Fever

“If I went to that group,” Dr. Brand said, “and declared ‘I can get rid of those problems,’ they would say, ‘Wonderful. Then we would live in paradise!’” 

How blessed we are here in the United States! We’re virtually free of all those dreaded diseases. But what have we done? We’ve replaced them with a whole new set of problems that we’ve brought on ourselves. To this, Philip Yancy says, (my paraphrase) “I’ve come to see that, if God designed this planet and our bodies, he did it to give us life to the fullest…I used to think of God’s way, his definition of sin, as a way to keep us from having fun. Now I see that it’s a way to keep us from hurting ourselves. The church teaches us the best way to live.”

So, today, I challenge us all to take a look at that list of US problems and begin, by God’s grace, to eliminate any still lingering in our lives. God’s way IS the best way, and he means for us to take care of ourselves as we live in obedience to him.

Photo by geralt via pixabay.com

I Interrupt These Blog Posts..

texting

My post this week is a departure from the usual sort of material you will find at this site. I want to share an article with you about cell phone usage  and driving. Before you say, “Oh, Brother!” consider this:

·       We are to be responsible stewards of the gifts God gives us.

·       We are to care for our bodies, as they are temples of the Holy Spirit.

·       And we are to love one another, which surely must include looking out for one another’s safety.

With all of that in mind, I’d like to share this information from the March/April 2019 issue of Texas Journey (page 9, to be exact.) These bulleted points are findings by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, and I’m sure are not a comprehensive list of the facts. Note, also, that this list doesn’t distinguish between hand-held use and hands-free use, as both pose risk. 

  • Looking at a phone for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash.
  • At a speed of 55 miles per hour, a driver texting for only five seconds will travel the length of a football field, driving virtually blind before looking at the road again.
  • Mental distraction can linger for up to 27 seconds after using an electronic device. 
  • Drivers using cell phones [to either talk or text] are up to four times more likely to crash.
  • The safest way to drive is simply not to use the cell phone when driving.

My friends, I hope you will reconsider your need to multitask. Turn on some praise music and focus on the drive. If we all do that, somewhere down the road many lives will be saved.

photo by StockSnap via Pixabay