Psalm 27

I love memories. Today I've been remembering a perfect Monday evening from years back....

The smell of homemade clam chowder greeted me as I walked through the front door. After kissing the kids and hugging the cook, I settled into my favourite chair, loosened my tie, and kicked off my shoes—just in time to watch the beginning of the game. 

Our two youngest were upstairs fiddling around with a rabbit, two hamsters, and a guinea pig. Our older daughter was on the phone with her best friend, whom she hadn't seen for at least two hours. Curt was sitting on the floor in his room strumming his guitar and singing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." In between chopped onions and diced potatoes, Cynthia was doubled over with laughter in the kitchen as she tried to finish a chapter of Erma Bombeck's latest book.

No amount of money can buy that feeling of incredible contentment, that inner sense of fulfilment, that surge of release and relief as the noise and pace of the world are muffled by the sounds and smells and sights of a happy, relaxed evening at home. 

What therapy! How essential! And yet how seldom we really relax. It's almost as though we are afraid to slow down, shift into neutral, and let the motor idle. 

We place such a high priority on achievement that we actually feel guilty when we accomplish nothing over a period of several hours. This is underscored by the number of churches who literally brag about "something for everybody every night of the week"! 

Relaxing isn't automatic, is it? It's a skill that must be learned. Here are a couple of suggestions to help you cultivate that skill: 

Block out several evenings each month on your calendar. Make special plans to do nothing except something you (or your family) would enjoy. 

Each day, look for times when something humorous or unusual makes laughter appropriate...then laugh out loud! That helps flush out the nervous system. 

And when you relax, really relax. 

A relaxed, easy-going Christian is far more attractive and effective than the rigid, uptight brother who squeaks when he walks and whines when he talks.


Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.