Though the snow has been practically absent this season, winter hasn’t lost its
edge to wear us down. Less daylight, the chill of windy days, aggressive bugs
and dangerous flu stains have all conspired to weaken many. I too hunger to shed
the winter clothes, open the windows to a fresh spring breeze and even enjoy a
vigorous bike ride. In Chicago, February really is the dead of winter and the
height of cabin fever.
While spring days are likely weeks in the distance and most of us won’t be
escaping to warmer locales anytime soon, we still need a cure for cabin fever. I
think the first step (whenever it’s safe to do so) is to “get out” of the
sequestration of the house, the office, the car, or whatever is confining us.
Even if the weather limits us, getting out, moving around and connecting with
people as much as we reasonably can sure beats the alternative. Spiritually,
emotionally and physically, our Lenten discipline at St. John’s provides a good
framework to “get out” and refresh our days.
Daily Devotions +
Group Life Gatherings +
Worshipping Together =
Medicine for the Soul
The Cure for Cabin Fever!
This three-fold framework is something we’ve
worked to develop together over several years. We intentionally schedule less in
the activity calendar here to focus on a few key movements of refreshment for
A key element in this year’s equation involves opening the Book of Proverbs. Our
Lenten Devotional Booklet uses one each week and our Sunday worship services are
shaped around that same verse. In Group Life conversations, many more proverbs
are soothing, challenging and breathing fresh air into the lives of people
meditating on these treasures of the Bible. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Pr. 16:24).
The best part of this Lenten journey is when we “get outside” with the healing
words we have received. I’m starting to hear people around St. John’s quote
proverbs from worship, their small group conversations and their personal
devotions. When the Word of God “gets out” of the pages of the Bible and into
conversations that bless our homes, workplaces, neighborhoods and markets we add
daylight to winter, warmth to the chill in the air and refreshment to all that
seems stale and lifeless. When you take in a proverb and let it refresh your
soul, you have an equal opportunity to let it “get out” and bless someone else.
The treasure of a proverb is that each is short enough to be easily carried
around in our thoughts; and at the same time each is concentrated (even
time-released through meditation) in its wealth of understanding to bless
neighbors and entire communities. “Through the blessing of the upright a city
is exalted.” (Pr. 11:11).
One word of caution: many proverbs are
challenging and are meant to shape our hearts. Sometimes those words can be used
as weapons rather than personal refinement. An example of a misused proverb
would be, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a
quarrelsome wife.” (Pr. 25:24). If we want to use that strong medicine, we
should each apply that medicine in small doses to ourselves so that we might be
refined into a greater blessing rather than a self-righteous annoyance.
Proverbs have become my own vacation retreat
into the Word of God this season. Their wisdom has connected me to the heart and
mind of Christ. They have liberated me from those dark cooped up places into a
fresh understanding of the mind and peace of Christ. “Let the wise listen and
add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” (Pr 1:5). It’s
the cure for cabin fever.
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505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525
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