It sounds so indulgent. And I suppose it could be. But for me and many who work in people-oriented professions; who have lots of plates spinning; who say yes to more than we should, having a personal day—a “Beth” day, as I call it—is a novel experience.
A Beth day is a day when I intentionally listen to and obey my own attractions and desires for how I want to spend my day. I start out in the morning and ask the question, “What sounds good to me right now?” And that’s what I do—the entire day. I know it sounds narcissistic. But the reason it’s a valuable practice for me is that I often have a hard time knowing what sounds good to me. I lose a sense of my own desires because I’m so duty-bound and responsible to my work, my roles and my relationships. And that makes it tough to inhabit my own self and pay attention to what I’m drawn to, need and desire.
So, I head out on a Beth day, which I consider to be a form of retreat. It’s a retreat from work-oriented, responsibility-focused living, as I embrace my yearnings, inklings and interests. I most often head to an outdoor café where I read and drink coffee. Then I meander on a beautiful walking path past a lovely garden and onto the grounds of our local art museum. I may, or may not, take in some of the exhibits (remember—it’s about listening to what sounds good), or sit on a bench, drink in the sunshine and pray.
I eat when I’m hungry. I walk when I feel the urge. I rest when I’m tired. I pray as prayers come. All this helps me remember how to listen to and regard the inner promptings of my own body, soul and spirit. It re-trains me to listen to the quiet voice of the Spirit speaking through my true desires. Remarkably, at the end of a Beth day, I often feel spiritually and physically refreshed and renewed, like I’ve become human again.
If you tend to take life too seriously, work too hard and try to please too many people, may I recommend something? Take a retreat from those things and have a (you fill in the blank) day.
How does having a Beth day sound to you?
What have you learned about yourself and about God when you’ve done something similar?
Beth Booram has been a lifelong vocational minister in parachurch and local church settings, both mainline and nondenominational. She is an author, spiritual director and healing prayer practitioner, as well as a congregational consultant. She speaks around the country at conferences and retreats on topics related to spiritual formation and Christian leadership. Beth understands the issues that confound many people today and offers a message that is authentic and original; absent of clichés and formulas, while full of wisdom and insight. She is a disarming communicator who draws from a deep reservoir of compassion through her own healing journey and profound encounter with Christ. Beth's presentations are highly creative, often utilizing artistic elements, contemplative exercises, and engaging interaction. Her next book, Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God will be released in February with InterVarsity Press. Beth has also written The Wide Open Spaces of God (Abingdon Press, 2007) and Picturing the Face of Jesus (Abingdon Press/April, 2009).