Consider: Refresh

Recently a new book came out, Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands by Shona & David Murray, that is an excellent resource for women feeling overwhelmed by responsibility and constant demands on their time and energy. The book discusses a visit to “Refresh Gym” for those facing or in the midst of burnout.

…there is a pace of running that will obtain the prize and a pace that won’t. A sprint pace will not win a long-distance race, although that’s what many of us try (and fail at). We try to run as fast as we can and even try to run everyone else’s race for them too. What miserable bondage! Now, having passed through Refresh Gym, many of us have learned that we must follow God’s race plan, a much more deliberate, grace-paced race, if we want to finish well.

There will be times when we have to run faster and push ourselves harder, but these times will be less frequent as we remind ourselves of the distance we have yet to run. These bursts of busyness and stress will be more frequently interspersed with refreshing recovery strategies, so that we will be much less likely to crash and burn as before. The occasional, sudden, immediate demands of our energy will not deplete us as before, because we have left margin in our lives.

If you feel the need for more intention and balance in your life, or are simply desperate to get your head above water, the book offers many practical insights across multiple areas of life. It’s also designed to walk through the gym one chapter (station) at a time, so you can take it at your own pace.

If you have read or do read this book, we’d love to hear your comments below.

Consider: Radical Womanhood

See words on household management below from Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley:

Homemaking is simply the collection of tasks that keep a home running. These tasks are no more the ultimate definition of “looking well to the ways of a household” than cleaning out electronic files, deleting email, answering the phone, and booking travel reservations are to the actual definition of office work. Every sphere has its repetitive tasks that contribute to the larger goal of productivity.

______

Though the marketplace does not value the home beyond what goods can be purchased for it, the ministry to be found there is of immense worth to the Lord. The stability of family relationships, the care of elderly or disabled family members, the discipling and training of children, the warm reception of guests, the making of a lifetime of memories, the daily modeling of biblical instruction, the fresh nourishment in an age of processed foods that contribute to our general ill health, the joy of a Christ-centered marriage — all of these things have long-lasting, if not eternal, effects… If we are wise, we will recognize this fact and consider whether the choices we are making are either actively building up or tearing down our homes (Proverbs 14:1 NIV)…

 

These books are only set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.

Consider: How Should I Manage Time?

The short booklet How Should I Manage Time? by Ryan M. McGraw has this to say about intentional living:

Now that we understand the biblical principles of the value of time, we can consider how to manage our time in a God-honoring way. We must distinguish between principles derived from Scripture, the fact that we must apply them, and the varied ways in which we may apply them. For example, we must meditate daily on the Word of God (Ps. 1:2). we may do this by prayerfully reading through the entire Bible in a year or through some other method. We may read at different times of the day and more at some times than others. Similarly, using time well means being intentional with how we use time.

If our wise priorities show up in what we do all day and each day, we are living with intention.

These books are only set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.

Reading

I am a bookworm. I LOVE books. They are a pleasure to read, touch, see, sort, collect, buy, smell. The only downside I’ve found is the risk of a paper cut, but that’s what a Kindle is for! Yes, I love e-readers, since they also unlock the treasure that is a book, but I will not digress further…

Bias aside, I will happily argue the benefits of reading and encourage you to read a book. Yes, it takes time, but consider the value of using some time this way.

Exercise Your Mind

The act of reading exercises your brain in a way that normal daily use does not. Absorbing the words on the pages takes mental effort — which is good! Focusing on a train of thought for page after page takes concentration that we rarely exercise anymore in the age of tweets and sound bites. As you read, you interact with the author’s thoughts and confirm or formulate your own. This time to think is priceless.

Open Your Mind

Very few of us are able to experience as much in person as we can peek into through a book. As Emily Dickinson said so well,

There is no Frigate like a Book  
To take us Lands away,  
Nor any Coursers like a Page  
Of prancing Poetry –   
This Traverse may the poorest take         
Without oppress of Toll –   
How frugal is the Chariot  
That bears a Human soul.

Help with Learning

You’d like to know how to better serve the nutritional needs of your family? There are books that delve into that topic and help you understand the science and benefits. Your good friend recently moved to Kenya? You can gain a better understanding of her new life by reading about the country and culture — through nonfiction and good fiction.

Reading also expands your vocabulary and boosts your writing skills. You may not be an author, but writing is a valuable tool at various points in our lives. Being able to wield it better will yield better results from that communication.

Promotes Good Health

There is promising research that reading helps with brain cell health, building up a reserve you may need in the future. Taking the time to read also helps reduce your stress level, and we are all familiar with the negative health effects of stress.

Provides for Social Interaction

Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, especially in a work of fiction or a biography, helps you see from another perspective. This helps you understand the people around you better; you gain empathy.

The more you read, the more you have to talk about. Small talk at your service! Your conversations will be richer, and you will have more to add.

Book clubs are also a great way to meet new friends, maintain relationships, and inject social time into your schedule. The fact that you read a book in the process is a bonus. If you have a good library system available, you can reap all these benefits for a minimal financial investment.

And More

There are more detailed benefits and plenty of research on the topic, but hopefully this is enough to get you thinking…and maybe even enough to get you to pick up a book. Enjoy it!