Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking the Slower Path

Ten years ago I found myself sitting in a women's Bible study absorbing, like a new sponge, every word shared. I had been in church several years and I knew the Lord, but this group of women touched my heart and shared wisdom that impacted me for eternity. One day as I was sitting and enjoying the wealth of knowledge and heavenly perspectives of women old and young, one elderly lady spoke up boldly and said, "You know. I am tired of hearing the same cuss words over and over. I hear it all the time and it just wears me out." The room became unusually quiet as we all waited for this sweet lady to continue. She said, "Hurry Up! Hurry Up! I hear those cuss words all the time and I am tired of them."

We could not suppress our quiet chuckles at her unusual comment. However, her remark has remained with me over the years. It is a profound statement. How many times I have been guilty of using those words too often...on myself and others. "I have said it to my children and to my husband creating pressure that need not be. Now I am not disregarding the need to be punctual and disciplined. These are important. However, we must guard our hearts and our families from the pressures of this world. God wants us to take the slower path.

Author John Eldridge says, "The strategy of our enemy in the age we live in now is busyness or drivenness". He says that the enemy's plan is to "keep them running, that way they will never take care of their hearts. That way we will burn them out, then take them out."

When my two year old son is tired, he is unbearable and unreasonable. He screams and stiffens his body. There is nothing we can do to calm him except make him go to bed. We are much the same. When we do not get adequate sleep or rest, we become cranky and unable to function at the level God intended for us. Just as our little ones resist nap time, we also fight taking times of rest . However, God will many times make us rest just as we make our little ones rest. We put them in their beds or cribs and make them stay there. If we are not careful to obey His instruction to rest, He will lay us down and make us rest. He is good and knows what we need.

Before we moved here, I was trying to do it all....home school 5 of our children, teach other women in the church, pastor with my husband, and develop a non-profit ministry. Only a few months went by before it began to take a toll on me. In the same year, my husband lost his job and I lost two babies to miscarriage. I thought that staying busy would heal me, but my wounds remained raw because I did not rest enough. I loved all that I was doing, but my heart began to long for rest and the simpler things of life. Now God has made me to rest. He moved us out of state away from all of our former activities. He placed us in a new "crib" which I love.Now I home school, take care of the home and write. It is still a lot, but I rest more and sleep better at night.

Hopefully you have been thinking about creating that place of rest in your room or some other quiet place in your home, I would like to share some simple ideas for how to welcome more rest into your life and home.

1. If you do not have a resting place, seek one out. Here are some suggestions.

-A back patio
-A living room chair after the kids leave for school
-A rocking chair in the baby's nursery
-In your car during your lunch break at work
-In your car on the way to work. Play worship music or listen to scripture on CD
-Your pillow each night as you think about Him before you fall asleep

2. Sit and stay in His presence. Just sit and wait. You do not have to say anything. Do not even busy your mind with what you should pray. Be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10). If you find you are battling distractions, take a journal and write them down. Then go back to focusing on the Lord. Do not strive in this time to hear God. It is not so much about hearing Him, but just being with Him and enjoying His company. He loves this.

3.Think on His things-Kingdom things. Take your mind off of earthly things such as our homes, our jobs, the bills and the meals. Practice meditating on His holiness and the things that matter in this life. Take your focus off of your list and place it on His list.

Most of all remember, He is your resting place. It is not so much in a method or in a location. He is where your rest awaits. Guard against comparing your resting place and quiet times with other women. You are unique and your relationship with the Lord is no one else. Also, God does not present this to you as an suggestion, but as a commandment. (Matthew 11:28) He is our Father and His commands are words of love and protection for us. God tells us to rest because He knows best. Psalm 23:1-3 says, God, my Shepherd! I don't need a thing! You have bedded me down in lush meadows,you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. (The Message Bible)

Morning Bagel: God is my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck. Psalm 32: 7

Daily Hug: God is our island hideaway. We can go away with Him each day or during moments throughout the day to be refreshed, renewed and rested. Whether you realize it or not, you need to be healed each day from the pressures, wounds and corruption the world brings upon us. Many times we say, 'If I could just go on vacation, if I could just have this, or do that, I would be okay. These things may help for a moment but they are only temporary. However, there is a place that is eternal, an island that awaits us and welcomes us continually. That place is not a location, but a person. His name is Jesus.

Lord, help me to find rest in You continually. You are so loving in that You wait to throw garlands around my neck saying , "Welcome into My presence" Help me to take the slower path and to find the island where Your presence dwells. I need You more today than ever. Everything I need You are. Nothing can fill my heart, heal my heart, and flow from my heart like the waters of Your love. I open my heart to You and welcome your blessings as I walk the path of rest...the slower path...the Way that is best. In Jesus Name. Amen.

No comments: