Photo by Gabrielle Allman I am so thankful, on this fall morning, for the peace and freedom that I am experiencing right now! I have been writing a book and have a deadline for the… More
I get a lot of feed back from people in regards to their seeming inability to be able to carve out quiet time for themselves. Taking that another step further, I had the opportunity last week to present a holistic health message to nurses and managers in the skilled nursing facility setting, and self-care is a big concern. We can all struggle with making space or creating margin in our lives, but it is imperative for over all physical and emotional health. Even beyond that, we are spiritual beings who need to be connected to the source of our strength and to know what to pursue and what to relinquish. The development of a spiritual practice helps us to navigate those questions so we can live fully in our humanity.
I have been a long time fan of Henri Nouwen. Henri, who is now deceased, has been a beloved author, priest, and world famous spiritual counselor and guide, who’s writings continue to inspire and re align his readers in profound ways.
I am re- reading his book Spiritual Direction and I was struck by this;
Developing ears to hear God takes time. We all have strong resistances to listening. First of all, we find it very hard to create empty spaces in our lives and to give up our occupations and preoccupations, even for a while. We suffer from a fear of the empty space. We are so concerned with being useful, effective, and in control that a useless ineffective, and uncontrollable moment scares us and drives us right back to the security of having something valuable to do.
I know that for myself, when I am taking my daily morning time to be alone and meditate, I can feel as though I am “wasting” time and my mind will begin to fill with chatter. Thoughts of my to do list, the kids activities, the bathroom that needs cleaned….whatever, will start to infiltrate my mind until I push them back and give myself permission and encouragement to be still. The truth is, I cannot go very many days with out long periods of alone time to start my day.
The morning spiritual practice is so integrated into my life, it is as if I am cutting off my right arm or not drinking water when I defer it at all. The more you are intentional about it, the more deeply it embeds into who you are. The Bible says that Jesus retreated often and the New Testament talks about “praying continuously”. For me this looks like at least an hour in the morning of reading the Bible, in my head or out loud, and writing my prayers out. I have a designated space in my bedroom where I do this. When I am exceptionally pressured, I set my alarm and do not allow my self to get pulled away into a different direction. I often times write one scripture or a short theme out on a post it note and refer to it through out the day. Any time I start to get anxious about any situation, I pause and read it and it puts me back into The Vine (John 15:5), the source of strength. As you are intentional about creating this time for yourself, others will begin to understand, respect and give you your space- but that will only happen after you show consistency in guarding it and making it a priority.
Do we want to see the truth in our lives? Maybe we don’t….maybe it is easier if we don’t. Henri went on to say this in the same chapter; Resistance in the form of preoccupation and distraction often prevents us from seeing the truth of our lives, hearing God’s voice and living a spiritual life. To listen with obedience to the voice of God requires building up a resistance to all the other voices that compete for our attention.
I know for myself, the spiritual practice continues to be a persistent intentional routine, but it has also become a deep place of peace that no other thing or person on earth can replicate. I have had times where I knew I was running, so to speak, from hearing the voice of truth in my life. It leaves one empty and shallow. If we are going to tap into who we really were created to be and tap into the things we were expressly created to do in this short time called life, we are going to have to spend time with The Creator.
I encourage you to create empty spaces in your life. Decide to swim against the water of culture and abide in the place you were designed to be. This is not time wasted, it is value added. Do not be afraid of the quietness, be intentional and begin your spiritual journey<3
* Honest Aromas offers Christian Life Coaching! If you would like more information on this idea, visit juliaallman.com
This is the message I communicated to my kids today on the way to school, after my son told me about the rejection he received when he asked a peer group if he could be their friend and they flat out said, “no”.
I said; You have value. Not because of who you know, what groups you are in, how well you succeed, what people want to hang out with you, or what natural ability or talent you have. You have significance because, the Creator of the Universe loves you, accepts you, forgives you and you are pleasing to Him. And Whether you do well or you screw up, that is never going to change. There is No One else out there who is you!
My heart is burning within me to share that with all of you! It is rock solid truth and it will never change. This week has been National Suicide Awareness week in the U.S. I have been, as I am sure you have been, affected in some way by this tragic choice. I have even had times in my life that I seriously contemplated suicide, because I felt hopeless and useless. That is the deception of deceptions and a lie carried to us by the adversary of our souls. You and I matter! The literature from the Personal Life Mission course I am participating in right now says it spot on;
No body has your wiring and your history. Nobody! This gives you a unique place in the world and even greater things for your future!
Do you believe it? I do, and I am walking this path of wholeness with you and would love to hear from you today!
This post is to encourage me as much as I hope to encourage you! I shared a sample of it yesterday on LinkedIn.
This weekend I was a vendor at a festival that , in the past, has been wildly successful. The temp had dropped about 20 degrees and all day there was a persistent, steady rain. It was quite gloomy.
For the first 2 hours I only had one customer. I know for certain God sent me that customer, because He wanted to reveal something to me in the way of perspectives. His name was Logan and he was an amazing 5th grade young man, who wanted to buy a migraine inhaler for his mother (so thoughtful!). He said, “she would love your business!!”, because she ran a yoga studio and likes to use Aromatherapy with yoga. He then asked me if I would like her name and number!! (Natural Net Worker!)
He told me how his dad was called in last minute to make hamburgers for this particular event, (good example of a positive attitude, dad!). He told me how his dad played football in college, how his grandpa was pro football until he was injured and how he instead chose wrestling and loves it! (Confident, non-conformer!) He told me he decided to check out the vendors while his dad was busy. (Showing flexibility in his own morning plans being changed.)
Through the things Logan said with his mouth and said with his body language, he completely inspired me to be my best despite the circumstances! His confidence and positivity was a stark contrast to the dismal, complaining vendors who surrounded me. This interaction with Logan encouraged me to continue to stand up, smile and bring some sunshine to the attendees through out the day, and finish strong when others were closing up shop early.
Guess what? I didn’t do so bad! My sales were down from previous years but they were definitely worth the effort of participating. I also engaged in mutually helpful conversations and made some great contacts…including Logan’s mom! I noticed that the vendors who were hunkered down in their seats who were just trying to stay warm, had little or no traffic. Passers by would look over at their booth, but there was no warm invite to proceed in for a closer look!
Through this interaction, I realized that all of the things I have been learning the last several years: the mind renewal, the Autism education, family dynamic counseling, therapies, the set backs, the messiness… has all just really served to make me a stronger, more positive person! I tend to look through situations now and ask God what He is doing in them! I most likely would not have had such a long conversation with such a wonderful young man (who by the way, could be a better employee at age 11, than most!) if it had been a sun-shiny, busy festival day. I definitely give thanks for that opportunity! It was my absolute joy and pleasure.
The moral is: Stay Positive despite your circumstances- there is always something to learn and some way to grow through it. There is also another moral: I can tell Logan is well loved and cared for- parenting is a tough job and it is never too late to start over with your kids! No one holds more influence over them than you! #makeadifference #there’sonlyoneyou
I am right here with you walking this path of wholeness and I would love to hear from you today!
There was a traveler who at first saw nothing of the light that was shining in the wood
After a while the thought moved softly-“I am with you all the days and all the day long”.
But just as a flower never presses it’s sweetness upon anyone but freely gives to him who desires it, and to him as often as he will,
So that thought of peace did not force itself upon the traveler,
and yet it did offer to his lips a cup of healing.
And then, but how it came to be so has never yet been told,
the gloom of the darkness was gone,
the light in the wood shone forth,
and the glory thereof. – Amy Carmichael
Do you remember in the movie City Slickers when the character, Ed, said his best and worst day were the same day? I relate to that in this way; that the things in my life that could have potentially destroyed me, have been the very things that have given me grit and determination to change. Those times have been the catalyst to eventually propel me into my best self and my best potential.
I have found that the humility I have learned in failure has been fertile ground for authenticity and given me a more meaningful way to relate to others.
I am sitting here this morning in my quiet place. The corner space in my room, next to a window that has been designated for prayer and meditation. I am reading Psalm 91, H.C.G Moule and Beth Moore. As I feel a cool, gentle breeze touching my shoulder after a humid, sticky night, I find that I am in very good company. The words that I am reading were written by people who have a deep understanding of failure. The constant theme is; what is impossible with man, is possible with God.
It is not only that God loves, knows and relates to us, in real time, through Jesus Christ…which is pretty mind blowing. It is that He can still prove inexhaustible and victorious in our mortal flesh today! It is also that, He and He alone, can set us free from the slavery of sin. And it is further, that because He has set His love upon us He will deliver us.
I am sitting here right now, drinking in His love and mercy. His absolute encouragement and inspiration toward me to lift my eyes up to the mountains from where my help comes from. The awesome overwhelmedness that He is a master at taking ashes and creating beautiful things out them. He really wants to do that for me and for you today and every day!
Thank you God that the things that the devil meant to destroy me have been turned for good in your hand. Thank you God for your Holy Spirit that leads me in to all truth and uses my life to help other’s with their’s. I am overwhelmed as I sit in your presence. I thank you for the other’s who have gone before me and have transparently encouraged me by their trials, struggles and failures. As difficult as the road has been, I thank you that you did not allow me to become hardened. You kept my heart soft and vulnerable, so that you could continue to teach me and I could continue to encourage others with the comfort I have received. And I thank you that you, and you alone, can grow the most beautiful creations out of seemingly impossible conditions.
I am walking this path of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today.
I have two friends who, right now, are going through tremendous times of pain. It is excruciating for me to watch, there is nothing….well very little, I can do for them.
My one friend has lost her closest brother to suicide. He was a highly decorated Marine in our United States Marine Corps. He went on from there to become a highly distinguished Navy Seal. He literally gave his life for our country and it’s people. For all of his post trauma, he could not re enter life when he got home. My heart breaks and my eyes swell even as I write. What do you do with this kind of pain?
My other friend has just given birth to a child with severe Spina Bifida. The baby’s back never closed while she was growing safe and snug in her mama’s womb. The amniotic fluid that serves as safety to typical babies became a daily threat to her nerves and muscles that were exposed to it every minute of every day. Before she even had a chance to suck at her mother’s breast, all six pounds of her was taken into life threatening surgery. The details of how you manage three other children and recover from your own, less than perfect, surgery while trying to care for this new life, is more than any one can communicate- but this is my friend’s life right now.
I know something of pain myself. I have had a lot of it in fact. Maybe that is why I can so deeply feel other’s pain when they experience it, which is a silver lining in living through a lot of distress. It is a silver lining because I can relate, be understanding and unselfish in terms of what I get out of that particular relationship. Many times people tend to want you to “snap to it” and “be yourself”, grieve quickly and move on. I am not a grieve quickly kind of person, but the flip side is that I can love in a deeper and more gratifying way too.
This was my prayer to my friend this morning who did not sleep because the baby had become swollen and was draining liquid from her brain and the doctors did not know why.
The brokenness is over whelming we can scarcely stand it, we want to jump out of our skin and flee! Give strength in the pain God and be the rock of salvation, the cornerstone, the hiding place of peace in the storm. Be the light in the darkness and the hope. You are our all in all. You are life. Give, be and have life through us, through the baby. Be somehow glorified and magnified in this and every situation. Amen.
F.B. Meyer ( Author and English Evangelist, working in Inner Cities around the turn of the century) said;
Go to God with your question; get direction from the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal If only you will get alone, where the disturbance of self will does not intrude, where human opinions failed to reach- and if you will dare to wait there silent and expectant, through all around you insist on immediate decision or action- the will of God will be made clear: and you will have a new name in addition, a new conception of God, a deeper insight into the His nature and heart of love, which shall be for yourself alone- a rapturous experience, to abide as your precious possession forever, the rich reward for those long waiting hours.
There are times in life when we simply have to wait and while we wait, we have to endure and press forward in the moment. We all experience pain and the degree we measure our pain cannot be against the pain of another human being. We can run… I have done that. We can mask…I have been there as well. Or we can run and hide into wholeness. Into The One who takes the pain in real time and brings shalom in the waiting hours.
I am right here walking this path of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today.
My Life Coach suggested that I write down my top ten affirmations to combat the negative internal dialog that takes place from time to time in my mind.
These are ten affirmations that I have absolutely clung to in the last three years. They have shifted my thinking and propelled my life forward and I thought I would share them with you:)
- God is truth and He is invoking a blessing over my life and releasing me from my past.
- Christ is my life, He is my all and all. He and I are joined together in one Spirit. He lives in me now, not I, He is the fullness, the power, the strength and all I need and that is a fact now.
- I am God’s Beloved, He made me in eternity
- I am loved, accepted, forgiven and pleasing to God, therefore I can love accept, forgive and be pleasing to my self and others.
- God is removing cherished sin from my heart and making me free.
- I trust in God and I will let God rescue me. I delight in Him and He is delivering me.
- God has plans to prosper and not harm me, to give me a future and a hope.
- God is building me and I will be re built.
- In returning and rest I am being saved, in quietness and confidence is my strength.
- God’s statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
You have probably noticed that they all find their root in scriptures. The Bible says that:
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
I believe there is something very deep that goes on in my mind and in a spiritual realm that we cannot see when we use scripture as a weapon for our daily battles.
I am right here walking this road of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today.