Monday, September 22, 2014

Lessons learned from RESTING… (Part one)

In case you missed it, we moved recently.  Previously I posted about an awesome house we hadn’t yet seen, but sounded incredible.  We were filled with faith, overwhelmed with peace, and trusting God with the details.  Well… we got the house and it IS everything we were hoping for and more.  God is amazing!!  There is lots more room, I have my own office for the first time ever, we inherited 9 chickens which the boys are super excited about, my dog can finally run the yard with out being on a chain, the boys have a basket ball goal to play on which makes their hearts happy, and Al is lost in the space of the office he has gained.  We couldn’t be happier. 

The only downside has been the endless supply of boxes I have filling my house.  They call out to me.  “Julie, why aren’t you unpacking me?  Don’t you want everything to be in its place so you can be settled?”  Yep… I feel the pressure to finish the job, yet my body has NOT been cooperating.  I guess preparing for the move, packing, pushing, pulling, lifting, and hauling has taken its toll on me.  I did too much!  I over worked myself and didn’t rest enough... now I pay.  I am stubborn like that!  You would think I would know better by now… but nope.  

So lately there has been a war waging in my head….”STRESS or REST”.  The choice is up to me, but the battle goes on daily.  I’m trying to learn to be okay with my mess.  I hate walking around boxes, wondering where things are, and seeing piles of stuff lying around waiting to be put away.  I don’t know why, but it stresses me out.  The best cure for my wiped out, run down body, when my autoimmune disease flares up is… REST.  I know this, but it is SO hard to do. 

What comes to mind when you hear the word….REST?  Slowing down, taking a nap, giving yourself a much needed break, or maybe the ultimate rest…“Resting in Peace”.

Did you know that REST can actually be a spiritual thing?   For some resting is required for their physical health, while others may need a spiritual rest to regain their focus and connect more with God. 

SO, I’m sure you are thinking… “I know what a physical rest looks like, but tell me more about this spiritual rest.”  Well, a spiritual rest for me is taking a “time out” if you will from the busyness of life.  It is limiting some activities or commitments for a season (how ever long I feel led) to focus more on God. 

When I feel run down, spiritually empty, or emotionally drained, I know it’s time.  
It’s time to slow myself down and calm my heart.  I want God to have all of my attention.  

For this reason, this special time may include fasting or removing something from my life to focus more on God.  Creating a screen-free time daily, weekly, or monthly may be necessary (no tv, internet, social media, etc…) to eliminate distractions.  I would replace this time of course with MORE time with God… more time talking to Him, reading His word, listening to what He might be trying to speak to my heart, and more time being aware of the divine appointments all around me He might be setting up.

I don’t always come to God with a plan during times of spiritual rest.  Some times I am SO wiped out that all I can do is just lay myself at His feet.  I give Him what I have… my 100% for that moment.  Our 100% changes all the time based on circumstances, health, moods, etc.., but the goal is to give Him your best in that moment.  

Some days you won’t have the words to pray.  Just listen.  Some times you won’t have the energy to read the word.  Play worship music.  Do something to connect your heart with God.  At your weakest moment, enlist friends to join you in prayer for a spiritual break through.  There is more my friends.  God meets us in our pursuit of Him at whatever condition we find ourselves.  Don’t give up.  Press in for more!

Believe it or not, but there are actually benefits to resting. 

Now that I think about it… from all of the times I have been forced to rest physically and chose to rest spiritually I have learned a few things.  

1.  RESTING gives me a fresh perspective.
Rest for me when it comes to my health means sitting or lying down... not necessarily sleeping just giving my body a break.  It’s rejuvenating.  The only problem is that I like to be on the go.  To tie me down to a chair is almost torturous.

When all you can do is sit and rest…. and you CAN’T do all of those things you feel you HAVE to do… your perspective begins to change.  You have time to think. Think about what you have been wasting your time on and think about what is truly important. 
It has been said before that… “If you want to know where a person’s priorities truly lie, you need to look at their checkbook and their calendar”.  Priorities change when your calendar has to be cleared completely and you don’t know when you can reschedule what was there before.   Resting slows things down quite a bit.  The chaotic non-stop running ceases and the endless hours of thinking begins.  Well, I guess I am speaking more of a physical rest here, but sometimes a spiritual rest can end up the same way.  You run and run, give and give, until there is nothing left and you are completely drained and emotionally empty.   You need God to re-charge you!  You need Him to strengthen you, refresh you, and settle deep within your spirit.  Peace comes in resting.
Colossians 3:2-3 says it perfectly.  I LOVE the way the Message version reads.

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”

I don’t know about you, but some times I don’t see things from “HIS” perspective.  I get all wrapped up in the busyness of life and miss out on what is really important.  RESTING helps me fix my eyes more on Jesus.  It’s a good thing!
Perspective…. HIS perspective.  It helps my heart become thankful…thankful to God for what I have and appreciative of the simple gifts He has given me…. Life, family, friends, an awesome church, etc…  Resting gives me a fresh perspective.  

2.  RESTING challenges me to re-evaluate
Not only does resting give me a fresh perspective, but it challenges me to re-evaluate my priorities.  What is really important to me? 

A couple verses come to mind as I think about priorities… my landmarks you might say on this journey of re-evaluating. 

James 4:8 says…

“Come near to God, and God will come near to you.” (NCV)


Matthew 6:33-34 says…

“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.  So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NCV)

I have revisited the topic of priorities often.  What is really important to me?  That’s a tough question, right?  How can we really narrow it all down?  Well, for me… it really comes down to my Faith & Family.  I want to know God personally and make Him known to others.  I want my relationship with God to be alive and active... life-changing!   I want my boys to own their own relationships with God (be personal for them).  As we as a family draw closer to God, I want us to draw closer to one another.
In an effort to help keep our faith and family a priority, we have had to make some tough decisions as parents.  We have to say NO to some things that might be good, in order to say YES to God’s best.  Our goal is to help our boys build a strong foundation in God… that will last a lifetime!  
As a result some time consumers may need to wait, be restricted, or go for now like: video games, ipods, phones, TV time, sports, being a part of every club, extra time with friends, or filling up every weekend of the month with stuff (even if it is with good things). 
We also try to capture special moments together to try to build on this godly foundation… dinner at the table with no distractions where we can connect with each other, prayer times in the car and before bed, and family nights (if we don’t schedule it on the calendar, it doesn’t happen).  I am thinking at our next family night maybe we need to pray over our checkbook and calendar for God’s direction.  God blesses humble hearts submitted to Him and I so want His blessing on our family.  
We want God’s best, right?  As we draw closer to Him in our resting, He will help us choose what is best for our family during this season.  He will help us decide what commitments we need to make personally (to things that may fill up our calendars) and give us wisdom on how and where we should spend our money.  I have learned that taking time to build a godly foundation for the future over rules everything else.  We strive for a healthy balance with God’s direction all of the way in this endeavor.  Resting is a good thing.  It challenges me to re-evaluate my priorities.
After thinking about all I have learned from resting, I realized this post really needs to be in two parts.  SO more tips on what I learned from resting will be coming soon.   I challenge you to take some time today to rest … seek His perspective and re-evaluate your priorities.  Are you where God wants you to be?  I pray God’s peace be with you as you pursue more of His presence.
Living to leave a legacy,