Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Deconstructing Lowe’s “Never Stop Improving” in My Life



What I’m about to tell you next could shock you. Good, now that you’ve been warned I’ll continue. You know what I’m about here. Growth, improving, movement of all kinds.

I was watching a Lowe’s commercial the other day (one of my daughter’s favorites) and I got to thinking (yikes, there I go again) what if there are times in life when we are to still, to allow work to be done quietly inside us rather than rush around accomplishing, improving, bettering?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge advocate of growth. I love how the Lowe’s commercial shows neighbors inspired by one another. Love that. But here’s something I’m also gleaning lately.

We can only control so much. We can work until the cows come home, pigs fly, and Chicken Little hollers the sky is falling but at some point we’re wise to lean in to the art of contentment.

Not a give up, sit here and do nothing idea of contentment. But a state of being where we find peace in the now. In the messy. In the not there yet. Peace amidst the chaos.

Three of the best methods I’ve found to help get me to this place of peace…

Rest
When I’m running on all cylinders it communicates more to me about my state of mind than my state of being. It’s as though my actions are screaming at me I’m overdue for a long sit down.

Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself when I’m not working—when I’m not in constant motion. And that kind of freaks me out.

When we rest we grant ourselves valuable time to let our bodies replenish and our minds to refresh. My perspective has a tendency to get all out of whack when I rob myself of rest time.

Reflect
I’m not referring to long looks back, the stuff that zapped Lot’s wife into salt here folks. Instead, I’m referring to a good hike. Moments spent in nature or near a graveyard where we’re able to get a solid refresher of just how fragile this life is—how temporal. Time to remember what’s important to us. When we carve out time for reflection we honor life.

Realign
This is the most influential R for me. Our natural tendency is to steer off course. You know this. I’m not telling you anything new. No matter how long we’ve poured into faith we’re still bound to gravitate toward our own will. Our way. When I’m flooded with projects, insistent on completing one more thing, and crowding my calendar so it’s difficult to find time to breathe, I’m missing opportunities to realign. To remember why I’m here and that I can write another novel, plant another flower bed, or spring clean my heart out and I’ll still be loved the same as when I didn’t carve out time to write novels, had a black Grim Reaper thumb, and my house was in shambles.

I can’t earn more love by speeding up. I can’t make it so I’m loved more.
I’m enough.
For my God I’m enough.

Want to know the crazy part as I deconstruct this thought?

As soon as I’m able to rest in the realignment of where I stand with God, I find myself craving to work hard for him. To become more forgiving, less bitter, more patient…

And so inject myself in the cycle of Rs again so I’m not fooled into thinking I’m earning his love, his acceptance, or his approval by my actions.
Rest.
Reflect.
Realign.

I never want to stop improving. But I always don’t ever want to forget that I’m not loved for what I do but for who I am.

His.

Do you ever have to discipline yourself to slow down? Are there times you fight your restless nature (like I do) and buy into the thinking that if you do more, accomplish more you are becoming…more? What helps remind you that you are enough?

 My beautiful friend Michelle DeRusha pointed me in the direction of this relevant quote recently:
"We live under the illusion that if we can acquire complete control, we can understand God. Or we can write the great American novel. But the only way we can brush against the hem of the Lord, or hope to be part of the creative process, is to have the courage, the faith, to abandon control." Madeleine L’Engle




*I’ve loved celebrating recently released books written by my rockin’ friends. This week I urge you to check out sweet supporter and friend, Susan J. Reinhardt’s, The Moses Conspiracy!

14 comments:

  1. Wendy, my friend, if you wrote this post for no one else, you wrote it for me.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Beth. You are always so good at fueling me with that!

      Delete
  2. Oh, Wendy, this post is perfect. I so often have to remind myself to slow down, even recently had to make myself stop almost completely. And it was one of the most rewarding times of my life. Thank you for this post, friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So cool to learn about the true rewards you've experienced recently. I'm teaching myself to slow down but it's definitely a work in process.

      Delete
  3. What a great reminder. I was forced to slow down this past week while our college daughter was home for a visit, and it did me a world of good. I'm not saying it was easy, but it was worthwhile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing like family to get us to slow down and really delight in QT. Hope you had a great time together, Keli.

      Delete
  4. Oh I love this! Especially the part on realignment...I actually feel like I've had some realigning time in the past couple weeks, particularly in the week before Easter. And you're so right...often it's once I get realigned that I then get excited about working hard again. And there's an upside and a downside to that. The excitement and the energy, those are awesome. But not if, like you said, I dip into thinking I need to earn God's love or approval...really, REALLY appreciated this post, Wendy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool to hear you were able to realign recently! Thanks for continued encouragement, Melissa. Loved your guest post recently.

      Delete
  5. Hi Wendy -

    I tend to work until I drop. Those times of refreshing are so necessary, but too often I neglect them. Thank you for the reminder to rest, reflect, and realign.

    Thanks also for the shout-out about The Moses Conspiracy. I'm awestruck at the miracle God did for me. What I couldn't accomplish in my own strength, He did in a moment.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exciting times for you, Susan! I work until I drop too. Must be why I sleep so well (most of the time).

      Delete
  6. We must be in the same mood, Wendy, because I've been slowing down (just a smidge) all week. I love that we are enough for God. That sustains me. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I could handle it if that weren't true. I'd turn everything into a rat race.

      Delete
  7. Thankful living helps me to stay content. All I have to do is look in the faces of all my blessings and the stuff I don't have yet dims in comparison. Great post, Wendy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy,
      That's a huge part of my post this week. Shaking up our perspective can do wonders.

      Delete

Introducing . . . The After Glimpse

Corrine Boulder, Landon Young, and Aria Glynn share something inexplicable in common. They’ve all lost loved ones two years ago to the ...