new blog feature
Sundays, I'll share thoughts from what I learn in church. We'll talk about the Gospel in a practical way, and invite God's teachings into our lives.
At mass today, we heard Gospel readings about Jesus teaching His disciples how to pray. Do you believe that God knows what we need before we ask? I do. The Bible tells us that.
Well then, why do we need to pray, if God knows everything that's in our hearts, and already has a plan for us? We are taught that prayer is an invitation for God to come into our lives through the Holy Spirit. He is with us always, but there's something very special about us actively...consciously...inviting Him to be with us.
We learned today that God always answers our prayers. Our priest told us we may not always get an answer we like, or expect, but we will always get an answer. And, when we pray, we should be BOLD, HUMBLE, and PERSISTENT.
Be BOLD. Don't think that there's anything "too small" or "too big" that you could ask of God. He wants a relationship with you, and wants conversation with you. He welcomes knowing your desires---and hearing them from you. Don't be afraid to ask for help and guidance. One of my favorite prayers every morning is, "Please God be with me today, and point me in the right direction."
Be HUMBLE. What does this mean, exactly? There are many references in the Bible about how we need to become "like a child" when we pray. So...simple but meaningful prayers with a tone of respect, and obedience. We are also told to ask for forgiveness for our sins, and for help in forgiving others, express gratitude, and make time for listening for His direction as we pray. Little children can have tantrums, sure! But, they can also be very honest, trusting, and loving. That child-like love of family is what God wants from us when we communicate with Him. Work on improving your communication with God---we're not "praying for show" or "praying to impress"...we have having a conversation with our Heavenly Father.
Be PERSISTENT. Again, if we believe that God knows what we want before we ask it, and that He will answer our prayers in a way that fits in with His will for our purpose on this planet. Why are we taught that not only do we need to pray but that we need to be persistent about it? It's not a game, and it's not for Him. Praying with persistence is for US. The more we pray, the better we're able to identify what it is that we truly want. It also helps us to figure out that in the end, we want GOD more than whatever it is we're praying for. That clarity makes us stronger, and builds our faith.
Now, if we practice, and learn to be bold, humble, and persistence in prayer...how might we hear God answer us?
"Basically in one of three ways," our priest said:
1. YES - you are ready, and your prayer request fits His plan for your best, abundant life.
2. NO - which actually is a YES to something greater.
3. NOT YET - more thought and more prayerful communication is needed.
Where you do need support? How do you need God's help? Pray and know that nothing is impossible with God.
Summer is about taking a break...making time to relax...and having FUN! You can take advantage of this time to re-focus on your own needs...and get some momentum going with your self-care to create a spark that will nourish and fuel you for a strong second half of the year!
HERE ARE 12 TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR A SUMMER OF SELF-CARE:
1. You are "summer-ready" just as you are! Summer can be a rough time for our self-esteem if we allow ourselves to get trapped in the idea that we need to "get our bodies ready" to enjoy the summer season. You are ready right now! Honest! Be gentle with yourself. Appreciate yourself! Put on that bathing suit. Wear the tank top...you don't need to change a thing to smile and have FUN right now!
2. Get Outside. Take advantage of the longer days and beautiful sunshine while you can! Make a break from your desk and go for a little walk. Eat outside...read...work...play outside. Your body and brain will love that extra dose of Vitamin D, and just being in nature is calming. Spending time near water helps to supercharge your self-care. The sound of water is soothing to the soul, and helps bring clarity to our thoughts. At night, have you ever just gone outside and looked at the stars? I will always remember the first time I was out on a boat at night and able to take in the night sky without any lights from houses, businesses, or towns around as a distraction. I looked up and that huge sky filled with stars and was hit with the magnitude of what's going on around us. We are part of something so big! Miracles are all around us. Give yourself permission to slow down and take it all in. It will give you a fresh perspective on your own life.
3. Take tech breaks. Set up a media-free zone for yourself, and hold yourself accountable. Choosing to manage electronic distractions allows you to focus on real life going on around you. I know people who do a regular Social Media Cleanse, and they tell me how GOOD they feel as a result! Analyze your time on line...has it become an addiction? Are you not getting things done because you get lost scrolling? Take a break! Set barriers, and stick to them. You could create a daily "shut off time" an hour or two before bed, for example. Or, you could go big and unplug during weekends, or on vacation. Use the time away from gadgets to connect with your friends and family the old-fashioned way---face to face... eyeball to eyeball.
4. Hang out with positive people. In a book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, a social psychologist is quoted as saying that the people you regularly spend the most time with determine as much as 95% of your success or failure in life. Read that again. WOW...right?! So....who are you spending time with? Are they people who you admire and lift you up to help bring out the best version of you? Or...well...not so much? Choose to be around people who inspire you and make you feel great. If you're looking for those kinds of people, join our private Take Care Tips Community Facebook group.
5. Allow yourself to relax. We all re-energize in different ways. Some people need to be alone, others need to be around people. Some need to be quiet - others; active. Chances are good you've been running so long you have trouble relaxing! Take some time to find what works for you...and do it!
6. Do something new. Stop waiting for "the right time" to get to that thing you've been wanting to try, and make it happen! Every day holds so many new opportunities for you to reconnect with what lights you up. Don't be afraid to get uncomfortable...make this your summer to try new things---whether it's something as small as a new recipe, or as big as a trip, or other adventure...there's big value in stretching yourself by doing something you've never done before.
7. Fill up with good stuff. Drink more water to stay hydrated in the warmer weather. Take advantage of the fresh, and often less expensive, fresh local produce at summer markets. Fuel yourself with fresh fruit smoothies, and healthy grilled vegetables for salads and side dishes.
8. Make a bucket list for the summer, and stick to it! What do you want to do this summer? Have you taken the time to think about that? Forget about time and money limitations - don't ask yourself, "is the possible?" Just get all of your ideas out of your head and into a list. Then, make it a goal to cross at least one thing off that list ASAP! Think of all the fun you'll have, and the memories you'll make!
9. Remind yourself of what your body can do. Instead of beating yourself up for the weight you haven't lost, or any part of you that you don't like...focus on appreciating your body for the all things it can do. You were created so beautifully, to laugh, love, smile... hug. Appreciate the things you can do, and...put yourself in situations that allow you to realize how strong you are!
10. Start each day with a "Thank You". As you're waking up, before you reach for you phone, or your coffee...take just a few minutes to check in with yourself. The action you take in the morning sets the tone for your whole day. If you keep a journal (which I recommend) jot down a few things you're thankful for. Acknowledging these things, and allowing yourself to focus on gratitude trains your brain to look for more positive things throughout your day.
11. Plan a Vacation/Staycation. Where you go isn't as important as just going somewhere because you want to...not because you have to! People want to work less, an live more. A change of environment can spark life, and it's so good for the brain! So whether you pack up and take a trip, or devote some time to exploring the sights and sounds of your own community--soaking up all the good things summer has to offer nurtures the soul!
Which one of these ideas is your favorite? What do you like to do for self-care in the summer?