True renewal takes more than a week-long vacation or a steaming hot bubble bath. I know I need a spiritual boost when I scream at drivers in front of me who fail to signal or when I want to put my hands around the neck of a colleague. (Of course, that never really happens.)
I thought I was truly renewed after taking a couple of weeks off at Christmas. I floated on a cloud of happiness and nothing bothered me. Not my neighbor’s barking dogs. Not crazy drivers. Not long lines at the grocery.
The bliss lasted about a week. When my eyes shot blazes at the person who took the parking spot I was going for, I knew my renewal had come to a screeching halt.
In the first session of Lutheran Woman Today’s summer Bible study, Renew, Respond, Rejoice! , our authors—Catherine Malotky and David Engelstad—inform us that “renewal is not all about sipping iced tea on the beach! It’s often hard work, disruptive, and even painful to get to the other side of a hard heart or a narrow perspective.”
To be truly renewed, they say, means “something fundamental has to change in order for life to be different on the other side.”
Often renewal takes breaking and remaking. In her article by this title, Martha Stortz asks whether we seek change or are averse to it. “Do you live by routines? Or do you live to try the latest new gadget?”
When cancer shattered Martha’s and her late husband’s lives, change chose them, she wrote. “We could only choose whether change would renew or destroy us.” Later, she affirms that “God’s change offers all of us the consolation we crave, for God’s change leads to renewal and not destruction.”
To avoid destruction or ruin, Sonia Solomonson in “Time for a Tune-Up” proposes we design a “maintenance routine for our bodies and souls.” Suggesting that we take better care of our cars than ourselves, she writes that women must believe they deserve to self-pamper.
“For starters we might remember that God spent six days creating and one resting,” she writes. …And “Jesus often pulled away from the crowds, too, so he could pray and be renewed.” Solomonson offers us a “tool kit” of practical self-care tips.
Maybe one of the articles in our June issue will help you consider what change could move you toward renewal this summer.