The Gifts of Rest
We greeted each other with open arms and hearts. It was a day to be together, to sit alone with God, and to share with each other what He revealed to each of us during our time with Him.
My five “Fab Friday” girlfriends brought scones, mini quiches, bananas, juice; I added cantaloupe and coffee. Mmmmm … after we satisfied our tummies and were challenged with scripture, each of us found a quiet place to be still with God for the next hour and a half.
I stayed on the turquoise couch in “Carol’s Cottage” (our guest house) and looked out at the birch tree, swaying in the breeze. When Don and I sit on our porch glider and look across the fields, this tree sways in the wind and dances in the sunlight, its leaves reflecting silver as they are impacted by the breeze. As the tree submits, yields to the power of the wind, so I desire to submit to the moving of the Holy Spirit.
Part of what I wrote to my heavenly Father says, “I praise you for the sounds of chirping birds, cared for by your gracious hospitality on the earth. They don’t worry or fret, but they are fed. The blue coat of the scrub jay, the sheen on the purple martin, the wings of a hummingbird, which are only seen as a blur because of their lightning speed … all speak to my ears and eyes of Your glory, and your provision. And they honor You just by being. They serve nature, the hummingbird flitting into one blossom and depositing pollen in another. Yet they’re not striving, as I so often do …”
When I’m fatigued, my temper is short, my tolerance low. And yet God often gives supernatural grace to respond differently than I feel.
Rest comes in different forms.
- Physical: often when I find myself short-tempered and impatient, frustrated, out of sorts, or engaging in “stinkin’ thinkin’, rest is the first thing I need. I love to sink into our bed and fall into a renewing, refreshing sleep.
- Emotional: a walk on the beach or through the woods, relaxed time with friends with whom I can be vulnerable, a belly laugh, or a good hug from my hubby, soothes my heart. Sometimes I need a good cry.
- Spiritual: As God’s creations, we are not divided into parts. Our physical, emotional and spiritual beings are intertwined and so, sometimes the walk on the beach also brings about spiritual times of refreshing. Rest can bring me back to a balance in all of life. Spending time in God’s word, especially the Psalms which are so expressive of our humanity and need, brings renewal. And in prayer I share my burdens with God.
As I thought about this, I realize that, for me, rest leads to:
- Creativity, when my mind isn’t trying to track with multiple needs and is open to new thoughts, ideas, and plotlines.
- Openness to see and appreciate the beauty around me.
- Delighting in God, and in life, when I’m not just focused on “the next thing”.
- Listening (how often do I forget to listen before speaking?)
- Peace, that tender feeling of being cocooned in God’s love.
- Margin in my heart, mind and spirit which frees me with space to share with others, with grace instead of resentment.
These are amazing, life-giving gifts … so why don’t I/we take more time to be still with God, to be renewed, to rejoice in His goodness, to delight in His presence? I am choosing to more of this going forward.
A yellow butterfly flitted past the window and I smiled, thanking God for beauty.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14, NLT
May you make space for quiet stillness this week so that your heart can be renewed.
Do you struggle with the pace of our culture, as I do? How do you find rest for your body, spirit, and soul? What renews you?