The Lost Art of Pondering

 

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The other day my daughter and I watched an American Girl movie called “Felicity”. It tells the story of a young girl’s life in colonial New England. A time when proper etiquette included a controlled tongue and a well-trained mind. In those days, it was considered an art to ponder one’s opinions and words carefully before speaking. As I watched the story unfold, I realized how far we have come from those proper days.

It this current culture it seems the art of pondering as been lost. Where our ancestors found value in calmly reflecting on events, or coming to decisions slowly, today it seems we are condemned for thinking too much or taking too long to make a decision. Statements like “hold your tongue, consider your words carefully before speaking”, and “sometimes it is better to say nothing” were the norm. Today, I fear they are the exception.

Pondering slows things down and creates a space where we can breathe. In today’s culture, it seems faster is better. While pondering promotes a thoughtful response, the current culture promotes drama and emotional reactions are glamorized. Pondering is like pressing the pause button, it invites an attitude of intentional living where peace and well-being thrive. Unfortunately, we live in a time where it seems the pause button is broken, and the word intentional has taken on a life and economy of its own. The thing with pondering is…. it doesn’t always come naturally. It can be hard.

We live in a world where we’re encouraged to avoid anything that is hard. Pondering is especially hard when being still doesn’t come naturally! That’s me! I am NOT a natural ponderer. I have activator in my list of top five strengths, so my first inclination is not toward the calm or reflective.  But rather the quick and active. Add that to the endless list of interruptions that come from my state in life and the distractions of our technology saturated culture, and its no wonder I have such a hard time pondering!

Even though, I understand the value and importance of the art of pondering, it doesn’t make it easier! It still takes a huge amount of effort for me to be still and quiet my mind. But the good news is the more I do it the better I get at it, and the easier it is to do it the next time. Just like any art, the art of pondering takes consistent practice. This can be as simple as setting aside a certain time of day, on a regular basis to practice being still and quieting your mind. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. And the better we get, the more peace and well-being we’ll enjoy.

Although we live in a culture where the pace we keep is definitely faster and the distractions available are far more than our ancestors, the art of pondering is still essential to our peace and well-being. Our ancestors knew that slowing things down and being more deliberate would benefit their society.

How might our society change if we resurrect the lost art of pondering?

 

 

What’s Your Definition of Success?

 

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Success….

I feel like the word success has been a buzz word for centuries, but what does it mean? What is success?  Is there one universal definition for success?  If yes, what is it?  If no, why not?  As a coach, one of the questions I frequently ask is, “How will you know you are successful?”  Sometimes it can be challenging to find an answer to this question.  How will we know when we are successful?  It all depends on what your definition of success is. Read more

Motherhood, The Best, Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Do!

imageHave you ever been out and about with your kiddos and had an older woman come up to you and comment, “Cherish every moment- it will be gone before you know it!” I remember many of those moments. But, being surrounded by my kids, I thought, “of course I cherish them”, and casually toss a “thank you, I’ll remember!”, her way. But, I’m not going to lie, life happened and I’d forget!

Sometimes it’s hard to remember to cherish those sweet little monsters, er – um, children, when they are running amuck, clobbering their sister, sticking paper clips in the outlets, or pooping up their back in their car seat!  We get caught in survival mode and, with our heads down, we throw ourselves into our role and we forget.

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Holy is as Holy Does

Holy is as Holy Does

I love when I get the opportunity to sit with holy people who are doing beautiful things to glorify God.  The thrill and satisfaction they get when serving their brothers and sisters in Christ through their particular ministry is truly inspiring. I can get so caught up in their excitement about the work they are doing that it makes me want to do great things for the church also!!

I must admit though, that sometimes I leave those conversations with more than just inspiration. Depending on the current state of affairs in my work and family life it is possible for me to leave those conversations burdened with a sense of self-doubt and a feeling of discontent. Unfortunately, I do occasionally head down that slippery slope of self-doubt, as I begin to doubt whether I am “doing” enough or whether I am even doing the right thing. That self-doubt leads to a battle of my “selfs”. I get caught up in a battle between my reasonable self and my “I can do it all” self!

I like to think big so the “I can do it all” self, struggles to be satisfied with my ho-hum, ordinary life. My limited level of service frustrates that part of me and the “I can do it all” self begins to whine. It whispers in my ear, “To be holy you really need to be doing more” or “to really glorify God you need to be doing something else, something much bigger!”

It’s easy for me to look at those individuals who seem to have visibly successful ministries and get confused about what I am supposed to be doing to glorify God. It’s like a deer in head lights. When something big and bright comes into my path, sometimes I forget what I am and were I am going! Thankfully I do have a reasonable side, and an amazing coach and spiritual guide, otherwise I could get myself in a whole lot of trouble!

I really do want to be holy and glorify God. So how?

“But, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, be holy because I am holy” ~ 1 Peter 1:16                 

I am called to be holy in every aspect of my conduct. I don’t have to go looking for ways to be holy.

It’s actually super simple and super hard all at the same time… simple because God in his infinite wisdom has fit a life for me full of opportunities to choose holiness. Hard because he has fit a life for me full of opportunities to choose holiness! Those opportunities present themselves in every facet of my life. They come from my daily responsibilities and activities, my normal mundane day to day life.

Each circumstance, each encounter, each relationship provides me the opportunity to choose to glorify God with my thoughts, words and actions. From family and friends to work and hobbies the opportunities sometimes seem endless.

We can choose holiness in every circumstance and every relationship in our lives. It’s true, holiness is not easy because it frequently demands that we step outside our comfort zone!  We all know that life is hard!  So in the face of that difficulty or discomfort is our opportunity to choose a holy response. Whether it be a certain situation or a relationship, our response is what will either be a blessing or a curse. Either holy or not.

Instead of asking yourself, “What more or what else can I do?”

Ask, “How can I be holy and glorify God in the situation or relationship I am in right now?

So blessed to have all these “opportunities” in my life!

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