A Little Bit of Nothing

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Do you like the foam in a Latte?

Do you ever find yourself taking the lid off the latte cup and savoring just the foam?

Have you ever scooped the foam out on your finger and enjoyed it?

I caught myself, lid off, finger in the cup, and scooping foam this morning. Ahhh, enjoyable!

Foam really is “nothing”. It is mostly air, but oh how enjoyable that “nothing” was this morning.

As I sat outside doing what I would most days classify as “nothing”, God reminded me how enjoyable a few minutes of “nothing” really can be!

I could hear the wind lightly blowing through the trees and at least three different kinds of birds chatting. I could see the acorns hitting the ground. I saw and felt the tiny ant crawling on my arm, and I tasted the “nothing” of the latte foam. How enjoyable were these moments of “nothing” this morning! I was just being and NOT doing. Just listening and not talking. Just waiting and not hurrying.

And why did I find these moments so enjoyable? Because in our hurried, always wanting to be productive world, we have very few moments of “nothing”. When we miss our “nothing” moments we miss so much. God has been reminding me in so many ways to stop doing and start being. He reminds me that I would learn so much more and walk so much closer to Him if I would take what the world calls “doing nothing” moments and be in them. I would hear Him, see Him, feel Him, and touch Him if I would just take those moments. He is good, and He is in every moment! I have to stop missing Him.

How many “nothing” moments did you enjoy this week?

I am praying for each of us right now. I am praying we will take the “Nothing Challenge”? Take 10 minutes today and be in those “nothing” moments.

Just rest in the “nothing” and see it is something!

*Note: If you have a chance, share with us how the “Nothing Challenge” went!

 

KimCraftKim Craft loves the Lord and her wonderful eclectic family with all her heart and soul! Stories are her hobby. Stories people share with her while sipping tea, stories she reads in scripture, and stories in book after book that she devours. Kim marvels how the Lord has worked in people’s lives including her own. He has brought her through many chapters and in and out of many new editions. There are some she would have written and some she would not have. She believes the Lord has called her to be in community with others to encourage them and to share her story with them as they share their stories with her!

Put On Your Boxing Gloves

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My father-in-law was an amateur boxer. For a long time we had his old punching bag hanging in our garage. It really came in handy during times when one of our kids needed to release some anger or frustration and just chill out. So often as a pastor’s spouse there is a range of negative emotions needing to be released or boxed out: betrayal when you are gossiped about by someone in the church, pain when someone leaves the church, discouragement, apathy, frustration, depression, and loneliness–one of the top feelings consistently reported by pastors’ spouses. How do we combat (or box) some of these challenging emotions in ministry? I have three suggestions that have helped me over the years:

Abide
Abide is a word I have been mulling over the past couple years. I have John 15:5 displayed in a couple different places: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a person remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” It is a reminder to keep abiding, to keep praying. I have especially needed this reminder when feeling lonely, distant, and upset with God.

Recently I was taking a walk and talking to God about an extreme burden I had. For days I felt like there was a rock on my chest. I was having trouble breathing and sleeping. Every time I prayed, I felt no different. I pressed on with abiding and had it out with him one night. I boxed with God. I lay out all my raw emotions and told him I either needed to get on sleeping/anxiety pills or he had to do what I could not do. I prayed, “God, take this burden from me.” I reminded him that he told us to give him our burdens and that he would give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30). I demanded rest physically and emotionally. I told him he needed to respond by taking my burdens when I brought them to him because I felt like giving up. It wasn’t immediate, but I realized the next day that I slept better that night. The rock was gone. I felt lighter. Every time that the burden returned (sometimes ten times a day) I gave it to him and he has been faithful to keep the rock off me.

I have been thanking and praising him for this answered prayer. Had I not persisted in abiding, despite the silence I was feeling from him, I would not have experienced the joy of finally hearing him. And it is so good. When these feelings of discouragement, worry, fear, frustration and loneliness enter your thoughts, immediately take those thoughts and release them to God in prayer.  He will meet your deepest needs. Have a heart-to heart, a boxing match, with God. Thank God in faith for what he is going to do. Then, release it. Box with God. He can take it. When was the last time you boxed with God and laid out all your raw emotions before him?

Exercise
There is something to say about the endorphins being released, and the relationship of exercise to emotional health. I wish I could boast consistency with exercise, but alas, I can’t. And since I can’t, I can only attest to the difference I feel emotionally when exercising versus not exercising. One of my favorite things to do is speed walk, either by myself or with a friend. Exercise is something I long to make a lifetime habit. My husband has developed this habit over the years and has been inspiring me with his dedication. He recently participated in his first triathlon on Father’s Day. The kids and I couldn’t wait to cheer him on.

Play
I see play as synonymous with rest. It is easy for us to forget to play in ministry, but it’s so important to don our boxing gloves and make room for this. The list is endless: travel, a retreat, book club, supper club, have a neighbor or someone over for lemonade (Len and I have a list of those we want to invite over this summer for lemonade on the porch or for ice cream sundaes on Sunday), connect and socialize with other pastors’ spouses who may also be feeling lonely, jump on the trampoline with your kids, take a day trip or a longer trip with your spouse or some friends or a sibling. My mom, sister and I are going to plan a trip together (inspired by my husband who went with his dad and sister to the Grand Canyon). Sometimes it just simply helps to get away from your ministry work and come back with a renewed perspective. It’s like when I get away from my kids. I come back a better mom because of the break.

You might also develop or foster a new hobby. My husband and I have reached our midlife years. I turned 40 this year (gulp). Just yesterday on a lunch date we talked about the importance of continuing to try new things to combat staleness and help break up the grind of normal life routines. My husband talked about taking a cooking class, I talked of learning to rock climb. We talked about taking a ballroom dance class together. I am rhythmically challenged, and I think this will provide lots of laughs between us. Perhaps if I state my plans to you this will ensure I will follow my own advice! Sometimes our role is to help our spouse to play by planning something fun. Maybe we need to take the lead in adding spice to our lives.

 

Amy Luchetti-ExecutiveTeamAmy Luchetti met her husband, Lenny, at Houghton College where he was studying to be a preacher and she a teacher. They have been in many ministry positions together ranging from a small rural church to larger multi-staff churches. Lenny has served as youth pastor, assistant pastor, and lead pastor. He now invests in pastors as he teaches at Wesley Seminary on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University. Amy has served alongside Lenny as a partner in ministry. She also loves her work as an academic specialist at a local elementary school. Amy’s greatest blessings are her husband and three children.