Kat Mills talks about the importance of embracing life.

Kat Mills
Kat Mills

I trained as a primary school teacher, and when it came to choosing my dissertation title, I choose something a little different but very important - "Stress in Education". I focused on how it had a negative impact in so many different areas and now, almost ten years later it is still an ever-present in or outside education.

There is so much pressure to be successful at everything we do, to perform at high levels, to be independent, to be able to pick up any new skill immediately, and to work ourselves into the ground whilst still being healthy at the same time.

Well the reality is, that is a recipe for disaster. I can tell you from first-hand experience. I worked myself into the ground picked up glandular fever and spent five years suffering chronic fatigue. Even now I still find it hard to get the balance right. I am good at the working hard bit, wanting to help others and to do things to be fruitful but when it comes to rest and relaxation, let's say I am still a work in progress.

Just the other day, I was asked what I do just for fun. Quite simply I was stumped! I have realised that the combination of autism and ADHD means that anything I start for fun can easily turn into an obsessive interest and as a result I had chosen to step back from some things. I was reminded that it is about choosing to do something because of the joy it brings me in the moment and not the outcome.

Earlier this week I ordered some candle making accessories - I had been wanting to do it for a while because I love the different aromas and I find candles calming. There is something satisfying and therapeutic about melting down the wax of old candles and creating something new. It gave me such joy to see these pretty new candles forming, and I realised it was really relaxing for me.

I think it's important we find things to do in our life that are not about the finished product but about the process. I lived for so many years in the vain pursuit of perfection and it was not fun. I would look at others being silly, or just having fun and not know how to join in. I am learning, learning to explore what I enjoy, what makes me smile and what helps me re-engage with the child within.

I believe God wants us to enjoy life and I am starting to understand that this means getting balance. It means knowing when to put down the phone, turn off the email and to just be present in the moment. It means knowing when it is time to be silly or unwind, or when it's okay to do something completely messy or imperfect because the process creates joyful memories and moments of peace. God made human beings, not human doings. Although I often fall into the latter, but I am learning to embrace the first!

Maybe, like me, your balance is rather skew-whiff. Maybe, like me, you need to stop and work out what rest and fun could or should look like in your life. Maybe you need to apply yourself more and get a better work balance. I know that as I travel this journey, I don't have to do it alone. That comes as a huge relief because I think I would fail in my own strength. I believe that when I ask God, He gives me the strength I need. He speaks truth into my life and reminds me of the importance of embracing life, resting or being. I believe that he answers whenever we call on him.

So what about you? CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.