These actions are disciplines not meant to improve our worth and value. They are to guide our search for love, our search for ourselves, our search for God, our search for realities of life.
Here are specific ways to apply that search, summarizing a few of our chapters to revisit and reinforce them, and adding a few new words of wonder.
Journal—Instead of holding your feelings inside, release them. Instead of releasing those emotions in unhealthy ways, keep a journal. Write about your worry, your fear, your frustration, yourself. Write prayers, songs, and hopes. By releasing, you give yourself room for growth and development without the unneeded baggage.
Listen—Scripture tells us to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. We have one mouth but two eyes and ears. Let’s hear more and say less. Let’s listen, repeating what we have heard.
Rest—Good nights of sleep. Short naps during our hurried schedules. Hitting pause in our rushed lives. Deep breaths. Think of a Sabbath experience in various times each day. While we rush from duty to duty, let us pause. And be still.
Laugh—Scripture again provides us good instructions: Laughter does good like a medicine. So laugh. Enjoy moments too often rushed through or ignored. Laugh.
Cry—Not only should we laugh, but crying also is good for us. We try to resist any shedding of tears. Why? By crying we let the body do its job and help hurts be released. Crying is not a weakness. It is healing.
Work—Whatever our weakness or disability or struggle, work is our friend. Not just being busy for the sake of improving our self-view. Or for getting more money. But doing work to keep strong whatever portions of our bodies still function.
Confess—Like crying and journaling can release inner hurts, so can confessions. Sometimes, writing the confessions in the journal is enough. But, other times, we need a trusted pastor, priest, counselor, or accountability partner. We need to tell him our mistakes. Not defending ourselves. Just releasing what could hold us back, what could keep us from living with hope.
Forgive—We seek forgiveness from God and others, right? Do we choose to forgive? Let’s not wait until the person who hurt us has apologized. Let’s not expect that person to understand our deep wounds. Let’s choose to let go—choose to forgive—no matter how we feel about it. Forgiveness no longer allows our hurts to control our moods, our decisions, or our opinions.
Learn—When does school end? Never. Life is an ongoing experience of learning. Ask questions. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Online. In bookstores. In libraries. With friends who understand some of your own struggles—learn together. School is our permanent home.
So, just a few tips to guide our search. Let’s give each one a try.