Day 31: True Rest – the Beginning to Never Needing

fall roadThe month of October has sped by and I feel like I’ve barely touched on the topic of rest. I think I was hoping to uncover some secret to feeling at rest, but instead, I ended up frazzled and stretched throughout the whole month.

Much like I wrote in the very first post for this series, Called to Rest, I long for the break. In this case, the end of the month. Here’s what I said 31 days ago:

We spend so much of our lives striving for something. We work to fit in with peers, we fill our calendars with events, we climb the corporate ladder…But how many of us, when the day is done and the party is over and we’re finally alone in our homes, are just plain worn out? We kick off our shoes and get into some comfy sweats and sigh deeply. We long for the weekends, vacation, a holiday or just a day off, but even then we fill those to the brim, finally exclaiming, “I need a vacation from my vacation!”

I’m starting to wonder if we really ever do feel at rest, completely rested in this life. The success of that involves us totally surrendering our lives and schedules, hopes and dreams on the Lord. But since my sinful heart continually fights to grasp at control of my life, it only comes in bits and spurts. Moments of peace, seconds of rest. A Sabbath here and there.

It’s good to want the rest, but it becomes tarnished when rest becomes an idol consuming our days.

The reward may not be in the resting after all. The goal may be the One in whom we rest. That desire we all have for rest may be a longing for Heaven and home with God.

And it keeps me wanting
That mysterious thing
Like a night is waiting for a dawn

The joy is in the waiting
Somewhere in the grand design
It’s good to be unsatisfied
It keeps the faith and hope
A little more alive

This is such a fun song with which to close out the month, from my Canadian friends again.

Every prayer I say (a little closer)
To my resting place (a little closer)
Where my final breath
Is the beginning
To never needing
And I will find my last Amen.

Doesn’t that sound like true rest – the beginning to never needing? Total, 100% surrender to God, trusting him absolutely?

Rest indeed.

Until we reach that last Amen of true rest, continue to give up those bits of crazy in your life to find glimpses of rest. Keep reminding each other to surrender control, to trust God, and to rest in Him. Encourage “one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” — Hebrews 3:13

If you want to a little further reading on rest, take a look at Hebrews 3-4, comparing the Israelites who were not allowed to enter God’s rest with those who believe and are allowed to enter His rest.

Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…

Thank you for journeying with me through 31 Days of Rest. I pray that you find that true rest.

Day 30: Rest in Your Mess

Photo credit: Jennifer @ http://www.jenbh.blogspot.com/

I’m a mess.

I stay up too late at night so I’m groggy and cranky when the alarm goes off – IF I hear the alarm go off. I run late – EVERY.WHERE. I lost a lot of weight, got new clothes, then gained the weight back and now nothing fits right. I put off emptying the dishwasher until the sink is full of dishes. “Luckily?,” I have a cat who can’t get it through her thick skull that she’s not allowed on the kitchen counters, so I have to keep the counters clean or she’d be licking anything left on the counter. I nag and complain and am rude to my husband when I think he should be home helping me clean. I get sidetracked by Facebook or Pinterest or blog reading instead of doing something constructive. I procrastinate. I’m jealous. I get angry. I covet my neighbor’s…well, everything.

Let’s just stop there for now. I could go on, but we all get the point – I’m a mess.

You’re a mess, too. I don’t mean to sound rude, but you know it’s true. Even if you don’t let anyone see it, you know it.

We are all messes. That should actually be comforting. Because God meets us in our mess – we don’t have to clean up our act before He wants us or before He will accept us. Romans 5:6-8 says:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Weak = messes. Sinners = messes.

We don’t have to hide our messes from one another in community, though, pretending we are already perfect. God is perfecting us as we grow closer to Him, but we’ll never be absolutely perfect this side of eternity. Pretending to be so is really only adding to the mess.

Be willing to show your mess to your friends. Be real about your mess in community. It only creates more opportunity for grace to abound (Romans 5-6) or, as Mary DeMuth put it, it’s where grace will find a home.

Rest in your mess because God shows His love for you in your mess. Then grow in grace, releasing more and more of your mess into His hands, allowing Him to work in you. My prayer for you from Philippians 1:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace…And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Can you believe it’s Day 30 of the series on Rest?

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Day 28: Tired and Heavy-Laden

I’m afraid I didn’t plan my time well and don’t have time today to do more than share this song. It’s by one of my favorite Canadian bands, Downhere, who are unfortunately taking a break from the full-time music scene. One of the guys, Marc Martel, is currently touring with the Queen Extravaganza as the lead singer. His voice is incredibly like Freddie Mercury’s voice, so he’s perfect for the role.

Without further ado…

Come to me you tired and heavy-laden…
Come to me with all your weariness…

I will give you rest.

Rest.

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Day 27: A Sort of Coming Home

I sort of thought/wished/hoped that I was done with emotionally exhaustion this month – I mean, at some point you hit the end of your reserve, right?

Emotionally, I felt a little dead inside this morning. I overslept, due in part to an allergy pill taken late Saturday evening (those little buggers knock me out), and arrived late to church, missing the first half section of music.

Part of the sermon by my pastor, Kevin, (based on the text of Exodus 34) focused on the glory of God, where Moses’ face literally shone from being on the mountain with the Lord that he wore a veil over his face.

I was reminded yet again of Revelation 21-22, talking about the new heaven and new earth:

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. — Revelation 21:22-26

And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. — Revelation 22:5

Our Gathering closed with us singing It is Well with my Soul (which I’ve previously mentioned knocks me over at times). Once again, I am reminded that, however drastic my trials may seem, I haven’t lost all that is precious to me like the writer of that hymn. If he could face heartbreaking losses, and still declare his soul is well (because he trusts in Jesus as Lord and Savior), how can I not do the same?

Hayley with me at Easter

Hayley with me at Easter

Still feeling numb after the Gathering, a dear, dear friend came up to me and I realized she was telling me she was moving before the next Sunday and this would be our last chance to see one another before the cross-country move.

My reaction was wooden. “Oh, okay…” *hug* “I knew this day was coming eventually…” She remembered a card for me was in the car. “Don’t move, I’ll be right back.”

I turned to my husband, “Hayley is telling me goodbye.” *light dawns* “Oh! She’s saying goodbye!” And I burst into tears (I did mention I was a little slow on the uptake this morning?).

I was so grateful for that break so I could absorb the full meaning of the moment. When she returned, I threw my arms around her and tried (through tears) to convey some of the depth of all she meant in my life and a fumbled blessing for her future.

How do you sum all that someone means to you and all your hopes for them in a 5 minute conversation? 😕

We reminded each other that as Christians, we don’t say goodbye. There will be a heavenly reunion some day.

As I drove away from the church building, the conversation brought to mind a passage from my favorite book, A Severe Mercy. The author, Sheldon Vanauken, and C. S. Lewis are parting ways, as Vanauken and his wife, Davy, head back to the States.

On that last day I met C.S. Lewis at the Eastgate for lunch. We talked, I recall, about death or, rather, awakening after death. Whatever it would be like, we thought, our response to it would be “Why, of course! Of course it’s like this. How else could it have possibly been.” We both chuckled at that. I said it would be a sort of coming home, and he agreed. Lewis said that he hoped Davy and I would be coming back to England soon, for we mustn’t get out of touch. “At all events,” he said with a cheerful grin, “we’ll certainly meet again, here – or there.” Then it was time to go, and we drained our mugs. When we emerged on to the busy High with the traffic streaming past, we shook hands, and he said: “I shan’t say goodbye. We’ll meet again.” Then he plunged into the traffic. I stood there watching him. When he reached the pavement on the other side, he turned round as though he knew somehow that I would still be standing there in front of the Eastgate. Then he raised his voice in a great roar that easily overcame the noise of the cars and buses. Heads turned and at least one car swerved. “Besides,” he bellowed with a great grin, “Christians NEVER say goodbye!”

Part of life on this earth includes farewells through broken relationships, exciting cross-country moves, parting by death, or the slow separation of lives going in different directions. When we step back from the momentary pain and glimpse the big picture of eternity, today’s parting will feel more like someone stepped out to run an errand and will return in a moment.

A sort of coming home. 

Isn’t that beautiful? I can cling to this while I wait. We can rest in this.

Today is day 27 of the rest series. You can read them all here.

I’m linking up with

Day 26: Nothing is Wasted

Nothing_is_wastedI think we’re on a trend here. This is not the post I planned to write today, but carrying over from the heartache posted on Thursday night and hope glimpsed yesterday, this is the right finish to these thoughts. These are truths I need to rest in. These are promises you need to rest in.

There are hurts that need healing (we all have them). And we serve a Sovereign God who uses the bad, the hurts, the hardships, for our good and His glory.

I was just reliving some past hurtful years through re-connection with a former classmate. While I would have loved to not have had those hard times, I can definitely see how God has used them to help me to grow, to give me compassion, to develop my character in ways that would not have happened if it had not been for those experiences.

There are specific people I have in mind as I listen to the words of this song. I wish I could name you, but that might increase your hurt. This may be for you, so listen closely.

God does not delight in the hurts that we receive, in particular, ones that come as a consequence of someone else’s sin. But he takes them, uses them, and shapes us through those hurts to look ever more like the image of Himself. Nothing is wasted.

This trial that you can’t see your way out of – nothing is wasted.

The pain that goes deep to your heart of hearts – nothing is wasted.

The tears you cry that no one sees – nothing is wasted.

In the hands of our Redeemer, nothing is wasted.

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope’s a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

It’s from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what’s lost will be found again

When hope is more than you can bear
And it’s too hard to believe it could be true
And your strength fails you halfway there
You can lean on me and I’ll believe for you
And in time you will believe it, too

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
Sometimes we are waiting
in sorrow we have tasted
but joy will replace it
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

Today, Dear Friend, if your strength fails you halfway there, lean on me and I’ll believe for you. Nothing is wasted in the hands of our Redeemer. I pray in time you will believe it, too.

Much love,
Janice

Today is Day 26 of 31 days of being called to rest.

I’m linking up with

Day 25: Truth to Rest Upon

Yesterday, I let you peek inside a dark corner of my heart. And thank you to everyone who commented, both on the blog and off.

Secret Garden

What was purposefully missing was the wrap up. The promises. The blessings. The hope. And I was so encouraged that so many of the comments brought those to light.

God is always with us. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.

Everyone feels alone at some time. Our sin which separates us from God, also separates us from each other.

Comparing ourselves to others comes from hearts prone to sin. Hearts that are deceitful and don’t tell us the truth.

There is grace for when we fail others. There is grace when we fail ourselves. There is grace when we fail God.

Light inside the garden

These are truths to rest upon.

What other truths of God do you need to rest on right now?

Today is day 25 of 31 Days of Rest. If you missed any days, click here to go back to the beginning.

Altogether Separate

fall leavesI always thought that growing up meant you no longer felt left out, the misfit, alone.

Altogether Separate.

That’s the phrase my husband and some friends used to tell the waitstaff when 20 or so of us would go out to eat. Are we together or separate? Altogether separate.

That’s how I feel today. Right or wrong (and I almost didn’t post because it feels wrong).

I had dinner with a group of gals from church. From my Missional Community. The name implies we should be best of buds.

I felt altogether separate from them most of the evening.

The FMFparty was delayed. Because a huge group of fmf-ers are at Allume and were having a FMF live party. I sat altogether alone in my dining room, refreshing Twitter for the prompt. Altogether separate.

I always thought that growing up meant you no longer felt left out.

Some of this is my fault. I’m not an outgoing person. It’s hard for me to engage someone in conversation when I don’t know them or feel comfortable with them.

Some of the fault is mine. I withdraw because I’m comparing myself to the beautiful faces around the table, representing young, talented, thin, pregnant, motherly, energetic, creative, outgoing, strong, successful women.

I can’t compete with that. The same as I can’t afford a conference ticket and even if I could, would I dare to walk up to a stranger and welcome her? If I had been in that live party tonight would I have felt a part of the togetherness that I saw in twitpics and instagram photos?

This post doesn’t have the cutesy wrap-up, the illustration that makes you leave with a smile. Growing up only brings out new ways to feel alone that I never could have imagined as a child. In some ways they hurt more because there’s no promise of rosy tomorrows to brighten today’s clouds.

Nope, tonight there’s no cheery ending. Tomorrow, I may not compare myself to others. I may be content, trusting in who God has made me to be and resting in his plan for my life. But I might still feel alone come Sunday morning, when once again I can’t quite figure out how to break into a circle of girls laughing together.

Fall trees

To publish or to trash? That is the question.

I picture different people I know who might read this. What would their reactions be? My mom, my pastor, a friend… This is a peek into me. But it’s the one that we’re not supposed to show – especially in church. It’s the one that people say they want to see, but when it comes down to it, that’s not really what they meant. There are a few people who most likely will avoid me after reading this. I can picture them. I can also see a few similarly lonely people like myself. This might be encouraging to them.

Ah, it’s only the internet. Why not? 🙂

(This post is part of Five Minute Friday, hosted by Lisa Jo Baker. This week’s prompt is “together.”)

Update: I added a follow-up post of truths we should rest upon.

Day 22: When Words Fail

See more at emilyburgerdesigns.com

I’m kind of at a loss for words tonight, so I’m sharing some quotes, mostly scripture, on rest. I hope they speak to you the words that escape me.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”  — Isaiah 30:15

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.  — Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee. – Saint Augustine

What thoughts on rest have you uncovered recently?

 

Day 21: Jesus I am Resting, Resting

Two weeks ago we sang this song at church, appropriate since the sermon focused on the Sabbath (you can find the link to listen to Aarik’s sermon here). My mom also brought the song to mind in a recent email.

This is my favorite of all the verses…

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

…partly because of those middle lines, “satisfies my heart; satisfies its deepest longings, meets supplies its every need” – wow. That’s one of those phrases that I have to sing as a prayer, asking God to make that be true, because so often I don’t feel that anything is satisfying all the deepest longings of my heart.

I often find I sing that way – not boldly stating something, but begging God to give me what those words are saying. Have you ever felt that?

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

I may not be able to claim I am resting, but I can whisper it in prayer, Jesus help me to rest in the joy of what you are.

Jesus I am resting

Today is Day 21 of being called to rest.

 

Day 20: God is Glorious

Today should have been the most restful day I’ve had this month. My husband got the exciting opportunity to go to the Kansas City Chiefs game, leaving me a day to myself. I didn’t get to sleep in but still ended up with about 9 hours of sleep, so I woke up physically rested. And it was Sunday and I love my church, so that should have filled me up.

What happened? I’m not sure.

I left church feeling defeated and alone. Instead of feeling like I had spent time in community, I felt on the outskirts and in people’s way. Over the course of the day, I gave in to self-pity, jealously, lust, greed, pride, and probably a few more ugly, sinful things that I’m forgetting about in this moment.

[Insert break while I pop over to Ann Voskamp’s site for a moment.]

This is the music that auto-plays on her site. It’s not my favorite thing – to have music auto-playing when someone visits your site – I usually mute it. But this song has grown on me and tonight it provided the breathe in and out that I needed:

What I went to find was this link to surreal landscapes from around the world (take a look, then come back).

It’s looking at images like those and listening to this gorgeous music (check out more on his website: DavidNevue.com), that I feel put in my place. I begin to remember the bigness of God (that I talked about a little on Day 6). I begin to recall how small my place is in the great plan of God.

This isn’t about trying to diminish myself or putting myself down. It’s about taking a peek at the hugeness of Yahweh. An awe-filled moment at the doorway of heaven, not because of golden streets or pearly gates or even the loved ones already there, but because of the glory of Almighty God. This glory we heard about today in church, that Moses could not look directly on and live, so God showed his “back.” Another passage in Exodus talks about how Moses’ face began to shine, literally, from so much time spent in the presence of Jehovah, that he covered his head with a veil. The book of Revelation says that in eternity, there is no need for sun, moon, or stars for the glory of the Lord illuminates everything.

The day still feels wasted, washed up, ruined, screwed up, Today was a day in my own strength, glorifying myself. Ultimately, pretty much of a waste. But, God is still glorious, so I don’t have to fear letting others down or screwing up the day.

If you’ve had a day like this, rest in God’s glory with me.

Today is Day 20 of 31 Days of being called to rest.

God is Glorious

 

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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