Monday, February 1, 2016

Space For Rest

The cold reality has set in, that I am already behind in a brand new year.

January slipped by in the leftovers of holiday hustle, the uninvited companions of cold and flu. Self-imposed quarantine and time alone with a few books and no energy.

I think it was a gift.

It forced me to rest. To reflect. To dream a little. To curl up in a chair with a handstitched quilt, herbal tea and be still.

It was uninvited time to quiet my heart and hear Gods' voice.

The book, Fervent, by Priscilla Shirer, has been my companion since November. Yes, this may be one of the slowest continual reads I've done. I began reading it after I went to the movie, War room, which I believe every person needs to see at least twice.

Fervent isn't a book you just read from front to back and say, "Well, that was sweet."

The book has revolutionized how I think about problems and people and of course ––prayer.

It has opened my eyes to the reality of the battle in areas of my life and the lives of those I love. I find that I'm not only approaching prayer differently, I'm approaching my life differently.

One subject that pierced my heart was the issue of keeping a margin of rest.

Every day there are lists that need things checked off.  Well, that's what makes me feel like progress is being made.

Over the years, I've heard many discussions about the Sabbath and a day of rest. If you haven't had to endure those kinds of conversations, here is the short story.

Long ago, God appointed a day of rest called the Sabbath. The word means, to cease, to rest. It conjures up images of the old man, in the Old Testament, who lugged stone tabloids around the desert right? That word, Sabbath, seems obsolete in our modern, fast-paced, instant everything kind of world.

There is much written and with that, much debate, on what day is the right day or if we are still obligated to observe that commandment at all.

This is what I know. Busyness is a mask for things that creep in to be more important than my relationship with God. It's as if  I think that the world will not carry on well if I don't keep up my portion of spinning plates.

To be honest, I didn't see myself as having a problem with taking time to rest.

However, when I read the part in her book about, "....margin keeps you from marginalizing God......" well I knew I had some work to do.

So, Sunday, I prayed that I would be intentional about resting and drawing near to God.

I had the best kind of day and felt a deep kind of refreshment I haven't felt in a long time. It was that feeling you have after spending hours with a trusted friend who really gets you.

Perhaps it was a coincidence, but I think it was a gift for simply taking a small step of obedience.

Priscilla quotes a friend in her book, "God doesn't want something from us, He wants something for us."

Our value isn't what we do, it's who we are. Taking time to rest is intended to have built-in time to be with the One who loves us just as we are. And rest, whatever day of the week we can embrace it, gives us the energy to do all the other days.

My first trial day of intentional rest, where I just asked the Lord to show me how to spend the time, looked nothing like I would have thought. There were moments of clarity in muddy thoughts that had been a problem weighing on me for weeks.

In the afternoon, a gift was given to me. Something I've never told a single person I've wanted for my office. (Screaming still!) And as I got ready for bed there was a message full of words, that I believe God chose to give me at that moment to remind me of  His intimate love for me.

Monday morning, nothing had changed on the list of to-do's or the crazy life, except my attitude of gratefulness to God for it.

And you know how I was feeling behind already in 2016?

That may have been the truth if my life were about producing and doing. But after time with the Lord, I realize how that kind of thinking, is not His kind of thinking. His mercies are new every morning.

I'll be making intentional space for rest this week too.

I can't promise you'll have the same kind of experience that I had, but I hope you will fight to make space for rest.

I would love to hear about how you do that.


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© Rhonda Quaney