Tag: rest (page 1 of 2)

The Promise of Rest

pillow

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30

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Someone asked me how I was doing yesterday, and my response was “Tired.”

No matter the season, we lay our heads down onto pillows every night. Our bodies always need rest. Yet, it seems at this time of year, we fall to our beds in utter exhaustion.

The weather (at least in this part of the world) does not help, since the sun is not out for long enough to give us a boost, and even if it were, it would be too cold to stand outside and experience it for long. But it’s not just the weather; it’s the way things pile up on top of us.

Most things aren’t bad in and of themselves, it’s the weight of all of them stacked together that becomes tiring to carry. The social gatherings, the shopping, the family obligations, the school concerts, the traditions, the decorating, the baking…. It is all just so much.

Sometimes, many times, I make it worse on myself by trying to be good at everything, and not let anything drop, and not let anyone down by getting a less-than-thoughtful gift, and not forgetting to do things to keep the meaning of the season in the midst of it all. (Like daily blogging for Advent? Who would do something like that? Every year, I love it and hate it all at the same time.)

Rest. I need rest. And not just sleep. I need the rest that comes from letting go. Holding things more loosely. Remembering that my worth is not dependent on pleasing people or getting everything done.

Later in His life, Christ confirmed through His words what His sleeping infant form implied: that He brings us rest for our souls.

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Pie Jesu – Future of Forestry

This song makes it into Christmas rotations on occasion, and after reading the English translation, I think I will make it a more regular one on my list. Here’s what it says,

“Merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
Merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus, merciful Jesus
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
everlasting
everlasting
Rest”


NoticingImmanuel

Noticing Immanuel: a series for Advent. Each day starts with noticing: a picture of an everyday Christmas moment. That picture leads to a verse, a meditation, a prayer, and a song. My hope is that when we see those Christmas moments a second time, they will strike us differently. That we might feel the presence of Immanuel this Christmas season, whether we are sitting in quiet or moving in chaos.

Rest in My Love

Five Minute Friday I’m in the middle of 2 different series right now in this blogging space: a Lenten series and a Psalms series. And though I love the way these posts ground me in the words of the Scriptures, I am also longing to find more space to free write more words of my own. And so, today I am linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s 5 Minute Friday.

 

5 minutes of writing free, with no editing, on her prompt. This sounds glorious to me right now, so I’m going to give it a shot.

 

Today’s prompt is: REST

 

restless heartsMy heart wanders so easily. It leaves my center and goes out into the world, searching for meaning, for purpose, for worth.

 

One minute I’m fine. The next minute I wonder if anyone has noticed me, or if I’m still the girl at the dance standing in the corner by herself. I walk away from the wall, looking desperately for someone to notice me.

 

I hear You whisper to me, but I have so many other noises around that sometimes it’s hard to hear. But I do hear it. If I close the computer and put away my phone, I can hear You whispering to a heart that longs for these words.

 

Rest in My Love.

 

I hear the words, and for a moment, my heart lightens, the burden of searching lifted. But before long, the words once again get drowned by the world, and I am wandering again.

 

I so often feel stuck between places. Where do I fit?

 

Each time I wander, You whisper to my heart again, and pull it back where it belongs.

 

Rest in My Love.

 

Each time I come back, I hope I can remain a little longer. I will try. You keep whispering, God, and I will keep coming back to rest in the love that will never leave me nor forsake me.

 

Come and Deny, Follow and Rest

 

Is there anything in this world that calls us to deny ourselves?

 

We buy what we want, fight for what we don’t have, and clamor to make it to the top. The more we have, the happier we will be, right? Doesn’t true contentment come with the fulfillment of our desires?

 

The problem is, our desires are insatiable. And we exhaust ourselves trying to fill up on them.

 

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I have never been thin, and have cycled between overweight and average-sized as I have walked through different seasons. When I have been on the larger side of that spectrum, I have looked at pictures of the smaller me and been filled with “if only” thoughts. If only I could be that size again I would be so much happier.

 

But when I was that size did I actually feel happier? No. I wanted to be smaller.

 

When we achieve what we desire, we only become more aware of the next lurking hunger. Contentment often waits just outside our grasp, taunting us to reach further in order to find it.

 

The story is told that when John D. Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest men that ever lived, was asked how much money was enough, he replied: “A little bit more.”

 

Enter the words of Jesus,

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24

 

In the context of our me-centric world, this call sounds so radical. And it brings with it a question:

 

Is it worth it?

 

What if following Jesus makes our lives miserable? His demands are too high. It seems like too much.

 

But then I think of something else Jesus said.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28

 

What if we intertwined these verses? This call to come and this call to follow? Would we see the give and take a little differently?

 

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

– Matthew 11:28-30 and Matthew 16:24-26

 

Our souls are lost. Drifting and weary from the burden of looking out for ourselves.

 

There is a peace found in the confidence of letting go. When we trust in a God who became one of us in order to demonstrate the depth of His love.

 

strivingWe can stop striving. And worrying. And clamoring. And pushing others down. And working ourselves to exhaustion as we try to prove that we are good enough.

 

We are loved. We can rest in that and focus our energy on loving others.

 

When we follow Jesus, we can deny ourselves not because we should, but because we want to.

 

Counter-intuitively, the burden of living for Jesus is lighter than the burden of living for ourselves.  This light burden does not mean our life will always be easy. This is not a promise of happiness, but of peace.

 

It is possible to find rest for our souls.

 

Jesus Said Lent Series ButtonA series to honor the Lenten season by reflecting on various teachings of Christ. Let’s think about who He was and what He came to do by talking about the words that came straight from His mouth.

The Scary Work of Taking a Break

Which is more intimidating to you, working hard or taking a break?

For me, it is definitely the latter.

Getting things done gives me feedback. I can check something off my list and feel good about what I accomplished.

Taking a break leaves me lurking in the unknown. How will I find satisfaction? What will others think?

This line of thought is exactly why taking breaks is an important practice in my life. I need to remember that God gives us permission to slow down. In fact, He commands us to take time to rest.

(Maybe God knows that folks like me are more likely to do it if we are following a rule? Because then in our state of not doing, we are still getting something done?)

And so, today I announce my blogging break. We are in the midst of moving. In order to give more of myself to my family in these days, I need to give less of myself here.

20120630-135722.jpg

I am not sure exactly when I will return. Probably a few weeks? I cannot define a date because that would set an expectation, and blogging expectations are some things from which I want to take a break. You know, those spoken and unspoken blogging rules of how often to post, tweet, and comment in order to be a valued voice.

My brain and my heart need space from my blogging world in order to process what is going on in my tangible world. I need to let go of what I have been holding so my hands can be open to what God has for me next.

In the meantime, while I am gone, here are some posts from my archives. Posts from the past that reflect what is happening in my life now. Reminders that I need, that I hope will help you too.

On the value of starting over with a clear house and open schedule: Empty Space

On remembering that even when no one knows us, we are known: Anonymous

On being hopeful about making new friends: Relational Pessimism

On the thrill of taking risks and having adventures: Walking on the Ledge

On the way Jesus meets us in the midst of life chaos: Entering the Mess

On the struggles of being transitions and new seasons: Exposed Roots

Perhaps if none of these strike your fancy, you may want to enjoy some Christmas in July? I did a 26 day Advent Series called Prepare last year. You can check it out now, when life tends to run at a more relaxed pace than it does in December.

Signing off… Steph

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