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.

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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 22: When Words Fail

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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.

 

You Will Find Him Here

Today is Day 19 of the series on rest.
I posted this song nearly a year ago, but the message is perfect for the Rest series. You will find Him – He is here. Come and rest here.

Photo credit: Piotr Zarobkiewicz (CC-BY-SA-3.0 Creative Commons)

Claygirlsings

Come and rest here.

I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head for some time now. It pulls at some inward broken place in me, drawing me in. Do you feel drawn to find rest?

Come and lay your burdens down.

Come and rest here.

There is refuge for you now.

Doesn’t your soul ache from the pressures of life? Don’t you want a safe place to hide?

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Day 11: Rest for your Weekend

Fritz in box

Find yourself a comfortable place to rest this weekend.

Drink in the sunshine while you can.

Fritz in window

Fritz and Chloe

Spend time hanging out with a friend.

Be yourself, even if that means being a little silly.

Chloe in tea

Rest in whose you are

Rest in whose you are, in Christ.
(Be sure to pay attention to the song in that link.)

This is Day 11 of 31 Days of Rest.

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Many thanks to my models, Fritz and Chloe for giving of their incomparable talent to this post.

Day 10: On What are you Resting?

Saturday schedule grid at BarCampLondon 5

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Let’s have a brief chat here, shall we?

You’re tired. I know you’ve done your make-up so those shadows under your eyes are camouflaged, but when I look deep into your eyes, I see the weariness. There was a moment, when the conversation swirled around someone else and you sorted of drifted off to another place. Not asleep, though that’s happened at times, too. A glaze separated us and you, just briefly.

I want us to be real enough friends that it’s okay to admit you’re tired. Like a group of girls I used to meet with every other week, let’s let it be okay to show up in sweats or even our pjs. We’re all pretty worn at times; let’s stop trying to hide it.

I spent some time with a mom of two young children recently and she was exhausted, but young ones need looking after, her lack of rest is not by choice.

But sometimes it is by choice, like my busy schedule this week. There are valid things that need or ought to be done, but I waste a little time on Facebook or play a couple more rounds of Temple Run 2. Or I might suddenly decide that the junk mail really needs to be sorted out, right now, and then I’m late to an appointment. I manage to reach one deadline successfully, only to realize that two more fell through the cracks.

Why do we run ourselves ragged? Why, when we are already stretched thin, do we spend valuable time on worthless activities, that neither help us cross off another item on the to-do list nor give us a moment of rest?

I’m not sure I know the answer to this one. If you have a theory, feel free to share it in the comments.

What I suggest we think about in this moment is not why we add things to our daily tasks, but what are we filling our days with. When you look at all the things you have to do and all the things that distract you, what do they center around?

Are they things that will make you look good in front of your colleagues, friends, or family?

Do you do them so you will be seen as successful or to get rewarded at the office?

Do you keep doing the same activities because it’s what you’ve always done?

Are they things you enjoy doing?

Does a never-ending to-do list make you feel like you are in control?

Are you worried what might happen if you didn’t have every minute of every day scheduled?

I just started reading Timothy Keller’s book, Counterfeit Gods, where he explores, as the subtitle says, the empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only Hope that matters. He talks about idols in the book, which many would think refers to statues or replicas of something to bow down to and worship, but Keller refers to an idol as, “something that we look to for things that only God can give.”

I flipped ahead a little and found where Keller offers four ways to determine what our idols might be. He suggests considering what you spend your mind on what your mind go to when you find yourself alone, what themes repeat in your daydreams. Another way is to browse through your checkbook and see how/where you spend your money. Spending patterns will reveal our idols. A third test is to look at when you have unanswered prayers, frustrated dreams or unrealized hopes. When you don’t get something you really wanted and you lose it emotionally, whether by anger or despair, that points toward your functional savior. Yet another way is to review where you lose control of your emotions. Look at the moments when you experience strong anger, fear, despair or guilt.

So what do we do when we look at the busyness in our lives and realize it’s because we are functioning as if these things were our gods? Confess these things and try harder next time? Yes, and no. Repenting of putting money, sex or power before God and continuing to grow in grace are necessary but only part of the equation. We must learn to view Jesus as more beautiful, more worth striving for than these empty idols that will never satisfy. We must replace these counterfeit gods with the one True God.

Do this, and you can bet you will feel restful, even with a busy schedule.

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Can you believe it’s Day 10 of the 31 Days already!?! Click the button to find links to every post in the series.

And I don’t say it often enough, but thank you for reading my posts day in and day out. I know a few of you are faithful readers, some who don’t comment often, but you’re still here and it means so much to know that you are. So thank you.

Day 8: Rest right where you are

penguin_Omaha_ZooLast year, during the 31 Days challenge, I wrote a post on Rest. You’re welcome to read it, of course, but I’m going to share the meat of it here.

In that post, I talked about how some days of October 2012 were hard. There were days I didn’t have the emotional strength or energy to share anything else, especially a prayer for hurting people.  And I realized that I, too, was hurting, much like the people I was trying to pray for.

It’s another blessing of community. We hurt together. We cry together. We sit in mourning together. We wrestle through the hard stuff together.

If you feel alone reading this, with no one else understanding your pain, please pause a moment. Take off the blinders that keep you from seeing the hurting people right next to you.  If you don’t have anyone right next to you, if you have been isolated from the fellowship of community with believers who know and love God, go find them. We are not meant to live alone. We are not meant to hurt alone.

penguins_Omaha_ZooThankfully, God is calling us to rest. To stop trying to overcome our hurts on our own strength. Rest in these things:

One: God is strength when we are weak.

Two: God has put us in community to help one another.

Three: God meets us where we are, in the middle of our hurting and pain.

The lyrics of this song give me such peace. God the Father whispers to your heart and mine:

Hush my child. Fall into My arms.
I’ll give you rest right where you are.
Yes, I know, you feel lost and alone.
Let me hold you. How I love you.

If you’re reading this in an email, click through to listen to and view the video of this song by Derri Daughtery and Ellie Bannister:

31Days_Rest_thumb  ← Click to find links to each day in the series.

Day 7: Rest Provides Margin

Photo credit: Pauli Antero via flickr (Creative Commons)

It’s been interesting to begin a series on rest when I was having one of the busiest weeks of my year, definitely of my fall (so far). Some of the things on my plate outside of work responsibilities were:

  • completing church communications tasks (writing a newsletter, maintaining a Twitter and Facebook page, reserving rooms, communicating with team members),
  • getting out early for Lead School (and finishing the reading before the session),
  • helping my husband with some graphics and printing needs for his business (and I’m not trained to do graphics),
  • starting up regular exercise again after recovering from foot injuries (to both feet), and
  • continuing to promote the launch of The Wall Around Your Heart (releasing October 15).

And I felt pretty overloaded but tried to find space in the hours I had to make it work. I was trying to find rest in the middle of it all. Some of the time, that meant I had to forego (forewent isn’t a word, is it?) pleasures like watching TV or playing games. Sometimes it meant taking a deep breath and deciding what was MOST important (since everything feels so important at the time). Sometimes it was choosing sleep over getting one more thing done (I had a great convo with Rachel, who is both a super-cool friend and super-smart PhD student, about sleep – watch for a post on that soon).

Photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz via flickr (Creative Commons)

There’s a key point that I’m learning about rest, and it relates to community. By building rest into your life (not sleep, here, but soul rest and spirit rest), you are building in margins. There’s space around you to flex and breathe. We need to have that margin of rest built into our lives, so when we are needed by a friend, spouse, child or parent, we have the resources to give out.

Here is an excellent example shared with me by another great friend: she was told that she had a dime for each day. From waking up until sleeping, there was only 10¢ to spend. Every task costs money and more expensive items cost more emotional, spiritual or physical energy. Laundry was 1¢, a tough conversation with a spouse or friend was 5¢, etc. She had to decide how to spend her dime each day, but when it was gone, there was nothing left.

Rest is like adding deposits to your day’s account. This is why I’m not emphasizing sleep. Sleep adds maybe a penny, but meditation on Scripture = 5¢. We need rest in our lives so we have more to give to others.

Jesus shows us this by His example.. The book of Mark records how Jesus would go into community and heal people and teach, then he would retreat to the Sea of Galilee. People followed him there and he would heal and teach, then retreat to the mountains. People followed him, he would teach and heal, then retreat. He continually sought out moments of rest. The times of rest refreshed Him for ministry.

By building rest into our lives, you/I can drop all the seemingly important things to focus on this one thing (a distress call from a friend or a neighbor in need at the door), because you/I have extra deposits in your rest account.

Does this make any sense? I’m kind of unwinding this ball of thought as I go – I’m learning right along with you here.

Photo credit: on2wheelz via flickr (Creative Commons)

Taking time to rest, in its various forms, provides margin in our lives that we can, in turn, pour out on the community around us. Are you creating those margins in your life, adding deposits to your account? Think about that as you go through your day.

31Days_Rest_thumb  ← Click to find links to each day in the series.

There are 1500+ blogs participating in the Nester’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. We’ve chosen nearly 1500 different topics, organized under nine categories. You’re sure to find one or more topics that interest you.

This week I’m linking up with these blogs:
              

Day 3: A Place of Quiet Rest

Near to the heart

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before Thee,
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

This version is instrumental, but also beautiful.

Draw near to Him and rest.

Day 3 of
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  • 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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