Life is like a river, made up of many smaller streams. Are you taking care of the streams flowing into your life’s river to keep them unpolluted?
As I crossed the low-water bridge on my walk this morning and marveled at the beautiful North Fork of the Shenandoah River, I recalled how different the river looks, depending on the amount of rain we’ve had. It was low today — lazy and meandering. It’s hard to even imagine the ferocity it can display during a flood.
But no matter how great or massive the river might be—whether it’s the little North Fork of the Shenandoah River or the mighty Mississippi, it is fed by smaller creeks and streams that flow from various sources and eventually join together.
Each contributes a vital part to the whole.
Life is like a river
We, too, are fed by many small streams which, taken individually, might seem inconsequential, but seen as a whole, they make us who we are. The streams might be our faith, our friendships, our health, our mindset, our actions (or inactions).
As with real rivers, the streams and creeks of our lives enter at different places and provide different nutrients, but our own life-streams are braided and intertwined. They cross each other and affect each other in a myriad of marvelous and mysterious ways. The more I practice mindfulness, the more I appreciate the various streams in my life and try to keep them fresh and unpolluted.
Take care of your streams
From the book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, we know that to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven, so we shouldn’t be surprised when sometimes our life is turbulent and sometimes it’s calm. But no matter what season of life we’re in, it’s important to recognize and be grateful for the streams that feed our souls and bodies.
If any one of those streams is blocked or stagnant or polluted, we must pay attention and seek to make adjustments. Consider the four keys to the #HeartspokenLife: Faith, Connection, Self-knowledge, and Nature. If one is out of balance, it can throw all the others off too.
Are you eating and sleeping well?
Is hurt or anger festering?
Are you ignoring your gut feelings?
Are you getting enough fresh air and exercise?
Are you hanging around the wrong people?
Are you focusing on trials instead of on blessings?
Are you taking the time to abide with God?
When I find my own life out of balance or am experiencing more stress or anxiety than usual, one of these is a likely culprit.
Just as environmentalists know that to preserve the purity of a large body of water, they must preserve the purity of every contributing stream all the way back to the headwaters, so must we do this to nourish our souls and live our most heartspoken life, no matter what the ebbs and flows might be.
Take time to consider the streams that feed your life’s river and do what you can to keep them clean and free-flowing.
(Revised, updated, and new graphics added from a 2015 post).
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