People often ask me what makes Seasons Weekend so special. To answer that question more fully, I’d like to give you a window into one of the exercises from our Summer Weekend in Newport Beach in July.
On Friday evening everyone wrote down something that creates “crazy” in their life. It didn’t take long as a group to list issues big and small and identify the things that pull us into the crazy. Despite this list coming from a small group of participants, I think it is universal and represents much of the crazy we all face.
Take a few moments and look over this list...
Negative colleague at work
Vindictive and crazy ex-spouse
Son with Dad issues
Negative, battering voices
Being a mom to 3
Son with anger and learning disorder
Moving to new state
Last minute plan changes
Distance of loved ones
Family health concerns
Expecting church to be fulfilling
Expressing myself articulately
Medical issues with no answers
Starting a business
The cocktail party in my head
Seeing my children struggle
Not enough time at home
Afraid of getting still
Two sons that compete with each other
Crazy conversations with myself
Grasping for fame
Trying to be everything to everyone
Surrounded by irresponsible people
Lies of the enemy
“Adult” Siblings Choices
Demands of extended family
Pain and brokenness
“I know you have a lot to do, but just one more thing,” times a billion
(Please note this list was made before hurricanes Irma and Maria would wreak their havoc; before a madman would shoot innocent people in Las Vegas and before the wildfires of CA would destroy thousands of acres and lives, leaving entire cities homeless. These epic creators of chaos and crazy would have definitely made any list had we been experiencing these at the time.)
It is important to notice in the list above that almost all the crazy elements we named, including the newest additions that I’ve added since that summer evening, are issues that are out of our control. From the choices that others make, to change that is thrust upon us, the items identified, both big and small are either beyond our control or WAY beyond our control. Isn’t this why these issues create so much crazyness and unrest in our souls? Because we are powerless to stop a health decline in someone we love, or change the unfortunate choices of co-workers or family members or even stop the rain when it begins to pour. Fortunately, stopping the crazy is not the secret or even the key component in creating calm. I know from personal experience that striving to stop the crazy only creates more crazy.
Learning to create calm right in the midst of the crazy is the goal.
Following the listing of the crazy on Friday evening, we dove straight into it to carve out a new place of shelter in the middle of the crazy surrounding us. We did this over the next day and a half by identifying the elements that have the power to create calm in our lives. These ingredients, when practiced regularly, bring strength, peace and calm to our hearts smack in the middle of circumstances beyond our control.
Now take a few moments to read through this list, slowly. For me, just reading this list brought a certain level of calm.
Jesus accompanying me with others
Prayer for response not reaction
Quiet time daily
Allowing God to calm my worries
Letting the sifting of hard times produce the gold
Seeing myself being held by God
Knowing I am protected
My father’s delight in me
Being believed in and loved
Looking at the ocean
Pouring out from God’s resources not my own
Trusting the benefits of being still in the presence of God
Finding a place of Strength and Beauty
Now write down a few of the elements that stood out to you as you read the list. These would be a great place to begin implementing calm to your soul. The ones I chose from the list above have become my “go to” practices in the midst of the crazyness that life inevitably brings. When I practice the practices I get better at creating calm and bypassing crazy. I hope you find the same to be true for you.
If you don’t see what has helped you create calm in your life in the list above— tell us in the comments below what has worked for you.