Week Four: Nourishing Ourselves
Lenten Nurturing: This week is focused on expectant waiting for God as we practice silence in our daily living in distinct ways that nourish our bodies, minds and souls. Our fourth week of lenten nourishment begins with loving ourselves, warts and all! Know that each of us are lovely: Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
Wednesday: How do we nourish ourselves in our personal silence?
Identify at least one aspect a day in our life this week that needs the most nurturing. Give ourselves permission to focus on that aspect, even in the simplest way. Throughout the week, consider sitting quietly each day in expectant meditation. Know that each of us are precious: 1 Corinthians 6:20 “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
Thursday: Do we pray or practice stillness before each meal?
As a child, I have loving memories of my mother requesting a silent prayer before supper. Consider taking a moment to ask for blessings for the food you eat. This week be aware of the food in front of you. Try to be mindful of details that you normally might not notice, like the variations of color, the texture, the symmetry of the different parts of each bite of food. Eat slowly. Take time to consciously chew and swallow your food. Perhaps, journal your experiences. Know that each of us were created for a purpose: Jeremiah29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Friday: Do we focus inward as we stretch before exercise?
In preparing our bodies for strength building, we attempt to connect with God and draw nourishment from each movement of our daily routine. Make every effort to reach high for the heavens, bend low to the earth, and stretch your muscles. Stay centered in your body, and listen for God. Learn your target heart rate for your age and weight and plan to hold it steady for 20-30 minutes during exercise. Journal your progress. Know that each of us are strong: Psalm 68:35 “You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!”
Saturday: Do we take time each day for peaceful breathing?
Throughout the day, be aware of how God nourishes you as you take each breath. Quietly practice being attune to each moment as you inhale life giving air. Our bodies are perfect systems designed to carry nourishing oxygen which purifies the way to God’s healing grace. At birth, babies take their first breath, it is a fitting start on the journey to God. Know that each of us are beautiful: Psalm 45:11 “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.”
Sunday: Do we have a soft, warm bedtime routine?
As a parent might nurture their young, we nurture ourselves to prepare for a restful sleep. A warm bath, soft pajamas, sleepy tea and pleasant lighting can gently help us prepare for a healthy rest. One night last year, my granddaughter and I were preparing to say our bedtime prayers. She said, “Let’s pray the real prayer.” I answered, “Do you mean The Lord’s Prayer?” She exclaimed, “Silent prayer!” As you gather your thoughts at the end of the day, take time to be silent with God’s love through Christ. Consider placing a dream journal next to your bed to write nurturing bedtime thoughts. Know that each of us are unique: Psalm 139:13 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Monday: Do we listen for God in the darkness of the night?
Mark Twain said, “I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” When we are awake in the depths of the night, alone or fretful, do we take time to listen and speak to God? I realize that I often do not think of God in the darkness. Start by listening for God’s voice. Even in the darkest hours, I do know this: the sun willeventually rise. Have faith that God’s nurturing light is eternal. Use a dream journal to write your hopes and prayers. Know that each of us are forgiven: Psalm 103:12 “As far as the East is from the West, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Tuesday: Do we appreciate each sunrise?
This week as the sun rises take time in the morning to embrace the day. Enjoy the morning air as the light of the new day washes over you. Grow in love through Christ with joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, and self-control. Make a list of ways we nourished ourselves this week and how we might be grateful for those ways. Know that each of us are a new creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”