Seasons and the Limitations of our own Creatureliness. (ReFresh, Ch. 4 &5)

Seasons and the Limitations of our own Creatureliness. (ReFresh, Ch. 4 &5)

I’ve lived in the same county my entire life and grew up in an agrarian family. We were very aware of the seasons and how they affect our life, the landscape, our dress, and our crops. There’s comfort knowing a place so well that you can predict what each season will hold before it begins. I suppose that we find comfort in anticipation. On the cranberry bog, spring means budding vines and green grass dotted with buttercups and tiny blue flowers. Summer brings growing fruit and a perfect place for picnic lunches and blueberry picking around the perimeter of the bogs, and the noise of frogs and peepers in the ditches. Fall hands us the harvest and we jump headlong into a whirlwind of work and community tours, apple pie making and harvest family dinners. In winter, the bogs are tucked in under an icy blanket of snow to rest, and the cycle begins again.

Seasons of life are similar, though not as predictable. There are times of budding fruit and hope and planning, all sunshine and happiness. We work and sweat and pray and, though we don’t have guarantees of a harvest, hope is there. Some seasons we see handfuls of tangible fruit, so much that we can’t contain it all. There is fullness in the abundance. Other seasons, we rest and refuel and take in so that we’ll have something to give in the future.

I love Psalm 1, with its picture of a tree firmly planted by water, taking in by the roots, and reaping in its season. It reminds me that constant “production” and busyness is not sustainable without seasons of quiet and nourishment and rest. In the seasons when I’ve been most depleted, I can usually trace it back to a failure to rest and take in the beauty of God’s good gifts all around me.


In ReFresh, weeks 4 and 5, we are presented with the concept of body theology and the limits of our creatureliness. God made us “created” beings, and we live under the laws of God’s creation. This means we have limits that we cannot escape.  We can’t abuse our bodies by sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, over eating, or lack of exercise and expect our soul to thrive. Physical neglect or abuse has spiritual consequences.  Our body is the Holy Spirit’s temple and with that recognition comes a dignity and a responsibility to steward the Holy Spirit’s house.

Shona encourages women to eat right, observe the Sabbath, get enough sleep, and get some form of daily exercise.

She talks about evaluating and confronting the inner noise that robs us of peace and the ability to meditate on God.

  • Guilt: “I should have.”
  • Greed: “I want that.” “I need that.”
  • Anger: “How could she!?”
  • Unforgiveness: “She’ll pay for this.”
  • Vanity: “Me up, you down.”
  • Anxiety: “What if.”

She gives prescriptive answers for silencing your inner noise.

  • Guilt: “Believe.” Your sins are forgiven. “Look at the blood until you grasp how precious and effective it.”
  • Greed: Practice doing with less than usual.
  • Unholy Anger: Look at God’s holy anger and feel God’s hot rage against all your sin. Dial it down a notch. Vengeance is God’s and He’ll repay, not you.
  • Vanity: Study the doctrine of total depravity and realize that you’re not so hot and that “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
  • Anxiety: One word: Fatherhood. Remember your Father. He’s a good, loving, competent Father.

Another way to limit the noise is to limit distractions. She recommends:

  1. turning your phone off.
  2. limiting social media check ins.
  3. meeting with God first.


She also recommends setting aside an hour a day to do a creative pursuit that is life-giving to you.  She says to see these hours of rest as a gift, not a threat. She recommends using a play pen or play yard if you have small children, and corralling them with a few toys so you can do something creative while they remain safe. When my kids were young, I used a baby gate and had them play in the living room within ears shot of me, so I could write a letter, have a cup of tea with a friend, read a book, craft, listen to a sermon, paint, draw, journal, etc. During the summer, we’d all head outside and I’d put a blanket on the lawn for the kids to play on, and I’d sit nearby and read or write.

Daily and spiritual refreshment is also a must. We live in a time when resources for spiritual refreshment are unprecedented. We have access to thousands of audiobooks, eBooks, free sermons, articles, and Christian seminars and content. Unlike other generations, we have it all with the click of a button. A missionary friend mentioned to me that we have so much in America (Bible studies, books, etc..) and she recalls that while she was on the mission field, the ladies there just poured over their Bibles and read and re-read them if they had one. I think we need more of that. (AudioBibles are also free and a wonderful tool for when you are folding clothes or washing dishes!)

Caveat: I think the “she hour” is a wonderful idea, a good thing, but it should never become a demand. That said, I highly recommend trying to fit an hour of creative time into your day. It is setting a great example for your kids, who will someday join you in your calligraphy or painting or reading.

This week, I purposefully decorated for spring, made a wreath, wrote letters, visited a friend, journaled, and watched an old movie.


She speaks of annual vacations, if you can afford it.  If not, day trips are a wonderful way to unwind, be still, and enjoy creation. If you have young children, a trip to the beach is like magic. Though work to get there, once you are there, it’s like children are transformed by the salt air. We are fortunate to live within an hour of Cape Cod and have access to some of the loveliest beaches in our area. I often pack a lunch and head to the beach. Sometimes I bring my watercolors and paint as the kids play. Sometimes I read a book or talk to a friend. A walk in a local park is also a great outing. Packing a picnic lunch helps to extend the day. A walk through an antique shop, a trip to the coffee shop, or any place that you can take in all the lovely around you will inspire you and give you fresh perspective. If you don’t have a few hours to spare, a trip to a local Whole Foods to admire the flowers has been known to refresh my spirits on occasion. 😉

What were your biggest take-a-ways from chapters 4 and 5? Are you respecting your limitations and viewing them as gifts from God? How are you addressing your inner noise? How are you purposefully refreshing your soul? What creative pursuits can you attempt this week?

Other posts on the topic:

Refresh: Intro to a Grace-Paced Life.

Refresh Recap Part 2

Refresh Recap Part 3

Rethinking Self-Care. Is it Biblical?

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