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Posts Tagged ‘soul rest’

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Less than six puts you at risk. At risk for disease and diminished returns at work, home and play. At risk for depression, hypertension and inattention. At risk for a long list of unsavory outcomes and issues.

They are the one in three. Are you? Am I?

Have we joined the I-can’t-sleep-there’s-too-much-to-do party? Paced ourselves against the clock as if it’s an enemy rather than a friend. Enslaved ourselves to perfection, production, or performance.

During my college years I strode from one building to the next bearing an invisible backpack crammed with the weighty effects of self-doubt, unworthiness, and inability. Over and over, I’d shove those burdens deep within the confines of that imperceptible pouch.

Fearing Someone or Anyone would notice, I forced myself to achieve. To prove that I could accomplish. To justify my worth.

Motivated by the overwhelming fear of not being enough, I allowed for recovery only after rigorous, compelling dedication to study.  Sleep and rest were optional and I had the ulcer to prove it.

If the clock is your master, friend, have you considered what might be driving your desire for unattainable faultlessness? Unreachable achievement? Matchless efficiency?

Some may placate their incessant need for control through industry. Others might feel worth notice only through accomplishment–whether it’s a perfectly polished home or an unfading smile that refuses to allow vulnerability with friends or family.

If you are the woman driven by the need to be enought, can I remind you that you are more than enough to Him? Click To Tweet

If you are the woman driven by the need to be enough, can I remind you that you are more than enough to Him? You were more than enough for the heavenly king to lay aside His crown and exchange it for flesh. You were more than enough for an innocent Sovereign to endure every insult and accusation at a mockery of a trial. You were more than enough for the Lamb to sacrifice all in order that he might claim you as part of the fold. You were more than enough, Daughter, for the Father to rise triumphant–living proof that death has no hold on either Him or you.

When we deny the accusatory whipping boy of perfection or set aside the relentless  burden of responsibility and invite God to take it upon himself, then we’ll step into the rest he has promised.

Will you move into the place of holy peace today, friend? Jesus is calling. Click To Tweet

Will you move into the place of holy peace today, friend?

Jesus is calling.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:29-30 MSG)

 

 

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I didn’t meet a single writing goal this week. Am I disappointed? Definitely. Frustrated? Yes. Rested? Refreshingly so.

My dog’s sharp Feed me! yelp and a painful twinge in my neck greeted me Monday morning. Sighing, I slipped from bed into the regular morning routine—spending a few quiet moments in prayer before taming my bedhead and hustling out the door for work. Before long, a headache invited itself to the “she’s-worn-out-and-needs-to-slow-down-party” and became a permanent resident for the better part of the week.

My response? I s-l-o-w-e-d down. A lot.
Hurting and desperate for relief I took a muscle relaxant. I spent the rare hour with a massage therapist. No change.

The only alternative? Sleep. And a lot of it—my pre-teen tucked me in instead of the other way around.

And this morning? I awakened with something rarely experienced in my not-a-morning-person experience—yes, a smile. I felt good bordering on great.

What a glorious sensation!

For years, I’ve joked that I’m a Type B person living like a Type A. My joy comes not from doing, but in being….in experiencing…in dreaming and this week I’ve been reminded of who God created me to be—someone who requires quiet. Time for reflection. Moments to rest.

Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirrst (3)Even the do-ers in the crowd need rest. You know who I’m talking about–the people with an overabundance of energy, drive, and focus–the ones who attack the checklist with a vengeance and cram a week’s worth of tasks into one day. People like my husband or co-worker who seem to thrive on caffeine and just the idea of busy. But, even the industrious let’s-get-‘er-done types need to step down from the frantic pace and—well, breathe.

Whether you’re a Type A imposter or someone who borders on workaholic, remember the all-powerful Creator sanctioned a time for rest—not because He needed refreshment, but because His knew people would.

If you, dear Friend, are caught up in a season of endless busyness, maybe it’s time to put some of your burden down and exchange it for rest. Time spent in the presence of Eternal Refreshment. A few hours invested in family and friends. And, possibly, a night or two of indulging your body with the often-denied-but-much-needed sleep.

Maybe you’ll wake up with a smile, too.

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I could see it crouching over her—almost visible in its size and heaviness. Depression. And dragging on its heels, you would recognize Pain and Despair if you looked carefully enough. Sliding slowly into the worn, wooden chair my friend attempted a weak smile as her hands gripped the thin paper cup and its warm contents.

The loud whirring of an industrial coffee grinder erupted over the chatter of the other customers and I asked, “How are you?”

“Desperate,” she replied.

And I thought back to a horrible night when another dear one was desperate and he begged God to help…to show mercy. And it was all he could do to survive physically when his soul felt as if it were drowning in an ocean of isolation and despair.

Then she uttered the words all of us have thought, but few are brave enough to utter in the presence of another—her heart bleeding its hurt from the inside out, “God is good…right?”

When the pain seems bigger than God, how do you answer a question like that?

I didn’t want to offer platitudes. Holy sounding Christian-eze. Cheery look-on-the-bright-side responses. Just what I knew to be true.

“God is still good. I know He is—I’ve seen it.” And I held her hand as we prayed—for comfort…for healing…for hope.

And don’t we all need hope, Friends? When nothing seems to penetrate the dark we need Hope desperately. A Hope that destroys the strongholds and promises deep, abiding soul-peace. Abiding Hope that lives larger than the problems of this world.

Lord, please! Give your child hope today!

 My words seemed almost foolish as I bent my head in a coffee shop asking for what seemed like the impossible. But, I have come to know this God–the Hope-Giver.

And knowing Him is the best hope of all.

So I keep praying for the impossible—until Hope responds to the heart cry of His child. And, He will—because He is good.

 

Scripture for Reflection

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3–5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

For years, I’ve struggled to understand.  How can there be rest in a world like this…in the here-and-now reality of government sponsored terrorist attacks, state approved drug consumption, and families reeling from the long-term effects of terminal illness…abuse…divorce?

Religion tells us we’ll find peace in doing…living life in a certain way…proving to God that we are worthy of approval. 

Television “experts”  and self-help gurus reassure that we create our own peace–“Happiness is in your spiritual DNA. It is what you experience when you accept yourself…” (Dr. Robert Holden).

The world promises we can find peace in the anesthetized power of sexual encounters…bank accounts brimming with wealth…or the uninhibited consumption of a non-demanding, high-resolution screen.Fish Symbol on Cross

No…religion robs us of joy and promotes the desire to help others–a desire born of a self-centered motivation to earn heavenly favor.

If happiness were  innate, then there would be no such thing as genetically based mood disorders.  Say “goodbye” to depression.  Adios, anxiety!  We have the power!

And money?  Sex?  Inanimate screens?  In and of themselves, they aren’t bad.  As givers of hope, though, they are only mere fillers for unmet emotional and spiritual needs!  As soon as the money has been spent, the comforting arms have disappeared, or the ‘off’ button has eliminated the constant Twitter and Facebook feeds then what remains?  Lonely, broken people.

Jesus?  He promised something more….a one-of-a-kind, once-and-for-all, happily ever after.  It may seem slow in coming, but there is a place prepared with you in mind, Dear One–your forever home with a tender Father willing to temporarily move into time and space in order to bear your burden and mine .

This is a sort of rest that extends beyond the ten o’ clock news and personal problems.  Soul-rest exists in the glorious triumph of Christ’s resurrection, His assurance of  forgiveness, and the holy grace of eternal restoration.

Scripture for Reflection–

Isaiah 53:3-4

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