journal on rest … there’s a way

It’s Sunday, for some a day of rest. It doesn’t matter who you are. In your heart, you long for a lasting rest. We are always searching for it, for a way to be filled up. And on Sundays I journal and pray about rest. Won’t you breathe and read slowly and think on this one thing? Won’t you stay and be still with me for a few spectacular, ordinary moments? 

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Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” But they said, “We will not walk in it.” (Jeremiah 6:16 ESV) *

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So often of late, I have caught myself feeling listless and unmotivated, and not going anywhere. Not doing much, yet still tired. I am starting to see that inactivity is not rest. Do you have those moments of realization, that you have been living with a focus on yourself and your comfort, rather than on God’s high purposes? This verse came to mind today because my soul needs rest and I haven’t been pursuing it. I am like those who chose not to walk in the good way, the way that would bring peace and rest. I know what it’s like to be living in step with God, and yet I still have the foolish tendency to forego that goodness for myopic, purposeless things.

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May we today renew our fervor for the living God, and may He renew our hearts to crave Him and His wholeness. Amen.

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*Contrast this verse with Proverbs 14:12, about another kind of way. There really isn’t a middle option, friends. It’s all Jesus or nothing.

journal on rest … solid ground

It’s Sunday, for some a day of rest. It doesn’t matter who you are. In your heart, you long for a lasting rest. We are always searching for it, for a way to be filled up. And on Sundays I journal and pray about rest. Won’t you breathe and read slowly and think on this one thing? Won’t you stay and be still with me for a few spectacular, ordinary moments? 

You know when you see large groups of birds flying together, up and down, over and up, and it’s so beautiful? A murmuration, it’s called, when starlings fly in their ensemble.

Yeah that’s not what’s happening in my head. I can get in that sort of flow if I really try, but moment to moment, it’s really a cacophony of some less orderly creature, like speeding bats but maybe without their echolocation.

When you’re dealing with so much externally, I don’t think your insides really are on hold. They continue doing stuff, but if you can’t pause to take a look, they don’t do stuff really well. So your body keeps working, but it won’t digest like it should, and your mind keeps going, but it becomes cluttered and confused.

I have so many ideas of what I want to do with my interests, passions, gifts. What my ideal job would be, how to pursue my dreams, how to really cultivate the life and community of our church and The Church. I feel strong burdens for certain individuals and situations.

And some things, such as the location of a new job for Hubs, our roles at church, me trying to research and write things and pursue a career – they feel wobbly and uncertain, and I can’t sort my feelings, and I don’t really know where we’re going. Of late I have let the flapping and turning and fluttering overwhelm my consciousness. There are just times when you’re running off-trail in a haze. Or flying in a mess of confused bats. Or living inside a vacuum cleaner. You feel me.

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I can’t stop the noise and the wind and the movement of everything. But I can step out of it into the shelter of God’s presence, for even just moments.

I can exist in such a way that, on this Sabbath day, I prioritize time rather than what is space-related. We live our days always concerned about things, and space. But the first thing God called holy was a day, not a thing.

When I use a day to glory in God Himself, I am putting aside the things of space and matter. Friend, those are very good, as God said when He created them. But they are not everything. His Presence is joy and rest.

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Today, may I tune in to my brain and my heart and let God sort out the clutter. May I welcome God’s strength, which gives me eagle wings* – even better than starlings.

*Isaiah 40:29-31

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 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14

Featured image by Stephanie Gannon: http://cowbird.com/story/37779/The_Murmuration/

 

 

on rest … burden prayer

It’s Sunday, for some a day of rest. It doesn’t matter who you are. In your heart, you long for a lasting rest. We are always searching for it, for a way to be filled up. And on Sundays I journal and pray about rest. Won’t you breathe and read slowly and think on this one thing? Won’t you stay and be still with me for a few spectacular, ordinary moments? 

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Blessed are the pure in heart, who leave everything to God now as they did before they ever existed.

[Meister Eckhart]

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Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, we confess to You that we don’t believe You are almighty.

We confess that, of our own accord, we often bear burdens better left to You.

We confess that we think so much of ourselves, that if we set those burdens down — or never took them up — the world You created might start turning the other direction and everything would be terrible.

We think so much of ourselves, that we believe we can and should carry weighty things and busy things all by ourselves.

We are distracted from this pride by our genuine desire to help others, to care for someone, to look out for ourselves.

And we are so blinded.

And we are so tired.

Lord our healer, Lord our provider, mend us.

We are in dire need of rescue from ourselves. Stay our hands that would accept or cling to what is not ours to bear. Or else, strengthen those hands with Your power, that we might not bear them alone.

Almighty God, teach us to believe Your might.

Teach us to leave everything to You.

Amen.