Rest

Why do we run ourselves into the ground?

Why don’t we ever stop?

Why don’t we rest?

What is rest?

Rest, I believe, looks different for everyone but there is an element that remains the same, we all need it! It doesn’t matter how you rest as long as you take the time to do it and it refreshes and restores you.

God continues to tell me to slow down. If you know me you know I always have a million things going on. I am involved in so much and I am very active. So slowing down is hard, but I came to the point of complete exhaustion and was running on empty. I was pouring out my energy in all aspects of my life including into other’s lives and in return I depleted myself. I was not myself and did not feel right.

I realized I have never fully taken a Sabbath. A day of complete rest without working. I have taken partial days, a few hours of rest but never a full day.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he RESTED from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he RESTED from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:2-3

It’s biblical! God rested! He rested the whole day. Not part of the day, not half of the day! THE WHOLE DAY! God did this as an example for us. He wants us to rest. He did it so we would follow suit. So why don’t we? Why do we fill our days with work, work, work and feel like there is always more to be done?!

I always have a “to do list.” I think of things that I need to do and let it consume me, even on the day I should be “resting.” I have a trick for that if you are like me…have a note pad with you and when you think of something that you need to do write it down. This way it gets out of your head and you have space for rest. Try it and let me know if it helps you! : )

Let’s all take a Sabbath day. It doesn’t have to be on Sunday. Pick a day, any day of the week!

This week, I chose Sunday because it worked best for me. I slept in for the first time in a very long time with no alarm and got 11 hours of sleep!!!! Obviously my body needed rest. I had been neglecting it for too long. Then I made some coffee and sat with Jesus in my living room, journaling, and reading the Bible. And then He and I decided to go for a prayer walk. I got in the car and started driving towards the coast. I walked along the beach talking with God. It was so rejuvenating! I let go of some things, revelations were revealed to me, and God reminded me how much he loves me. I felt at peace and very calm. I had no distractions. I had my phone off the whole time and WOW! That was freeing!

And now I feel like I can take on the week and pour into those areas important to me. Look what a day of rest can do! 

What are you doing to rest?

We all need it. One day a week. Stop trying to push it aside. You will only make it worse.

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The Busy Life

I have to admit I live a busy life. Anyone who knows me can attest to that. I love having variety in my life and always having something to do. I enjoy jumping from one thing to the next. It is a constant struggle for me to rest and be still and be ok with not always having something to do.

We live in a busy, fast pace culture. We are constantly making plans and “to do” lists. I have many “to do” lists myself and I am always planning my next adventure. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I need to check where my priority lies.

We put too much confidence in our flesh to hold ourselves together. We put so much on ourselves and tell ourselves we are ok, put on a face, but on the inside we are falling a part. We try to cram in as much as we can because that is the culture we live in. Running from one party to the next, to soccer games, school events, you name it! Where do we fit in time with Jesus?

We run ourselves into the ground and don’t put our energy into things that really matter. When was the last time you asked Jesus what he wants you to do with your day? What would happen if you turned your “to do” list upside down? What if instead of rushing into the store, you stopped to talk to the person standing outside asking for a donation. I went to a store and ran in to grab one thing. When I came out I was stopped by someone asking me if I wanted to “save the ocean”. I was slightly annoyed because I wanted this to be a quick stop, but God put my heart in check and instead of rushing past them I decided to stop and talk with them. Knowing that I would not partake in what they were advertising, I engaged in conversation and they told me all about the program. In the end I told them I loved seeing the passion they have for this particular program and to not lose that passion. They were taken back by my encouragement to them because they don’t get that response, and even though I didn’t sign up to join them, they were happy I took the time to talk to them.

You never know the impact you can have on someone’s life when you simply give some of your time. Forget about the “to do” list and the ticking clock and look at the people in front of you who need love.

Think of your initial feeling you had when you met Jesus. The passion, joy, excitement, and wonder. There is a song by Bethel called “Wonder” and a line in the song is “May we never lose our wonder. Wide eyed and mystified may we be just like a child staring at the beauty of our king.”

This is how we need to live our lives day to day. We need to live in the wonder and awe of Jesus. Live in the passion of knowing Jesus! We don’t have to have it all together. We don’t have to put on a face and carry everything. He wants to take everything from us. All Jesus wants us to do is fix our eyes on him and seek his face and he will do the rest. Find time to rest, to be still, to get away from the busyness and be with Jesus. He will get it all done for us. He needs to be our top priority and everything else will fall into place. I have seen this happen in my own life, so why is it still a struggle to trust him everyday? I have to remind myself everyday to give my day to Jesus and see where he leads me. When I do give Jesus my day, everything works out and I have a better day than I could have imagined.

 

Don’t be so busy that you miss the opportunity to be a part of God’s work on earth. Great things happen when we allow God to use us. We are his vessels to bring heaven to earth. Don’t miss your opportunity to change the world!

 

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:8-11, 13-14

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This is my friend Erica sitting with two Monks in Laos. She was showing them the love of Jesus by meeting them where they were, giving her time, and listening to them.

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Something From Nothing

“How come I start out to do something and it always ends up being nothing?” wailed my five-year-old as the dilemma of defeat swept over him. At the moment he was trying to make an airplane with its intricate cross bars and propellers out of a large piece of wood, and it just wasn’t working out as he had visioned it. In his mind, there was a masterpiece of success; in his hand, he held two unrelated pieces of wood. And the tears just had to come.

By one of those strange means that all mothers employ, the conversation was moved from his failure to the story of creation and how God, the Great Creator, has made the world from nothing and upholds it by the Word of His power. My boy sighed and said, “And I make nothing out of something.”

My mind journeyed back through the years and I saw the many times I had gone before God, heartbroken, and cried the same cry of failure. Only mine were adult tears – shed because I had started to do something for Him, but had ended in failure! Adult sorrows, as my heart condemned me because some very good intention or vow had become lost in the maze of everyday problems and was unfulfilled.

I think, of all the weeping, repentant prayers that are prayed, most of them stem from vows made – and unfulfilled. Of sorrows that have come to us because we have failed.

“O God, I’ll visit the sick” we say, only to forget them in the business of our own schedules. Or, “Lord, I’ll work harder for you – I’ll find some place to do Thy work today,” only to admit at the end of the day that this has been like very other day; filled with our own desires and responsibilities of our own household.

Beautiful Sunrise over The Himalayas, Nepal

But wonder of wonders, God can, if we will let Him, make something from the nothing of our lives. To each of us each morning He gives the raw material of a new day. During that day we are capable of success or failure. The Psalmist realized his own inadequacies when he cried, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” I realize that daily God must do a work of creation within me, if I am to be anything of a success for Him. It must be all of Christ, and nothing of self.

When I try, I make nothing out of something. When I let God take over, He is able to make something from nothing.

(This article, Something From Nothing, by Rev. Gladys I. Johnson, originally appeared in Foursquare Magazine in November, 1958)

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I Found a Day

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The morning began as any other morning. I rolled myself out of bed at the sound of the hated alarm clock, and rushed headlong into the day’s activity. As I busied myself with he numerous tasks of getting the family’s breakfast, hurrying the children off to school, making beds, dusting – I wondered for the thousandth time how my house would look with the floors black-topped. Then I could have roller skates and get from room to room much quicker!

The ringing phone cut through my imagining. A well-known voice informed me that the duties and responsibilities I had planned for the day had been postponed.

My heart began to sing! Here was one beautiful, entire day for which there was nothing planned! I felt as a man must feel who finds a good fortune. I had found a day!

But do you know what this crazy mind of mine began to do? It raced pell-mell, almost tumbling over itself, in its impatience to plan my day. There were all of those odds and ends I had startred, but never had time to finish. The rug needed cleaning; there was sewing to be done. And so my thoughts rushed on.

I am sorry to admit that never once did my unsaintly mind ask itself what I could do for the Lord that day! Result? The day ended just as every other day — and I fell into bed, exhausted with my efforts, feeling like Martha who was careful and troubled about many things and jealous of her sister Mary who had chosen the good part and sat at the Master’s feet.

I could have sat there! At least for a portion of the day. I had a day to spend!

Our days are spent rushing here and there. How little time we spend with the Master. Oh, busy, busy world. How much you rob us of that precious commodity of time. How great is your theft! We are robbed of that which is needful to our spiritual lives — that refreshing time — that joyous time — that time of communion with our Lord.

It is little wonder our lives become shallow and unfruitful. Little wonder we so often lose the joy of our salvation — that the small trials become mountains to us and we lack the faith to remove them.

Every twenty-four hours, I have a day to spend. I must purpose in my own heart to spend a portion of that day in communion with God, knowing those moments spent will make me richer throughout the day.

“Wherefore he saith; Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:14-16

Written by Gladys & published in Foursquare Magazine – February, 1959

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