Before we had children, my husband was working a job in Northern, Michigan while I was studying to finish my degree. My studies were mostly done from home, so I logged many hours in a cozy chair reading textbooks and writing papers. I enjoyed this kind of learning. But I remember how, many days I would study hard through the day until about 4:00 PM. By then, my brain was full and I needed to set the books aside until the next day. I was ready to see my husband and transition into the evening, but he rarely got off that early. What was I supposed to do with this time?
Within the next few years our son and then daughter were born. My studies were complete so, I spent my days with a baby and active toddler. Again, by 4:00 I felt ready to put the day behind me and move into the evening. But, it wasn’t really evening yet. It was an awkward time each day. What was I supposed to be doing? During this particular season of having toys spread across the carpet like a field of land mines, my 4:00 activity became vacuuming. It required that I cleared the floor of all the debris. I’d pull out the vacuum and enjoy the hum that drowned out my negative thoughts. It got me moving and my heart rate up a little. And when I was finished it left those beautifully satisfying vacuum lines on the carpet. I was then ready to press on with dinner preparations and enjoy a positive evening.
In West Africa the heat and chores of the day left us all a hot and weary. By 4:00 the homeschooling was finished, the day chores were done but the day was still hot. So, I enjoyed taking the kids to the compound pool. It took a little extra effort to get the swim suits on and make sure everyone had their towels, goggles, pool toys and sunscreen. But, the pay-off was great. Just 45 minutes of letting the kids swim and yell to their hearts content washed away the day and gave me the refreshment and extra energy I needed to get though the evening positively.
In this season, I have again been faced with 4:00 hour blues. I wonder if I’m the only one who has struggled with the 4:00 hour? Perhaps there is another time of day that tends to be particularly difficult for you. Is it a transition time of day like mine? Or maybe your struggle comes at the beginning of the day when you have to decide not to hit the snooze button, but to get up and start the day the way you really want to. Maybe the toughest part of your day is at the very end of the day when all is quiet and you’re tired.
Whenever it is, here is my tip for the day. It is, identify your tough time and be ready for it. You’ve heard the phrase, “Knowing is half the battle.” If there tends to be a consistently difficult time for you, like there is for me, being aware of this battle gives you the edge you need to prepare for it. The battlefield is in the mind. The battle is the moment of decision. What will you do in the tough moment? What is your temptation and how will you overcome it?
My temptation is to sit on the couch and read a magazine or stare at the ceiling thinking about what I didn’t get done today, what still needs to be done and what we should have for dinner; but how I just don’t feel like doing it. I have to overcome these thoughts and emotions and get up. I find it helpful to identify activities that take a little time, a little energy and have clear results that I can accomplish fairly easily. I have to compel myself to keep making decisions, like what to prepare for dinner, then do it. This gets me through my 4:00 blues.
So how will you be an overcomer? When does your daily battle against the blues typically come? What is your plan to push through it, thrive in it and have a great day?
Today was the fifth day in this series, 10 Tips for Thriving in isolation. We’ve covered a lot this week! The first day was an encouragement to simply, “Get up!” Don’t let isolation and social distancing weigh you down and stick you to chair. Decide to be active, productive, seeing opportunities and taking them. What have you done this week to get get moving? Tuesday’s message was a reminder of the gift of rest. Choose to embrace this difficult season by developing a rhythm of, “Fully retreat. Fully Advance. And, repeat.” Have you begun to find a rhythm? How has this practice affected your days? Next we talked about the importance of routines in life. Have you reimagined new routines? Has it begun to help you, and perhaps your family, know what to expect each day and decrease your restlessness? Yesterday, I urged you to be conscientious about the sounds you are letting into your home and intentional about the sounds you choose to surround yourself with. Choose to fight feelings of loneliness, anxiety and fear by turning off all the negative inputs the world offers. Fill your home, your heart and your mind with goodness, truth and beauty. Sing. Dance. Learn. Worship.
Normally this time of year, many of you would be attending services remembering the death and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. It is a holiday during which we usually gather with loved ones to remember the gift of life we have because of Jesus. This year we are experiencing the loss of the traditions that help us remember and celebrate. Loss leads can lead to grief. You may be feeling the grief over these losses this year. But please remember that though traditions are helpful for remembering and celebrating, they are not the reason for remembering and celebrating. Our reason for this special weekend remains! Jesus, the Son of God was born, lived, died and rose from the dead! We serve a living King who is offering life to you; abundant life! John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. But I (Jesus) came to give abundant life.” Don’t let your spiritual enemy steal your weekend of remembering, kill your joy, or destroy your celebration. Defy him and find new ways to remember and celebrate the resurrection! Have an abundantly wonderful weekend worshipping the King and celebrating life! Let your soul be blessed.
I will see you again, right here at BlessMySoulStudios.com on Monday morning.
He is Risen!