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Gentle Reminders

Gentle Reminders

I feel as if the past two months have gone by so fast. The transitions from day to day, and week to week, sometimes feel like they did before the world pressed pause. I know this might not be the case for everyone, but it’s true what they say, old habits die hard. Old habits of hurry, old habits that involve going through the motions. Old habits of not being fully present. These are habits I have been working to break for what feels like a very long time. I really don’t want to look back and just wonder where the time has gone. I don’t want to wish I would have done this or said that or noticed what was right in front of my face but was too clouded to see. These old habits are more often than not the ones that induce the most stress. They disconnect us from ourselves, and above that they have a tendency to disconnect us from our heavenly father.

For the past few weeks I have felt a bit disconnected. Disconnected from the children at work. Disconnected from my writing. Disconnected from God. I can’t help but wonder why that is? What has shifted over the past week?

I mentioned this to my co-workers the other day. I asked “what has changed from July to August?” and “why do I feel so different?” They both agreed that things feel different too. We have all become very aware of how our feelings affect one another. There has been a lot of change recently and even more to come, and with change comes uncertainty. With uncertainty, anxiety. Stress.

I have also noticed how much my mental state affects these children. Maybe things haven’t “changed” per say, but rather I haven’t been seeing things the way I was in July. Those fresh back to work eyes entered every day with anticipation, and an overwhelming sense of appreciation. I think that’s what God did for me when I was away. Gave me fresh eyes to see things differently. To see every day for the opportunity it held. He promised me new mercies every morning and because of this promise I re-entered this space with the utmost gratitude. I didn’t want to waste a single moment I had been given.

I still feel this way, I truly do, but something has shifted, and this morning it finally hit me. I have become clouded by old habits and I have allowed this cloud to shift my mindset. Instead of anticipation I feel exhausted. Instead of seeing opportunity I have felt overwhelmed. Instead of gratitude I have been clouded by irritation over the small things. Things that I cannot control. I didn’t want this to happen but in the past few weeks I have forgotten God’s promise as I enter each new day.

As I entered the room this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard yesterday was. I also couldn’t stop thinking that I didn’t want today to feel that way again. I wanted to feel the way I felt only a few short weeks ago. I wanted those fresh eyes back. Naturally, I turned on my worship music and set my phone down on the table. I continued wandering around the room, and left my phone sitting outside. As I stood at the counter, with only one child in the room, I felt overwhelmed by the quiet that surrounded me. Then, through the silence I heard my phone playing softly out in the yard. Immediately I felt so much joy, and as I turned around to go out and grab it, I watched the child walking towards me holding my phone.

As she walked closer the words “He will lift the anxious and the weary, calling home the burdened and the lost,” filled the space between us. I was speechless, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

In that moment I felt something shift inside of me. It was as if God was providing me with a gentle reminder to be present. He was reminding me to let go of the stress and anxiety I had been feeling. He knew I was feeling lost, and longing for those fresh eyes again. In that moment He gave them back to me. What had become so clouded by routine and old habits was not lost, it was still right there. I just needed that gentle reminder.

When everything was stripped away it became so much easier to listen for and recognize those little reminders God gives us. But just as quickly as things stopped, things have started back up again. And what happens once we become swept back up into our old ways of being?

I’m not proud to admit it, but my time spent with God has definitely taken a hit since going back to work. And not to assume, but I’m guessing many of you can also relate to this feeling. There is just too much going on in a day, and not enough time right?

Spending time with God was so easy when I wasn’t at work. It had become a normal part of each and every day for me. I was so in tune to the ways He was speaking because I didn’t have anything else clouding my mind. I don’t know if spending time with God has become harder now, I just think my priorities have shifted a little. I think I started to forget how important it was to bring Him in to my everyday, no matter what that looks like now. Just as life keeps shifting and changing, my relationship with God needs to shift too.

So how do you prioritize God amidst the “busy,” amidst the “normal,” amidst the day to day “work grind?”

What I’m slowly learning is I don’t need to “schedule” Him into my life, I just need to pause and listen. And above that I need to make the conscious choice to invite Him in. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, invite God in. When I’m feeling anxious, invite God in. When I’m feeling confused, invite God in. And the list goes on and on.

When God is the first person you invite in, those stressful feelings begin to fade. I know this. And it seems so simple writing it now, but for whatever reason I had forgotten how powerful His gentle reminders truly are.

If you’re struggling with yet another transition, navigating a new way of being, or feeling clouded by the little things, it’s okay. Actually, it’s more than okay, because you’re not alone. God sees you in it and He’s waiting for you to invite Him in.

If you’re anxious. If you’re weary. If you’re burdened. If you’re lost.

Pause and listen.

He’s calling you home too.

Kerstan Cooper