Let me begin by saying if you are not spending daily time with God and His word, a little reading, writing, coaching, creativity, and community might make things seems better temporarily, but they won’t be the solution you need. God is our source for everything we need; all our solutions are found in him.
That said, we don’t spend all of our time in bible study. And oftentimes we find that God uses the nouns around us (you know, the people, places, things, and ideas that surround us) to speak to and soothe our souls.
Enter reading, writing, coaching, creativity, and community.
I’m an avid reader. I’ve been reading anything with words as long as I can remember. I’ve noticed, however, that I go through spells. Sometimes I don’t feel like reading anything. Sometimes only certain genres pique my interest. For the longest, I just assumed my tastes fluctuated, and I wasn’t wrong, but I’m realizing something deeper than fluctuating fancies drives my reading proclivities. I’ve discovered I self-medicate through the written word. The idea of bibliotherapy is the use of books as therapy. I’m fascinated. So much so that I’m taking a class on it. Of course I am. I love to learn. I’ll keep you posted.
Similarly, I’m an avid journaler. I’ve been putting my thoughts to paper since I was at least 10. And like with reading, I go through spells. Sometimes I won’t journal for months, but more often than not, I find journaling to be a compulsion. I journal because I must. I haven’t thought something completely through until I’ve written about it. I find myself regularly seeking to learn more about the practice of journaling. I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.
Dissimilarly, I haven’t received coaching, at least not in a structured sense, for most of my life. I actually learned coaching was a thing while at a leadership workshop sponsored by the university where I then worked. Each people leader received a 360 review, and I learned about coaching in the process. I loved receiving the coaching, and I realized that I spend a lot of my time coaching. So I decided I wanted to be a coach and went to to school for it. And in the meantime, I figured if I was going to be a coach, I should have a coach. I have found coaching to be invaluable to my ability to unravel portions of my life and see and create pathways forward. I’m always on the coaching learning train. I’m sure you’ve noticed a pattern. I’ll keep you posted.
Back to things that are similar – I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t creating something. Even when I’m going through dry spells, my desire to create remains strong – I just vary what I create. Sometimes I create calm out of chaos; sometimes I sew; sometimes I veg out with my color-by-number app. And recently I’ve been into making extracts. Pretty soon I’ll be moving onto making flavored honey syrups. Like everything else that intrigues me, I’m on a path to learn more about the things I’m into creating. I’ll keep you posted.
Community is trickier for me. I consistently seek out community, particularly communities of women. I’m in a sorority; I serve in women’s ministry at church; I could go on. Yet I’m a hard core introvert. I need my solitude. I need my downtime. Like A LOT of solitude and downtime. Like spending time with the communities I love means I need at least equal, if not greater, downtime. I find insufficient hours in a day to meet both my community and downtime needs. I’m definitely still learning how to navigate this. I’ll keep you posted.
So far, I’ve learned that being intentional about my reading, writing, coaching, creating, and community helps me stay grounded, productive, positive, and, dare I say, sane.
I’m also learning that many of you are like me – which is why I’m sharing all of this with you.
I’d love to hear how you use reading, writing, coaching, creating, and community as balms for your soul. Please share in the comments.