Posted in Mental health, Parenting

A Little Break from the Psalms and Personal Update

It’s difficult for me to believe that we are already one week into the “Praying the Psalms” series. I’ve been enjoying it, and have appreciated everyone who has either stopped by, left a like or two, or even joined in on the praying or left a prayer request or comment. When I began this series, I wasn’t sure what kind of engagement I would get. Would I be praying all by myself? Would I be annoying my followers by suddenly inundating their feeds? Would they find it to be too much religion and unfollow me?

Whatever the case, I knew it would be a worthwhile exercise, even if it were all-by-my-lonesome. But the modest engagement I have seen is such a blessing. So, thank you.

It did occur to me, however, that too many of the same kind of posts all at once may start to feel a little impersonal. I don’t want my blog to sound like a computer-generated algorithm. So I thought I would take a little break and update you on what’s been going on in my tiny section of the very cold world we have found ourselves in here in Manitoba.

The week went by fairly quickly, partly because of doing this series, and partly because of an excursion I took with my boys to my sister’s place. Her property is on a particularly quiet section of the Lee River. The shores are rocky; the waters are deep, cold and clean (and presently frozen, of course); and the evergreens are tall (by Manitoba standards, anyway). While we were there, the temperature rose for a couple of days to the range of -14 to -17 degrees Celsius, which feels warm compared to the steady -25 to -35 range we have been seeing in this latest cold snap. So we were able to spend some time outdoors, which we mostly spent sledding (aka tree-dodging) and keeping warm by the fire.

While there, my boys were unusually calm. I’m not sure if that was because of the fires to build, dogs to pet, and trees to collide with; or just the change of scenery from home; or some combination of those things. But they seemed content.

And then we came home. And they were back to their rambunctious selves. 😉

As for me, I’m doing fairly well but continuing to struggle at times with the question of purpose as I see my boys growing older. I also continue to mourn the loss of my former career and contemplate whether to attempt going back, or try something completely different. I have been looking into the field of bookkeeping and what it would take to get an office job like that. Since I have my writing and piano playing as creative outlets, and ministry opportunities through bringing up my own kids and volunteering at church, I think it would feel good to do practical, concrete tasks that aren’t always face-to-face with clients. Maybe it would be fun to do math again. (Did I just say that?) I’d also like to feel like part of a team (i.e. be an ’employee’), rather than the lone-wolf life of a contract music therapist (what I used to do).

But for the time being, my day-to-day purpose will revolve around my kids, who are back to remote learning starting on Monday. It’s only supposed to be for a week, but with case numbers in the thousands every day, I’m not holding out much hope that they actually will be back in school on the 17th. So we will do our best to enjoy the extra time together. I just hope I will have the energy and motivation to keep them engaged, active, and out of trouble during the coming week or weeks.

Another piece of news is that my husband has recently begun a new career, as a truck driver. He routinely drives across our neighboring provinces (Saskatchewan and Ontario) and into the northern United States. I’m embarrassed to say this, but as someone who has travelled very little, I find his departures into the US in particular quite fascinating. Those places seem so far away – even though they’re no further, necessarily, than when he goes to Regina. And, ok – I’m used to people talking about North Dakota or Minnesota. But, Michigan? Ohio? Wisconsin? Iowa? Now, that’s the stuff of fantasy! Some kind of other world, where TV shows are set.

Wisconsin!
New York!
Ohio!
Pennsylvania!

I know I have some American followers, so please forgive me if that sounds ridiculous. And of course, not all Canadians are like me. Many are very well-traveled. I’ve just always been content to stay near home.

Although lately, I’ve been thinking that a tropical vacation might be ok. 😉

Image from Pixabay

Anyway, since my husband comes home this afternoon, I will pause the Psalm prayers until Tuesday morning. I do want to keep them going throughout the rest of January, but a little break now and then, I think, will keep me fresher and more energized.

In the comments, I would love to hear what’s going on with you. Are your kids switching to remote learning? How do you feel about it? Also, are you well-traveled, or a home body like me?

Warm wishes, and keep on praying!

Lisa

Posted in Faith, Mental health

Fasting for Spiritual Reasons, Part 2: My Blogging Fast

Two Fridays ago, I shared about my first fast, which had nothing to do with food.  Click here to read about it.

I also made two main points:

  1. Fasting is a personal thing, and may take many different forms.
  2. Fasting can be a way to wean ourselves from things we rely on too heavily, and focus on God instead.

Another type of fast that has become quite popular (and often, necessary) is to fast from social media.  Experience has taught me, as yours probably has too, that the perils of this medium are many.  Facebook was particularly bad for me – so bad, in fact, that I’m fasting from it…well, permanently.  (That’s another story, for, perhaps, another time.)  Today, however, I would like to focus on blogging.

Many of my current readers may not be aware of my blogging history, up until this point.  I am a fairly new blogger, as you may have guessed, but this is not my first blog.  I began in 2017 with a blog entitled Little Moment Meditations.  I couldn’t believe my luck, when I started blogging – not because my blog was all that successful, but because I enjoyed it SO much!  Finally, I had found a creative outlet that was not only extremely satisfying, but also allowed me to connect and dialogue with other writers.

However, after a few months, things had gotten a little out of balance.  The amount of time and energy I was spending on my blog left me with too little of either to spend on my husband and kids.  I also noticed that I was reacting emotionally to the likes or dislikes of others concerning my writing.  Views on my stats, likes or shares on my posts, and even the exhilaration of receiving inspirations to write became ‘highs’ that I was chasing.  Behaving like an addict, my feelings spiked or plummeted sharply depending on how people were reacting to my writing, and on whether I had my next idea or not.  I knew this wasn’t healthy.  And confusing the issue, for me, was the fact that I partly viewed my blog as a ministry.  But was I actually doing it for God?  Or was I doing it for myself?

computer-1185626_640

It was the book “Secrets of the Secret Place” by Bob Sorge that enlightened this question for me.  In chapter 45, entitled “The Secret of Intimacy First,” he explains that even ministry can be like ‘wine’ when the pleasures of serving God become more important to us than our relationship with Him.  Serving God should happen as a natural response to His love.  It isn’t supposed to be about chasing the intoxication of His anointing, the accolades of people, or a ‘fix’ to help us feel worthy and valuable.  God loves us just as we are, before we’ve done anything for Him.  That’s the funny thing about God; the thing we don’t tend to expect.  He’s more interested in us, in ourselves, and in relating to us, than He is in our efforts and our work.  I am so thankful for that!

In order to let this truth soak into my bones, and to wean myself from the “highs” of blogging, I took an extended break.  About 7 months passed before I published another post.  By then I wanted a fresh start, with a slightly different feel to my blog, and “The Manitoba Mom Blog” was born.  I often visit the topics of God and spirituality, because that’s just a part of who I am.  But I’m not doing it to earn favour with God.  (I already have that…praise Him!)  And because I do have that, the opinions of my readers no longer make or break me.  (Although I appreciate all of your support, of course!)

Since most of my readers are also bloggers, I would love to hear your perspective on this topic.  Have you ever taken an intentional break from blogging?  And why?

And if you would like a more thorough explanation of the Biblical basis for fasting than what I provide here, and some of the reasons/purposes behind it, a pastor at my church has been teaching an excellent series of sermons on the topic.  Here is the link to listen to them:

https://mysouthland.com/messages#Prayer_and_Fasting/Prayer_and_Fasting

Warm wishes,

Lisa