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We all need a whole bunch of grace

We all need a whole bunch of grace

We all need a whole bunch of grace

1 February 2021

Art journalling is one way Christine Waller looks after her mind, body and soul.

By Christine Waller

2020 was a season where we all needed a whole bunch of grace. July 2020 was when I chose to offer that grace to myself.

I was in the middle of an ‘interesting’ year and felt like I was travelling okay considering the circumstances in our world. However, deep down I knew I wasn’t living my best life.

A check-up with my doctor presented me with a different picture. There were high blood pressure issues (and I was already on blood pressure medication), my cholesterol levels weren’t looking that impressive, I was getting headaches and blurred vision and my depression/anxiety were starting to make noises in the basement of my life.

My lovely doctor had a stern, but grace-filled chat with me and encouraged me to choose to make some changes. “Your health,” she reminded me, “is about concentrating on the whole person – a segment every day.”

I left with a referral to a dietician, the promise that I would connect with my psychologist, that I would make time to do something in my week that energises me and that overall I would be kind to myself.

Christine on a hike with her husband Jeff.

And so, my journey to grace-filled ‘segment a day’ health began. This lined up with my ‘life verse’ from Romans 12 verse 1 in The Message translation, which says: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.”

I was hopeful, but gnawing at the back of my mind were the many, many times that I had tried this before. If you can name the weight loss program, I can guarantee you that I’ve tried it!

The difference this time was that I wasn’t just focusing on the segment of weight loss and the number on the scales, but all the segments that God had placed in my reach that I hadn’t made the time for, or realised the joy and freedom in. All the segments that make me the person that I am.

A second difference this time was a gift that God sent me via social media. I shared on Facebook about starting this journey and my friend Yvonne messaged me and asked whether we could support each other on this journey. To this day, six months later, we message each other on Saturday morning to check in and encourage each other. We show a whole bunch of grace to each other in our journeys, love and support and share God’s heart with each other. If you choose to make this journey, get a grace-filled friend on board, it will make the journey so much easier.

Everyone’s life segments will look different and that’s how it’s meant to be. God made us each uniquely. Here are some of the segments I’m focusing on throughout my week:

Mental Health: Looking after it proactively rather than reactively. The creative journalling based on Brene Brown’s technique that I’m working through with my psychologist is fabulous and has been so helpful in my journey.

Diet: Filling my supermarket trolley with vegetables and fruit instead of processed foods. The day I filled my trolley with only fresh food I thought, “Who is this woman?”

Hobbies: Taking time to do things I enjoy such as jigsaws, Lego, high teas, reading, cross-stitch, journalling. Some of the jigsaw puzzles Christine completed during 2020.

Physical: I enjoy Parkrun, and I aim to walk every day this year.

Fun: Movies, bushwalking, catching up with friends for a cuppa.

Family: Date nights, time individually with my adult kids, catching up with interstate or overseas family through phone calls, Zoom and in person when the borders are open.

Study: I am studying for a diploma in Community Services.

Music: Continue learning the harp.

Spiritual: To start each day on the lookout to what God is doing and living the life that Jesus modelled through the power of the Holy Spirit. To be involved in a life group where we read scripture and share the challenges and joy of living out our faith, sharing podcasts, prayer and music. To remember that God is in the details of my life.

As a result of these changes, I commenced a ‘jigsaw cafe’ in my home. Six to eight people would ‘book in’ for the 3-4 hour session, receive a jigsaw which they would commence, make new friends and enjoy a cuppa together. Each person would pay $20, which would go towards The Salvation Army’s Making It Happen Project supporting vulnerable indigenous women. I also did a ‘Lego Masters Cafe’ and an ‘Escape to the Chateau’ high tea where we watched the TV show and enjoyed a socially-distanced high tea together. Using something that I enjoy was a great way to connect with people during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Christine enjoys a sweet treat.

As a flow-on from a rekindled love of jigsaws, in 2021 I’m writing a jigsaw devotional book based on each jigsaw that I completed during the year.

Six months in and I have lost the first 10 kilos that the doctor suggested and my blood pressure and cholesterol has greatly improved, but more importantly, I am learning to value myself on the journey.

Lauren Daigle wrote these words, which six months ago could have come from my pen:

“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know.”

My identity is who God says I am. Loved and enough – just as I am.

The Holy Spirit reminds me every day that I don’t need to earn my place in this world. Even when I’m not making progress, I know that I am imperfect and I’m enough!

Over these past six months, I’ve learnt that it is wise to practise the pause, to regroup and celebrate where you are, right here, right now. I can’t focus on every segment at the same time. So, I hit the pause button on that area, until it’s time to hit release again.

My daily intention is to continue with this new rhythm and to live authentically to who God made me to be – healthy body, mind and spirit. In this journey I need a whole bunch of grace – why don’t you join me in 2021 and live your best authentic life?

Major Christine Waller is Adults and Seniors Secretary for the South Australia/Northern Territory Division.

 

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