Rest

I’m enjoying blogging every day. I find that it helps me focus on the truths I’m reading in Scripture and that it allows me to process what God’s doing in my heart more completely.

The theme of today has been rest. No, I’m not still at home in my pajamas. But I was ’til about 2:00 p.m. this afternoon! Today’s the first Saturday in over a month that I was able to sleep in, make breakfast, and spend some time with God. I have a favorite spot for quiet times – a massive green chair in my living room that’s perfect for cuddling up in and reading my Bible.

Like I said yesterday, I set my heart last night to embrace this season of waiting and to use this weekend to rest. And really rest regardless of what my schedule dictates I must do.  So I took this morning slow and haven’t rushed at all today, even when I was running behind. I was right – this is exactly what I’ve needed and I need it far more often.

I drank several cups of coffee, listened to Jason Upton, had a long phone conversation regarding ministry with a very dear girl, and spent time this afternoon catching up with an old friend over Mexican food (we actually found a decent place in Crystal City!) and ice cream. Time spent like this is soothing to my heart and I begin to remember what relationships are about.

Rest changes me. Yesterday the rain made me irritable and tired. Today, the rain almost emphasized rest and peace. Even the torrential downpour wasn’t going to be allowed to ruin my day (I’m totally a sunshine girl). If I owned a pair of rainboots I would have taken a long walk and gone and splashed in the puddles. You see, my perspective is really all about my heart condition. Where I set my heart is crucial. If I allow my heart to grow angry and restless, I will be angry and will get no rest. If I’m focusing on God and His Word, I will have peace and rest, and my soul will be restored (Psalm 23:3).

Proverbs 4:23 says “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” I’ve heard that verse used in every sermon on relationships I’ve ever heard. And it applies there, but we need to see it as valuable outside of that context as well. I need to guard my heart against worry, stress, and insecurity. I need to be wise with my time so my heart can grow and find rest in God’s Word. If my heart’s not right, nothing I do will be right. It makes total sense.

I’m also reminded of Colossians 3:2-3: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

My life’s been hidden WITH Christ IN God. I cannot think of anything more amazing. And that should be my focus – the focus of both my heart and my mind; my will and my emotions. When all of those parts of me are in line with Scripture, then rest becomes easy.

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The waiting (from 3/12/10 – posted 3/13/10)

“The waiting is to teach us our absolute dependence on God’s mighty working.” Andrew Murray, Waiting on God.

My last post was on running and focus. Today is about waiting. All day at work I watched the clock. Time is never slower than when you’re watching it (a lesson from yesterday, for sure). And that’s especially true on a Friday afternoon. And then I sat in traffic for an hour and a half on my way to see Josh. Let’s just say I am running very low on patience these days.

So yes, life is about running and running well – to reach the finish and receive the prize. But today, I realize yet again that even in all of our running, there must be rest. On Sunday I’m meeting with my mentor, Lauren. In her e-mail to me today, she mentioned that we’ll be discussing balance, rest, and finding quiet places with God.

Balance for me is something that’s very difficult. I like to be always busy, always moving, always running quickly. I think though, that there are weeks and months like these last few, that God has to walk me through to show me how very dependent I am on Him. Sometimes I cram too much ministry into my heart and life to make enough time for quality rest and time with God. I’m in the midst of a humbling process and am realizing again how very human I am. And to remember once again, that unless I’m filled, I can’t pour out. I must be full of God and His Word to have life and to give life.

This life, after all, isn’t about me – it’s all about Him. He “gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25b), and “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Apart from Him I can do nothing. If I feel like I can’t breath, or I’m exhausted by life and how quickly I move, it’s likely because I’m not relying on Him or drawing on His strength. I’ve once again fallen into pride – HUGE pride – the belief that I can take care of myself, order my own life well, help people, and make a difference without being carried through all of it by the One who gives me life itself.

This weekend, I’m going to practice waiting. And it’s going to involve some worship, some sleep, some working out, and some time in my favorite chair in my living room with God. It’ll be totally worth it and I’m sure it will be exactly what I need.

Dream Vacation – Part II

So yesterday as I was polling my office, my facebook friends, my mom, and searching the internet for some fun, inexpensive weekend getaways from DC, I realized several things:

*I have numerous countries that I’d like to visit, but even with an unlimited budget this weekend, I probably wouldn’t have gone to any of them. I’ve been dreaming of a trip to Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey for almost three years now, but I would have bypassed the chance to do that to just jump in a kayak and float down a river in east Texas or lie on a beach and listen to nothing but waves.

*When I asked myself the question: “If I could vacation anywhere, where would I go?” – The answer wasn’t Europe (which I absolutely love-this in no way should be interpreted to mean that I no longer love traveling or all things European), places I dream of visiting, or even home. I wanted to go somewhere I could really rest. I decided that for this weekend, that actually meant staying home. I might still go visit some places in and around DC that I’ve been wanting to see (I constantly have a list), but I decided that God was really asking me to set aside time to be still.

If money wasn’t a hindrance, I would have decided to go to some small island somewhere with miles of beach – white sand, really blue sky, and clear water. In my imagination, this place is small, with similar landscape everywhere, and not much else to see or do. That would keep me from running around from place to place, trying to see all of the important sites and landmarks (like Court and I did in Europe several summers ago). I realized that I don’t think I’ve really ever gone on a vacation just to relax (other than some incredible weekends/holidays in Pennsylvania now and then and a couple of weekends in WV).

So, that’s a goal in the coming year – take a week to just relax – go somewhere fun. Maybe I’ll take a cruise while they’re cheap or visit somewhere else I’ve never been. I’m learning a lot about myself this summer and one of the things I’m learning is that I need to cultivate the ability to be alone. And to be quiet.  Both of those things are invaluable, especially in cultivating one’s relationship with God and maintaining one’s emotional and spiritual health.

So I’ve created a list of things I’ve been wanting to do and started doing them… just one at a time – I refuse to be in a hurry. Today I called my sister and talked to a best friend for a long time, went running, tried out a new salsa recipe, tried a snow cone stand I’ve seen for over a year and never taken the time to stop at (won’t be returning, by the way – snow cones are only good in Texas), napped, finished a great book (another new post re: politics coming soon), and got a great tan.

There are important lessons that will be learned this weekend. Thankfully God got my attention this week and reminded me of how much I need Him, His rest, and His peace. I can honestly say that I’m realizing that I keep myself busy many times because I don’t know what to do with the quiet time. This weekend is about learning what to do in the quiet time, and more than that, it’s about learning to enjoy it.

(For those of you interested in visiting one of the top 10 getaways close to DC, visit: http://dc.about.com/od/hotels/tp/Top10Getaways.htm)

Dream vacation

I’m not sure if anyone is really even reading this or paying attention… but I’ve been asking myself this question all day and decided to see what sort of responses it might elicit from the world at large.

If you could vacation anywhere, where would you go? Why would you go there and what would you do while there?

I’m asking because I suddenly found myself with a lot of free time on my hands this week and stopped long enough to ask myself what I really wanted to do with it. I don’t have the money or enough time to take some of the incredible trips I dreamed up, but it was an interesting thought process. I’ll share a bit later on this evening… I’m still thinking 🙂