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RELAX :: a blog series :: one

on December 1, 2015


relax release
{Every Tuesday this month, we’re meeting here to pull apart the word RELAX. To lean into it. To learn ways we can practice it in a very real way. And what better time than the hectic holidays to get some rubber-meets-the-road experience with it?! I’m glad you’re here…it’s so much better to work through things like this in the company of kindreds like you. Let’s dive right in with the RRELEASE.}

First, a few questions…
How many of us are looking at a RELAXing day today? Tomorrow? Sometime next week? Maybe next year??

Okay – let’s try this…did you have a RELAXing holiday weekend?
There’s a better chance that your answer to that might be yes, right? I mean, there was good food, good company, and, most likely, days off from work and a sweet break in the everyday routine.

How about this one – do you feel RELAXed right now?
How many times a day do you ask yourself that question?
Do you pay attention to RELAXing?
Or do you just hope and pray that someday, somehow, someway, you’ll find that magical space or place where you can truly RELAX?

What’s the point of all these questions about RELAXing? Being RELAXed?
Especially at this busy time of year?
Don’t I realize how long your list is?
How many activities you – or your kids – have on the calendar?
How many cookies you have to bake?
How many gifts you have to wrap?
The number of cards you have to address and send out?

Oh, friend. The point is, I DO know.
I know ALL about the Crazy Busy. In every single one of its different flavors.
Believe me…I know.

And here’s the thing…I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that our ability to RELAX – and our learning to if that isn’t something that comes naturally to us – is key to living a soul-full life.
Isn’t that what we all want?
To live more soul-fully?

In the acrostic we’re using, the R in RELAX stands for RELEASE.
As in, RELEASE things in your life that are heavy and no longer serving you.
Things like thoughts, behaviors, people, circumstances, to name just a few.
Things that we were never meant to hold long-term.

I’m thinking that when we refuse to let go, we end up squeezing the life out the very things that God may have intended for good…for a time.

I saw Rob Bell, author and pastor, on television once talking about something called the Open Hands Exercise. He had the audience close their eyes, clench their hands into tight fists, and try to imagine accepting a gift from someone. Then he told everyone to open their eyes, open their hands, and realize that it’s only in releasing their death-grip and opening their hands that they could receive.
Simply put, we have to RELEASE before we can receive.
Before we can RELAX.

So what does RELEASE look like in everyday life?
I propose that we need to RELEASE things that cause us angst.
Things like expectations. (Even ‘reasonable’ ones tend to cause stress.)
I also believe we need to take ourselves off the hook. (And give ourselves the grace we freely offer to others.)

Another piece of RELEASing is the importance of practicing self-care.
For the record, we need to understand that self-care is NOT self-ish.
And, just so we’re clear, self-care looks different for each of us.
Friend, if self-care is a new (foreign?) concept for you, the easiest way to enter into it is to ask yourself, ‘What are things that recharge my spirit?’
Your answers may look like alone time, art, exercise, music, reading, creating, even spending time outdoors or with friends.
Another question that may help you define what self-care looks like for you is, ‘What would I do for a friend who needed a break?’ Whatever your response is to that question is precisely what you need to do for you.
Please know that even 10 minutes can make a difference.
You don’t need a whole day at a fancy fruit-in-your-water spa. (Even though that would be nice – amiright?!)

Not to sound cliche, but the familiar saying *Let go and let God* is profound and convicting when we allow it to sink into our weary, over-scheduled souls. And the saying *Let go or be dragged* may cause nervous giggling, but it, too, is a graphic reminder of the need to RELEASE so that we can find rest.

In the book Walking Into Walls, Stephen Arterburn says this about RELEASing…’For many of us who have been taught to take control, letting go is never easy. But it is one of the most powerful acts of faith. It is an open acknowledgement of our trust in God to take care of us. More than any other action, letting go and trusting God allows us to rest, be at peace, and know a life of serenity.’

Doesn’t that sound RELAXing?


6 responses to “RELAX :: a blog series :: one

  1. Blanche says:

    What a wonderful way to start my day. Yesterday after addressing and taking care of some needs. I let go and just sat and relaxed, so much so I took a nap and later realized I had
    needed that and felt better. Thank you for your perpective.

    • LauraK says:

      Sounds like the release you practiced yesterday was a smashing success, Blanche. So glad you stopped by this morning. Here’s to a RELAXing day! 😉

  2. Kevin says:

    True that you need to release in order to relax but you have to relax in order to release as well. That tightly clenched fist has to be relaxed to open up.

    It’s also about letting go what you’re holding on to toxically. You have to empty or a space in order to receive something new.

  3. […] RELAX :: a blog series :: one Dec […]

  4. […] how we looked at what it means to RELEASE so that we can EMBRACE while we LAUGH at ourselves and ADJUST to this crazy thing called Life in […]

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