Emma Timms continues our series on “Creating Space for Life in the Midst of Lockdown”, sharing some of her family’s rhythms and practices that are shaping and forming them and keeping them going during this season.
We are 8 weeks in and we are tired, our tolerance levels are running a bit low. World-wide pandemics really take it out of you!
Me, Jon and the kids. (The dog seems fine…)
We are zoomed out, getting a bit fed up of being all together all the time, sad from the loneliness and the struggle we see around us and the big stretch of uncertainty ahead of us. We are missing family, friends and our normal adventuring.
So that’s the first thing I guess – confess your struggles. Yes, there’s a lot to be grateful for – stirrings in the Kingdom and our safety and health. But it’s also a hard time and owning that and admitting it brings a lot of relief. When we bring things into the light, we bring them straight into the presence and peace of Jesus.
So we are struggling but we aren’t sinking.
There are six of us in our home – kids aged between 6 and 12 – so there is an obvious and expected level of noise and busyness. We have lived a lot of years trying to cultivate healthy and sustainable rhythms as a family and they are paying off more than ever now. Our weekly Sabbath, a whole 24 hours of rest and delight. My morning * Breath prayer and nightly * Examen grounding me and helping me daily deal with what’s happening externally and internally (especially with the lack of regular space and solitude in the day), breaking the build up and blow up cycle of un-dealt with frustration and hurt. So I definitely recommend finding a rhythm that works for your personal circumstances and committing to it. Start easy and be kind to yourself, let these formational practices bring life and freedom, not guilt and duty.
And if I could be so bold, I would love to suggest something to you to start with or add in:
Start becoming an avid seeker of the gold treasure hidden all around your everyday, ordinary life, and if you have kids bring them on the adventure too. The more you seek, the more you find. The more grateful you become, the more things make you grateful. It’s amazing.
Here are some concrete ways we do it:
• Every day I ask that God will give me eyes to see Him and His gifts through my day. You know the saying – “See him in anything or miss Him in everything.”
• Every night at the dinner table we go through and each person says what they are grateful for from the day and then we do it again casually as we put the kids down.
• On our walks we look for things that are interesting or beautiful and we point them out to each other.
• In my nightly Examen I linger in the gratitude section and I practise remembering and saying thank you.
In this time of coronavirus when so much is different this is my simple offering of what is helping us.
1) Own what’s tough and bring it into the light
2) Start small and commit to life-giving rhythms.
3) Treasure hunt for the gold in your everyday life.
We have a bit to go ahead of us, but let’s come out of it a people more honest, grounded, humble and grateful than when we went into it.
Happy treasure hunting!
Emma and her husband Jon lead Discovery Church in Dunbar where they live with their 4 children and Barney the dog. Emma teaches Pilates and has recently been leading others in Pilates combined with Contemplative prayer practices, such as Breath prayer and the Examen. When not in lockdown, you will often find Emma wild swimming.
* If you would like to learn more about different prayer practices such as Breath Prayer or the Examen, check out the ‘Toolshed’ at prayercourse.org.