Recently a lot of my friends have been into exercising and running and stuff like that. There is this desire to be healthy and to feel great because your body is doing great. We live in such a fast paced world that we have little time to actually do these things and pick up these habits that are good for us. In the midst of that fast paced world I got thinking about how I can take care of myself… no not just exercise but myself… deep inside me. My emotions, my quality of thought, my strength of character all those other things that also come together to make me, me. I penned down a few things I came up with and I happily confess that this list is in no way close to an exhaustive one but it is a good beginning if you would like to find a starting to point. Also, if you are wondering why, as a Pastor I have not included any spiritual disciplines it is simply because this is not that kind of a blog post. We all know the importance of tending to our Spiritual lives and we are constantly reminded about the importance of looking after our physical self… but there is another dimension of us that I do believe God expects us to nurture and to tend to as well and the following suggestions are directed to that dimension of us.
 
So here are three presents that you can gift yourself today.
 
1. Read one chapter of any book.
 
Reading is one of those things that we either love or are unenthusiastic about. Those who love reading just cannot stop and those who are not readers just cannot start. I, with all my extroverted personality and my tendency to be this social butterfly used to find it very hard to sit still and read. For that simple reason I was not given to reading books as much as many other friends of mine. Now my friends would recommend books and tell me about authors I would and should love. But allow me to let you in on a secret of the “book fearers club” – we see a book and the first thing we do is count the pages. We take one look at that book and we see a commitment that we feel is already beyond us. As an honorary and long time member of this club it was always going to be tough for me to pick up the habit of reading. But the trick to this is no matter how busy we are or how tough it is to sit still we can always find both the time and the ability to read at least ONE chapter in the entire day. Chip away at some of those books that you want to read one chapter at a time.
 
The truth is that the habit of reading is one of the best presents you can gift your very being. Much like a tall glass of chilled water on a hot day brings inexplicable refreshment so too a good reading habit can bring about a deep satisfaction and profound refreshment to your inner man.
 
2. Connect with someone you’ve not connected with for a while.
 
One of the problems with the fast paced world we live in is that we find the time to connect with people we would like to connect with diminishing rapidly. Social media has come with many positives but some negatives as well and one of the biggest of these is that we feel so well connected with our friends because thanks to the various social media platforms we can “follow, like, poke, comment, react and even stalk” their profiles and hence feel like a part of their life events without ever having to actually meet up or interact with them. We have become extremely well connected sociable hermits. Social media also allows us to project to the world the image we want the world to see. The photos we put up are of happy homes, laughing faces, wonderful sunsets and inspiring thoughts. Thanks to these images people get the feeling life is going well but the reality is the house is messy more often than not; we aren’t laughing a lot; the pollution blocks out most wonderful sunsets and we are not thinking inspiring thoughts most of the time.
 
To really know what is up in people’s lives we need to interact with them. But again in this fast paced world of ours the list of names of people we interact with has been drastically purged of many names and we find to our dismay only those who are in our immediate context during a given day are shortlisted and out of this condensed list we connect with those that are the most convenient to connect with. This convenience is defined by factors such as whether they are part of the tasks I am doing today; they are in my immediate workspace or somewhere near it; they are within sight or earshot etc. And somewhere along the way of this kind of relational living many good friends (maybe even potential best friends) have fallen off the radar.
 
One of the best presents you can give yourself today is to find some time to connect with one of those friends who fell of your radar. If they are in your city or town and you can manage your time to meet up with them that would be ideal. But let’s face it, this doesn’t always happen and then there’s also the matter that some of these long lost friends have moved town. Here’s where social media has its pros. Don’t merely check out the happenings of their lives by shuffling through their Facebook photo albums or recent posts. Reach out and say hello, check up and connect with them again. Make sometime to have a conversation. It’ll trigger nostalgia and a good feeling with you as well.
 
3. Find a 5-minute slot to do nothing.
 
Time is money, or so the world keeps insisting we believe. But the truth is time is valuable much more valuable than money. In the middle of all those deadlines, crazy traffic, piled up studies and so much more it’s important to also rest. No wait!!! I did not mean sleep, I said rest. Find that time in the day when you do absolutely nothing for 5 minutes. You’ll find 5 minutes is a long time to do nothing. Don’t listen to music, don’t pick up an instrument, don’t check social media, get away from your phone, don’t read a book… don’t do anything. Just sit back and allow your mind to slow down just a bit. Let those thoughts run all over the place and you’ll find your mind calming itself down. Even for the biggest control freaks, perfectionists and busybodies out there – God has built into us a system that allows our minds and our beings to just slow down and calm down. You’ll find that if you can pack in 2 or 3 of these slots in your day you’ll become more productive at your work. Now don’t go and take that 5 minute slot when you have 6 minutes to meet a deadline or suddenly find 25 of these “5 minute do-nothing” slots in the day. But plan some time in your today to just sit back and slow down.
 
Like I said earlier this is far from an exhaustive list. I would love to hear your suggestions and your experiences on some of the best presents we can gift ourselves daily.
 
God bless
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Sandeep Christian

Sandeep worked in graphic design for a short time before joining DBF Central on staff in 2003. He served in worship and youth ministry for a few years before leaving for bible college. Sandeep joined DBF Central as a pastor in 2008 and currently he is coordinating pastor. He loves to teach the word of God through any and every platform. He enjoys relating normal everyday stories and circumstances to deep eternal truths and realities He is trained in biblical counselling and he also shepherds the worship ministry of the Church. Sandeep is married to Emily they have 3 kids. Sandeep loves music, photography, movies, board games and writing. You can find him often updating some randomness in his head onto some social media platform.

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