Process

Isaiah 44:19

New Living Translation (NLT)

19 The person who made the idol never stops to reflect,
    “Why, it’s just a block of wood!cartoon man thinking
I burned half of it for heat
    and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat.
How can the rest of it be a god?
    Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?”

Do I ever stop to reflect?

I’ve noticed how much I live my life in a rushed, busy, minute-to-minute mentality.  There’s always something more I’m squeezing into the day, or something that I can do in the 30 minute time-lapse between one activity and the next.  Some of the “busyness”  is comprised of the small everyday obligations like packing lunches, getting sleepy kids ready and off to school, running errands, making lists & buying groceries.  Some are optional/desirable activities such as connecting with friends, working out (ok, maybe this isn’t optional for me!), serving/volunteering, being a listening ear or stopping at my favorite thrift store to see if they have what I’m looking for 🙂 But regardless, life is hectic! Anyone else out there feel like this?

There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with having an active, engaging schedule; however, we sure can miss some of the deep meaningful moments that could simply enrich our lives when we don’t allowing ourselves time to process the life that we live. The older I get, the more apparent this becomes to me. We need to take the time to reflect and process.

I’ll be sitting in a church service and really resonating with the message. Taking notes I’ll think, “wow, this is something I want to implement in my life” or “I need to look into this thought more”. But how often do I actually go back and dig deeper into what I wrote and what I felt was so important after that Sunday service? Not often enough. I miss out on growing in that particular area because I didn’t take the time to process….

I went on a jam-packed, 16-day, several country trip tromp through Europe this summer with my husband. I had every intention of journaling and capturing my daily experiences so I could go back and reflect on them; however, we crammed in so much that I didn’t really even take time for that. Upon getting back to the states on a Sunday evening, we had cancelled flights, found a flight into a different city, rented a car, picked up kids at 1am, and regular crazy life began on Monday morning.

Don’t we need a day after a trip,vacation, or retreat to just PROCESS it all? While it’s hard to describe, I feel like my trip is left ‘incomplete’ in my mind because I never stopped to take in all of the experiences…I missed out on the fullness of the adventure because I didn’t’ take the time to process…

I sat out at a park that I stopped at last week on one of the last gorgeous warm days of the year, enjoying the sound of the water falling from the reservoir next to me, the sun beating on my back, and the opportunity to take a last minute detour to sit outside and just journal and work on my Bible study in peace. I wrote. I contemplated. I took it all in! Looking around and realizing what I had at that moment sent an unexplainable feeling of joy and gratitude deep into my soul!  I took the time to process…

While everyone is different and processes life differently, we all can grow in this area and try new things. If you haven’t taken the time to try one of the following, I challenge you to do so:

1) Journal/Write – whether daily, or just for specific experiences or intense feelings

2) Meditate/Think – I’m not talking about “New-Agey” stuff, I’m talking about making time for reflection and piecing together thoughts, experiences, and how they apply to your own life.

3) Actively Look Around & Think Deeper – not used to this subject of ‘processing’? Try to take your thoughts one step deeper. Ex: Instead of just reading a verse in the Bible, study the meaning and application, look at the context, read it in different versions, do a word study, look around at other verses that have a similar concept. (Psalm 119:15, “I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.)

4) Discuss – Talk about your experiences, thoughts, and feelings with a close friend. Share the details of a vacation, the feelings you have after holding that baby, or the thoughts that come to mind when someone said something to you.

The definition of the verb “to process” is: To gain an understanding or acceptance of; come to terms with.

Instead of just jumping back into our hectic lives and never getting the full value or potential out of what our experiences have to offer, let’s attempt to take time to gain all that we can from life, to grow in every experience. Let’s take the time to process.

Take just a few minutes. To think. To meditate. To take it all in. To process.

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