Amy Eksteen

Hello June!

Six months into the year of 2019, we’ve officially reached the halfway mark, along with Winter’s chilly atmosphere ready to greet us each and every morning. So grab some coffee, tea or hot chocolate and settle down, for an introductory blog post for the month of June.

When thinking about what would be an inspiring source of motivation to focus on this month, the word peace came to mind and I thought to myself “How appropriate!”.

When I was really thinking about and breaking down the topic of peace, I realised that I usually find this time of year to be particularly tiring and overwhelming. I remember myself, in school and as a student, battling through the Winter months with the feelings of exhaustion and burnout. I think that this time of the year can be a time where some of us may be feeling as if all of the stress from the first half of the year has finally caught up with us, while all of our responsibilities and obligations for the rest of the year loom around ahead. On top of that, our tanks may seem to be running on a constant low, our energy levels might feel non-existent and often, our immune systems decide to tap out in the most inconvenient of times, leaving us having to fight cold after cold. We may begin feeling as if we aren’t coping like we usually do. As our day-to-day stressors pile up, we tend to kick into ‘survival mode’ and ignore our body’s signals of saying “slow down!”. This is also a time where we may find our thoughts and our mind starting to get the better of us by experiencing frequent heightened/intense emotions. We end up pushing through these moments without giving ourselves time to stop and simply breathe – to create/discover peace within our circumstances.

I do believe that it is necessary to dedicate time for self-care if you may be feeling this way, but I also believe that it is important for us to give ourselves permission to slow down and pursue peace, especially during our busiest and most stressful moments – the moments where we may feel as if everything is out of our control and there isn’t enough time to accomplish everything that we need to do or are expected to do. These are the moments when we need to be more understanding and a little kinder to ourselves. We need to start implementing ways for us to put our worries a side and instead focus on how we can prioritise feeling happy and healthy.
With this in mind, I came across a piece of writing by one of my favourite writers, Morgan Harper Nichols, which I believe perfectly explains the mindset/outlook we need to adopt during life’s chaotic and overwhelming moments.

“By grace, you will have what you need, even on the days where it does not seem that way,may you hold onto this when things do not make sense, when you are waiting and waiting in a sea of unanswered questions, even in this space, there is room to pursue peace” (Morgan Harper Nichols).

There are a few important points this piece of writing can remind us to focus on for the month ahead:

  1. God will provide us with what is sufficient for each day
  2. We need to only meet God in the present and focus on one day at a time
  3. We get to hold onto the promise that God is in control and He is by our sides at all times, especially when we feel alone and we don’t understand how to cope with our circumstances
  4. Even among the confusion and prolonged periods of waiting for understanding/breakthrough, God is always working on our behalf
  5. There is always grace and God to hold onto during challenging experiences
  6. God’s timing is perfect
  7. There is always peace for us to choose to pursue

I think the reason this piece of writing stood out to me is because I have realised that when we are facing stress, overwhelming emotions, negative feelings and challenging circumstances, we automatically think that we are doing something ‘wrong’ and that the problem must lie with us. We have this mentality that if we were doing something ‘right’, things wouldn’t be and feel this way. I too have found myself dealing with this type of thinking and as a result, I have had to deal with a lot of blame, guilt and shame for ‘not being able to cope better’. I have learned that this couldn’t be further from the truth and that life in general tends to get a bit too much for us to handle. Instead of overexerting ourselves out of fear of not being ‘good/strong enough’, we need to stop and allow ourselves the chance to breathe and pursue peace.

5 ways to take a break and pursue peace:

  1. Pray
  2. Sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed
  3. Write out a gratitude list
  4. Sit outside in the sun and spend some time being mindful of the environment around you
  5. Listen to calm music

I hope this blog post provides my readers with some encouragement and motivation for the month ahead.

Happy June and always remember to be kind to yourself xx