With the weather changing for the better, spring cleaning has been on my mind. No, I’m not talking about knocking back the dust and cobwebs at my house (although it sure could use a thorough cleaning).
I’m talking about a spring cleaning of the spirit.
What parts of your life need a little fresh air and sunshine? Perhaps you have let self-care lapse over the winter. When the needs of our families and friends are great, taking time for the self can seem selfish. As our business expands, our time for ourselves contracts. Mentoring other women is a privilege, but all too often we add those hours by subtracting “me” hours. Chipping away at self-care leads to a dull spirit. A dull spirit interferes with our relationships with business associates, friends, family, and God.
Choosing to care for your self – body, mind, and spirit – is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and others.
If you are out of practice, here are a few suggestions for a spiritual spring cleaning:
- Take a walk outside. Whether morning, noon, or night, getting out in God’s creation is renewing. While observing the wonders of spring – blooming flowers, budding trees, singing birds – we connect with one who created all these things.
Spending time with God in this way is like spending time with a good friend. You don’t need a lot of words to enjoy one another’s company. Being together is enough to boost the spirit.
Psalm 93:4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the LORD!
- Laugh. When is the last time you laughed so hard that you cried? If we are too busy to take joy in life, we are too busy. Wake up each day expecting to see, hear, and feel God’s pleasure in you and your life.
At the end of the day, look back for the unusual, the absurd, the strange, and other moments that will bring a smile to your face. Realize that God is smiling right along with you.
Proverbs 17:22a A cheerful heart is a good medicine.
- Return to a favorite hobby. If you have set aside your needlepoint, biking, reading, dancing, cooking or other activity, decide to invest in yourself by picking up your hobby again. Far from being a time-waster or selfish, doing those things that refresh you make you better able to withstand life’s challenges.
Provided the hobby is wholesome and does not distract one from God, you should not hesitate to engage in it.
Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.
- Be still. This may be the hardest thing a woman has to do. If you are the consummate multi-tasker, the idea of doing ‘nothing’ is foreign. Yet how else can we really listen to our hearts and our God? We know from experience the difference between hearing and listening – words may enter the ear, but if they do not enter the heart those words make no change in our living.
Take a few minutes every day to center your heart and mind upon the one who created you and pay attention to the feelings and thoughts that arise. You may be delighted at what you hear!
Psalm 46:10a “Be still, and know that I am God!”
Please do not read this posting and think, “Oh, I’ve got more stuff to do!” These words are meant as an encouragement to busy women.
Do you care for yourself as much as you care for others?
Do you love yourself as well as you love others?
Find moments to care for your body, mind, and spirit and you will discover that you have more power, strength, and wisdom than you have previously realized. Be blessed this Easter season!
About Carol Pazdersky
Carol Pazdersky is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. She serves Bel Air UMC in Bel Air, MD, as the Pastor for Congregational Care and Missions/Outreach and on the Boards of Faith Communities and Civic Agencies United and Be the Change Baltimore addressing issues of homelessness. On a daily basis, Carol ministers with women who are seeking to balance their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. She is a wife, mother of three young adults, daughter of aging parents, friend, and animal lover and on the same journey to find balance. Her sermons are archived on the following sites: www.MtCarmelChapel.org and www.BAUMC.com.
I’m Carol Pazdersky, a pastor at Bel Air United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD (Jory’s church). Spiritual formation is my passion! I have seen so many women facing burn-out because of the heavy load they carry—being a supportive partner, involved parent, care-giving daughter, strong business leader, and dedicated friend. With all that is happening, the spiritual life can take a back-seat—and without the firm foundation of Jesus, we may feel like a dry well. What are your greatest spiritual needs? How can I offer support and encouragement for your journey? On the other hand, some women have figured out the balance between faith, family, friendship, and business. I would love to have you share your wisdom as well. Email me at pazderskyc@ baumc.com with your victories, challenges, questions, and thoughts, and I will respond to them in the coming months. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you.