When I was younger, some of the things my parents did sent me into full-out headache mode with all the eye rolling I did.

Why did they drive without turning the radio on in the car?

Why did they take rides together without any place to go?

Why did they continue to make jokes in front of my friends when clearly, they are not funny?

But the things I rolled my eyes at when I was younger are the very things I’m embracing as I’ve grown up. Give me a quiet car, a ride with my husband with no place to go, a hilarious joke that my kids won’t laugh at.

So when I learned just a few years ago what my dad does as he walks the dog every the morning, I was a little more open and a lot less eye rolly. What does he do? He sets the clock.

Sets the clock?

Sets the clock.

Not the literal clock, but his internal clock. He walks outside, breathes in deep, and considers the day in which he stands. It helps him, he says, to pause and consider where he is, what season and time of day it is, and his place in it.

Maybe it’s time for a sacred pause, a breathing in of the day and your place in it.

Have you forgotten who you are?

Do you remember where you stand and who stands beside you?

Do you remember Immanuel came, not just way back then, but right this minute?

Do you remember that he said It is better for me to go away – I will send a Comforter to be with you.

Do you remember that means He is not merely with us, but within us?

Do you remember why a weary world rejoices?

Do you remember why your soul has worth?

Maybe it’s time to set the clock. Today is Friday, December 21, 2012. 

The world has not ended after all, though for some it might seem so.

We have great hope in Christ, but we may not always feel hopeful. It’s important to acknowledge where you are right now no matter what that may look like.

It’s important to remember that allowing grief to do its deepest work does not invalidate your faith.

Whether your eyes are filled with love and hope or if your soul sits desperate in the midst of a dark night – might you at least remember that you have been placed on earth, fashioned with care, stunning and valuable? Might you be willing to allow the anxieties to rise to the surface and offer them up to God?

Take a moment to set the clock where your feet now stand. What do you see there?

by Emily Freeman, Chatting at the Sky

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  1. 1

    “It’s important to remember that allowing grief to do its deepest work does not invalidate your faith.” i love that you said this emily. something i have learned and taken to heart over the last few years. and a gift when you hand that knowing to another in the middle of grief. it can be unexpected and sweet relief to know you have the freedom to fully grieve. loved and needed to hear everything god put on your heart in this post. thank you for sharing it. xo –kris

  2. 2

    This is such a good reminder in the midst of a very hurried season for us. I have a sick baby and a busy husband, and I can forget to stop and breathe and be thankful. Thank you for this!

  3. 3

    Agreed, Kris. It’s such a freeing thought! Well put, Emily. It’s easy to get lost in the guilt of “that’s another day lost, one that you can’t get back, and you wasted it by not being happy”. What a relief it is, that He meets us exactly where we are…whatever emotion, season, stage we’re in, He still draws near. Reminds me of something Augustine said:

    “Do heaven and earth, then, contain the whole of you, since you fill them? Or, when once you have filled them, is some part of you left over because they are too small to hold you? If this is so, when you have filled heaven and earth, does that part of you which remains flow over into some other place? Or is it that you have no need to be contained in anything, because you contain all things in yourself and fill them by reason of the very fact that you contain them? For the things which you fill by containing them do not sustain and support you as a water vessel supports the liquid which fills it. Even if they were broken to pieces, you would not flow out of them and away. And when you pour yourself out over us, you are not drawn down to us but draw us up to yourself: You are not scattered away, but you gather us together.”

  4. 5

    EMILY! Lovely! I actually want to go out and walk the dog RIGHT. NOW. We have fresh snow and I am feeling lazy and wanting warmth…but…After my post this morning, yours is so UPLIFTING and I can see, to live well, some pooch might just get a stroll. I need a clock reset.

  5. 8

    That “great hope we have in Christ” shines strong and bright and in the hard times it is still quietly reserved deep within us, stirring us on even though we don’t strongly feel it. He is the Light of our Hope through it all – because He is “within us.”

  6. 9

    Words to take to our hearts. Thank your dad too!

  7. 10

    Thank-you for sharing this beautiful sentiment……

    Each day my family teases me for rising so early . When they ask me why I do so, I simply state that it is because I’m so grateful to have a new day.A new start, a new beginning.Each day is a gift……

    Joy , Peace and Comfort to all !

  8. 11

    What a special way to be thankful. Wake up in the morning and just be thankful.

  9. 12

    Thank you so much for this post! Reset–I think that is the best word to describe the process of pausing to reflect where we are and assessing where we need to be. So many times when my electricity goes off I have to reset my clock…except my new one that I just got last Christmas which seems to have some new technology for clocks in it that automatically resets when the electricity goes off. Love that new feature! This past year has been the most difficult year for me. With a few families tragedies going on at the same time including the death of my father whom I hadn’t seen in 23 years til just weeks before his passing, to another tragedy, and then with all that is going on in the world now, I have found myself sitting in darkness and close to despair. I reset because I notice that I have allowed the darkness around me to pull me away from God taking my eyes off Him and on the circumstances. This post just reminded me again to look at where I am and reset my focus. Thanks again! Blessings!

    • 13

      What you say here is so honest and real, Christine. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • 14

      I too am in a dark place, but I don’t seem to see the light so clear. I feel guilt because I know He is true and promises to be with me. But honestly, how do I KNOW He is here? I can’t shake the feeling of discouragement and I just have questions. If our circumstances don’t change how do find peace in that when things are hard? I don’t mean to be such a downer but I need some encouragement today

      • 15
        Michelle says:

        Elaine, find the softness and the stillness in the darkness. Bring your questions. Let your questions be. Let what is hard, be hard (it’s going to be hard anyway, right? Until it’s not; and whenever that might me, whatever that might look like, is unknown). Let your anger out; let it go. Let your heart break. When you stop holding it in, holding it together, trying to piece things back together, then there is rest, stillness, peace.

      • 19
        Michelle says:

        While reading today I came across a passage and thought of you. I don’t know your circumstances, but I’m sharing this on the chance it might ring for you:

        “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
        ― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

        Malilly discover light in that place beyond hope and despair.

  10. 21

    Thank you.

  11. 22

    Love it! Thanks for not rolling your eyes, and sharing with us!

    (From a quiet riding, going no-where, now grandma!)

  12. 23

    Love this… I am one who tries to remain fully present in each day and over the years the Lord has taught me how to remain in the moment (it’s a process, and some days are so much easier than others!) The question you ask, “Do you remember why a weary world rejoices?” – that one got me! Yes… I remember… but it brought me to my knees… Lord, let Your Light so shine that others who are caught up in the darkness …in the weariness of this world – will remember! Merry Christmas!

  13. 24

    Thanks so much Emily. You have a way saying right things, at right times. Yes…set the clock daily…not just now, but for a new spiritual practice in the new year.

  14. 25

    I love this – resetting my clock each morning, part of my daily routine and a focused start to my day. Thank you for sharing. Our weary world can indeed still rejoice…

  15. 26

    This touched me very deeply, thank you!

  16. 27

    I find myself wanting to forget all the responsibilities that are tied to the morning alarm these days…just never seem rested enough to start it all over again. But I have chickens who have to be let out of their coop at 7AM each morning and once I’m outside in that fresh air, I find myself feeling ready to tackle the day. Something about getting the stuffy, stagnant mood out that makes everything fall into place :-)

  17. 28
    kimberly says:

    Hi Emily-I am walking through a crazy time right now between losing my Dad to cancer a couple months ago and my husband losing his job. But God is allowing me to understand the deeper mysteries of His presence as your blog today so beautifully articulated. The section that resonated so sweetly with me was “We have great hope in Christ, but we may not always feel hopeful. It’s important to acknowledge where you are right now no matter what that may look like….It’s important to remember that allowing grief to do its deepest work does not invalidate your faith.” I think one of the huge things I am learning is that this relationship I have with the King of the Universe requires honesty as any earthly healthy relationship does that I am blessed to have. Thank you for reaffirming that grief and loss and feeling like your world is upside down means nothing has changed about God, that I belong to Him and it is in these places that He does His deep, lasting work. Praise God! Love ,Kimberly

    • 29

      Kimberly I think we all could learn a great deal from those who are walking through/ have walked through dark times – thanks for pointing out the “deeper mysteries of His presence.”

    • 30
      Beth Williams says:

      Kimberly,

      Praying for you and your family now! May God surround you with His loving arms and fill you with His bright countenance!

      I pray for healing from the death of your father–death is never easy to deal with. Praying for a job soon for your hubby!

      God Bless!

  18. 31
    Jeannine Spivak says:

    Emily, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the way your heart and words have ministered to me over the past year. Thank you for using the gifts God has given you so bravely and honestly to draw me closer to Jesus. I pray you and your family will have a blessed Christmas.

  19. 33

    A beautiful post. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  20. 34

    Oh, Emily, those photos are exquisite and they are resetting my internal clock. Giving me a deep inhale of beauty. Thank you.

  21. 35
    veronica says:

    Hey greeaat message..i totally looovee it. God bless you!!

  22. 36

    “It’s important to remember that allowing grief to do its deepest work does not invalidate your faith.” Wow, this is so true, and sad because some “Christians” portray the contrary.

  23. 37

    This hasn’t been the best year for me, and a times even my faith gets the flaming darts of the enemy. Getting “by accident” into the road that leaded me to read the beautiful insights of your godly heart, is really a blessing. Thank you for sharing what God has written in your soul.

  24. 38
    Bernice Brady says:

    We remember why a weary world rejoices!!! WOW! Thank you for this beautiful message……..I just love it all. Blessed and joyful Christmas to you & yours!!!.

  25. 39
    Phyllis says:

    All I have to say is “WOW”! How powerful your words are to me, to my family right now in our lives. I am printing this and giving this to our oldest daughter tomorrow when I see her – she is finding out who God is (again) – thank you for giving words that we sometimes find hard to find – found. Bless you!

    • 40
      Melissa O says:

      I wanted to say exactly what Phyllis just said! Only insert “husband” for “oldest daughter”. It’s so hard to watch someone struggle so much, but God is in the struggle and it’s bringing my husband to the end of himself and to the feet of Christ. I never thought I’d see this but knew it wasn’t impossible!

  26. 41
    miss honey says:

    wow…..the ‘sacred pause’. what an amazing thought for each day! thank you so much. perspective is a blessed gift!!!

  27. 42
    Scott Rodriguez says:

    …thank you…to this day, I wish I’d have seen the look on my face when I heard someone say for the first time, “Feelings aren’t facts.” Since then, I’ve remembered to “set my compass”…(clocks are a challenge, because I’m a truck driver, and transport-for-hire is a round-the-clock enterprise) but once I got my senses back, after years of dulling them, the main task now is being anchored in “the truth” and not just trafficking in more “information” while being driven by emotion…thanks again, Merry Christmas

  28. 43

    The timing of this post couldn’t have been better … I need to take a refreshing breath and remind myself of these truths. Had such a hard day today putting my sweet almost 18-yr-old kitty to sleep right before Christmas. Reading this was like getting a hug. Thank you for sharing it.

  29. 44

    Very fitting since I was just outside with the dog, looking up at the stars
    thinking about how great God is

  30. 45

    Thanks so much for this reminder Emily!

    I have been walking my dog with her GINGLE BELL on her collar – she gingles all the way and the sound of it just brings me much joy. It all reminds me to have joy in this season and not to let all the rush rush get to me. Your post reminds us that HIS peace is there every day no matter what we are in the midst of it… HE wants our souls to love HIM!

  31. 46

    Thanks for all the honest response. Emily thx for such honest words you wrote. So often people mask themselves that they have everything together. To continue an intimate walk with God is to be real with one`s station of life n to be honest before Him. He indeed comes to embrace us in whatever state of life we are in. I am in a painful state of my life where i try to make sense out of it but God is drawing close to me in my pain and i am learning to pour out my vows in honesty before Him. I need a big hug from Papa this Christmas…i need His love to breakthru my wounded heart of deep disappointment and pain. Pray with me for a love encounter this Christmas.

  32. 47

    Emily, I enjoyed the reading, and have enjoyed several in the past, but I was wondering if you could explain more this sentence, “It’s important to remember that allowing grief to do its deepest work does not invalidate your faith.” I think I get it, but am hoping you expounding on it would be so helpful.

    • 48

      Sure, Dori.

      I think grief, disappointment, and sadness can be misunderstood as a lack of faith – Someone might say, “If you really trusted God, you wouldn’t be so sad/scared/disappointed, etc.”

      I think that’s a gross distortion of the gospel and our human condition. I believe God meets us where we truly are, not where we pretend we are. He comes to be with us in the midst of our grief, not to force us to deny it exists.

      Sometimes in our desire to help and comfort people in the midst of their pain, we actually deny them permission to feel their pain deeply and instead try to push them to hopefulness or light because that feels more manageable to us.

      Allowing grief to do its deepest work (in our own lives or in the lives of others) can actually be a deep act of faith – having the courage to face how bad it really is but knowing that you don’t face it alone.

      Does that help?

      • 49

        Emily – your post is beautiful. And this above? Like apples of gold in settings of silver. Exquisite. Thank you.

  33. 50
    Beth Williams says:

    Emily,

    Great post!

    I believe everyone at some point in their lives needs to reset the clock and slow down. We need to stop and take some quiet time to listen to and thank God for all He’s done within the year!

    I get some time off this time of year and I use it to reflect on and acknowledge what God has done in this year! Other things I do is a daily thankful list, making some quiet time to reflect and pray!

  34. 51

    Thank you for writing this down. Bless you heaps :)

  35. 52

    This is exactly what I needed today! Thank you!

  36. 53

    Thank you !
    This Christmas finds me in a very difficult place.
    My best friend passed away in May!
    My son divorced me in September!
    My Mom passed away in October!
    I’m trying to stay on top of all of this and praise Him who loves
    me more than I will every understand, in the midst of all of this!

    • 54

      Pam,

      I’m so sorry to hear of all that you are going through.

      I will pray for peace , comfort and joy for you….

  37. 55

    I love that your dad does this. So beautiful. And that you now find yourself “setting the clock.” Thanks for sharing this! Beautiful advent thoughts to ponder as we near Tuesday.

  38. 56

    Thank you for words and memories that build up!

  39. 57

    If your soul sits desperate in the midst of a dark night… I needed to read those words. Many things going on that are causing a dark night in my soul. Last year Christmas was so joyful even though many in my church family were experiencing a dark night. This year it is my turn and I was really thinking that my faith should be lifting me above it all. Now I realize we can’t always control our reactions and just be happy when life is attacking our faith. We are victorious in Christ no matter what, but sometimes our soul needs to be reminded that it is ok to feel grief and sadness when life isn’t turning out the way you had hoped – yet. May God give us the ability to rejoice in our spirit even when our soul sits desperate in the midst of a dark night. He is faithful – always!

  40. 58

    What a wonderful post… I’ve read your blog on and off for the last several months, and reading what you share is always a calming and affirming experience. First time I’ve commented, and just wanted to let you know how much I do enjoy it. I’m preparing to start blogging again – I stopped about six months ago, after about four years. It was never a “big” blog, just something that allowed me to keep up with my life, be able to share photos and stories with my family and close friends. But it got to the point that it was more of a “chore” to update, and I would think “Oh, I need to blog”; and after a few months of feeling that way, I decided it was time to stop. I’ve missed it, though, and I’m ready to explore that outlet in my life again, and reading what you write at Chatting at the Sky and here has been part of that tugging that makes me feel that I need to take the time to think, to write, to be thankful and to “reset” as you say above. I’d like to share your post above, and to put a link to your blog on my site, I hope that will be okay! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and life, and just wanted to let you know how it has touched me.

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  1. [...] When Your Soul Needs to Feel Its Worth from (in)courage On sacred pauses [...]

  2. [...] Why did they drive without turning the radio on in the car? [...]

  3. [...] I just want to share a wonderful post that Emily Freeman (from Chatting at the Sky) wrote – When Your Soul Needs to Feel its Worth. The post talks about resetting your internal clock for Christmas. Her words are applicable and [...]