I have been reflecting on coffee culture. Our habits that have us consuming coffee daily to get us moving, thinking and communicating. I arrange to meet friends for a coffee, we talk over coffee, we cry over our coffee. How do you do life without it? For me giving up coffee is fraught with difficulty. When I have taken myself off caffeine I have been an ‘ ugly’, difficult woman. But in the lat week I keep reading about how less caffeine might be good for me. It will help my sleep, my sense of peace, my pace of life. I want to be able to work hard but not at the expense of my heart racing or being awake at 3 am. So how might things go if I were to slow life a little and remove my coffee fix? Will you join me to stop rushing, stop consuming and find the real me, buried between layers of caffeine? Let’s do it.
It has been cold today. The week is busy and everyone seems to have a dozen different things on the go. Mid Week Dinner needs to be fast, ‘food on the go’. I have a long repertoire of fast food, one pot wonders where I can add so much goodness and spice and flavour. And the prep is easy. The final product wholesome.
This is a version of chilli con carne but less heavy. Some premium mince beef, sautéed with onion, garlic, carrot, celery; all topped with diced can tomatoes, chilli, red kidney beans, curry powder and chilli. Add a little water and season to taste. At the last minute add green beans. Serve in bowls with steamed rice and garnish with fresh coriander.
I have been thinking a lot about prayer. How I long to pray more, longer, better, more wholeheartedly. I am convinced that this is what we were made for. To pray, to worship and honour and glorify our maker. However, I suspect that most of us struggle.
I convince myself that if I think about an issue, idea, person for long enough then I have probably prayed about it. Or if I conference with a friend over coffee then I have somehow handed it over to the one above. But both of those practices are ineffective. And God knows it.
Sometimes I do rifle shot prayers, as Matt Chandler calls them. They get His attention. They get mine. But they fail to deepen my relationship or reliance on Him.
Just like anything, any relationship of value and importance we need time. Quiet time. Time and a place to give to nurture that relationship. And this is not an easy task – life is busy, loud, demanding, stressful. Chandler’s encouragement to rebuild by prayer from the book of Nehemiah is encouraging, practical. How do you find time to pray?
Some days feel this way don’t they? I don’t think we really have any other option but to keep hanging on. What we make our knot out of, now that is another matter.
- My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
- On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
- All other ground is sinking sand.
There has been this sense that life is not quite right. That the balance is out, that I am not investing in the right things. And yet all of the things I do seem to be firmly, front and centre on my to do list. I care for our family, our home, love my man, engage with friends and the local community. And yet still agitation persists.
We have had over a week with sickness plaguing our home. So it is not surprising that I am tired, a little anxious about when and where the next sick episode will strike and predisposed to thinking negatively about the days events.
Agitation, the emotional state of excitement or restlessness probably describes me right now. I am restless because my routine has to be abandoned to accommodate sick children. I have rescheduled work, coffee dates and the usual home duties have changed. I do more laundry, more cooking meals for the family and have had to say no to some things I love. But do I acknowledge this change? Am I dealing with it? The answer is probably….not.
Agitation needs to meet peace. I know where to go…..
Slow down, pray more and stop multitasking.
Well it could have been written for me. Slow down, of course I need to do that. Pray, yes more, wholehearted, meaningful prayer. Time to speak and time to listen. But you know it was the multitasking element that challenged me most.
I am used to praying while taking a shower, making dinner, knitting, driving kids to school. In fact I am likely to be answering a text message while making dinner, helping with school homework and trying to send up an SOS prayer. Does it sound familiar?
Probably my role in life right now means that I will do several tasks at once, often in my day. It is how I operate. But when it comes to prayer – communicating with our maker, there needs to be more than a random, ad hoc SOS. I need time. A space and place to focus. Permission to stop everything else. Time to slow down.
After a week of sickness, that still prevails our home I had to make chicken soup. But not your average soup. This is my Mama’s soup, a simple blend of free range chicken pieces, loads of fresh ginger, onions, some store bought stock and a dash of sesame oil. This broth has been made for special occasions and served with rice noodles, it has been offered to women post birth and for those who are ill. Some of us were still feeling a little flaky today so Sesame Chicken Broth was made to cure all ills, nourish the soul and calm the mind. Finding I had a bit more energy late morning my little people helped me create little wontons to eat with the broth. It was good. Wellness.
There is nothing better than to be curled up with someone you love. I have been trying to teach some of my girls how to knit. It is a slow…..very slow process. Lots of checking and encouraging and repeating steps. I suspect we will have ‘bits’ of knitting lying around the house for weeks. Do you know how to knit? I wonder if a Mama or grandma or friend taught you how when you were young.
It is so important to take the time to share our knowledge with our kids. Knitting is slow. Therapeutic. And warm in this colder weather. Knit 1for me.
I realise that I am not good at stopping still. Taking time out. Letting everything go, so I can be still and quiet long enough to hear what I need to hear, to listen to that inner voice, to gain the wisdom that comes from knowledge of Him.
No matter how you find your peace, we all need it. And we need to stop in order to find it. Most days it is elusive. I feel agitated and struggle with not being able to STOP. But when I do, I feel it doing me good. I feel it in every bone, muscle. In every breath.
This morning I had a coffee date – alone. A long black coffee, my red journal and my thoughts. I allowed the days past, each family member, friend, event and life issue wash over me at least once. I made notes. Reflected. Used words to dig deep into life.
Being able to stop today has been good.