I posted this article in 2009 and also this time last year. I cannot help but to once again revive it for I believe it is relevant as we approach yet another new year. I always have the need to review these words periodically as a reminder to be intentional about doing those things that refresh, renew or inspire me. I get bogged down and realized I haven’t listened to some of my favorite music in quite a while or been on a good long hike. Why? Because I let the vandals of life start calling the shots and it takes me away from the things I enjoy doing and that refresh me. I see it as a constant battle we must all fight. Here’s to you winning your battles in 2011 and doing what makes you come alive…….
Have you ever noticed that frequently you end up not doing the very things you enjoy doing the most? Among the things I like to do is read, hike, have quiet time, go see art, work out, take photographs, and listen to great music. I like to do those things, but I get to a point where I become aware that I’m not doing much of them at all and then wonder why I end up feeling so frustrated and irritated with life at times.
When I set time to inventory those things I enjoy and actually take the time to do them, I find it makes me more alive – more myself. That only helps in my daily walk with work, family and friends. Most importantly it better connects me to God and nothing is more important than that.
C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and in his fictional book The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape (a senior tempter) is outlining the blunder’s of his nephew protégé Wormwood:
“On your own showing you first allowed the patient (person) to read a book he really enjoyed, because he enjoyed it and not in order to make clever remarks about it to his new friends. In the second place you allowed him to walk down to the old mill and have tea there – through country he really likes, and taken alone. In other words you allowed him two real positive Pleasures. Were you so ignorant as to not see the danger in this? The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. Thus if you had been trying to damn your man by the Romantic method – by making him submerged in self-pity for imaginary distresses – you would try to protect him at all costs from any real pain; because, of course, five minutes genuine toothache would reveal the romantic sorrows for the nonsense they were and unmask your whole stratagem. But you were trying to damn your patient by the World, that is by palming off vanity, bustle, irony, and expensive tedium as pleasures. How can you have failed to see that real pleasure was the last thing you ought to have him to value? And that the sort of pleasure which the book and the walk gave him was the most dangerous of all? That it would peel off from his sensibilities the kind of crust you have been forming on it, and make him feel that he was coming home, recovering himself? As a preliminary to detaching him from the God, you wanted to detach him from himself. Now that is all undone.”
Lewis has much more to say about being vandalized of genuine simple pleasures and thrown off track in connection to God, but you get the point. Lewis also makes the observation that it is because we are at war – around us and within us – whether we like war or not.
So instead of making resolutions for the New Year, I have decided (again) to be more alert of where my time is being stolen from me and better aware of when I decide to make agreements not to do the things that refresh me, so I can not only have a more enriched life, but be in a healthier position to give back to others.
Do you have the same struggle? Be challenged to take time to do what makes you come alive.
Wishing you countless blessings in the New Year!