For bone-weary Burb Moms who need to recollect themselves and reconnect with the Divine.
This week’s encouragement is to practice the spiritual discipline of unplugging. Did you know “unplugging” was a spiritual discipline? That’s what we call it these days but it addresses the universal and timeless need to recollect our senses and our selves from “out there” to “in here” where me and God live. It takes the first step of recollection by removing the distractions, the biggest obstacles God would have to climb over to get your attention. In my life it means I literally need to unplug…from the internet, email, Facebook, online games, and dare I say even Burb Moms. (It’ll be ok. It’s only for a time. We can get through this.)
I thought it important to address this now because we are in the season of family vacations. This offers a wonderful opportunity to unplug and to strengthen many virtues. Right now I sit in front of open suitcases that will miraculously be packed and loaded in the car for a departure in less than 8 hours. I know you’ve been there, so I know you’ll understand when I say we take more than just our visible baggage when we go with family to visit family. Sister, if life is ever going to present you with an opportunity to practice unplugging and recollecting yourself, a car trip with children is it! A visit to the in-laws you say? Going to visit your own family? You’ve got a family member who knows where all your buttons are? Heaven help us, we need a spiritual survival guide! Yes, it is often easier to distract ourselves or our children with technology but unplugging creates space to have face-to-face human interaction and an opportunity to make a Divine Connection.
Here’s a method of recollecting yourself I teach people who are going through anxious times. When you are so upset you can’t calm down enough to pray, sit comfortably in a chair and take a few deep breaths. Maybe a method of self-comfort like rubbing your earlobes or progressively tightening and then relaxing your muscles will help you center and remind you everything will be ok. Then, lean with your elbows on your knees and try to pray. Turn the palms of your hands up toward God as you pray. When troubling or distracting thoughts come, turn the palms of your hands toward the ground letting your wrists hang limp. Imagine the thoughts running down your fingertips into the ground. When you’ve dumped them, turn your palms and your attention back to God. You may need to release many thoughts into the ground initially but soon, because you’ve addressed them, your mind will be freed from the clamoring of emotion and God can enter in and comfort your soul. God offers real comfort, better than a phone call to a friend or an online distraction.
Mark Thibodeaux has a great book called “God I Have Issues: 50 Ways to Pray No Matter How You Feel”. Each section is titled by an emotion you’re experiencing, i.e. judgemental, unforgiving, angry, sad, etc. His section titled “Family” begins with this verse: “When his own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost his senses.” (Mark 3:21) You ever get that kind of treatment from your family? Please don’t lose your senses this vacation season. By unplugging you are able to be fully present and uninterrupted in your interactions with God and others. You’ll be amazed at what more you can see–be it the real need behind a person’s behavior so you can pray they receive that grace–or the places where you contribute to the problem so you can pray for grace of your own. You might even see where God is moving in a person’s life, even yours. I pray that in your practice of unplugging, you catch a glimpse of the Divine backside 🙂 and make a Divine Connection.