The week between Christmas & New Year’s feels like a “not ready” week, maybe because of all the festivities, bustle & frenzy leading up to Christmas, . . . . . And then we pause 🙂
And for such a pause, I’m abundantly grateful. I don’t have to get ready for anything – no dinner guests, no events, no sermons, no parties, no gift wrapping or last minute presents to buy. In this week, it’s ok to be “not ready.” So I appreciate the opportunity to lounge in pjs, take time for reflection, watch birds and squirrels eat berries off the tree outside my window, get my vacuum into the shop for a much needed tune-up, sleep in a little bit and be entirely comfortable with being “not ready.”
Maybe this idea goes back to the concept of Sabbath, when we pause from our work and take a day of rest. I sincerely believe that such a pause is an essential ingredient for growing in our intimacy with God 🙂
In the US today, we celebrate a national holiday called, “Labor Day.” The official year that it was started in America was 1882 & laborers had to strike to get the day “off” for a pause or rest from work. And I think it’s the universal human experience that we all need a pause from work. Perhaps we agree on this because of Divine design.
If you think about it, even God took a pause on the seventh day of the Creation week, when He rested. And to reinforce the need for rest, God established the Sabbath as one of the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath is one day a week to rest from our work & set our attention / affection toward fellowship with God.
So let’s celebrate not only success and productivity, but also rest because without rest our souls become thin, weary, unsettled and broken. Happy Labor Day!
I know that I’ve had a good workout when I’m breathing heavy & it takes me awhile to catch my breath – I like that feeling because my body feels good & spent. So if I’ve worked out really hard, it’s nice to pause for a few minutes & catch my breath before I move on to the next task.
I think God made a great example of this “pause & catch your breath” thing when God rested on the 7th day after having created the world in 6days. Further to this point, let’s remember that God blessed the 7th day, a day of rest & recovery.
Let’s be careful not to ignore or dismiss this important principle of rest & recovery into our lifestyles. It’s good to rest 🙂
Yesterday, my daughter & I were going through a drive through hamburger place to grab a quick lunch and when I looked for my credit card to pay, it was missing! My heart dropped down to my toes – then I quickly started to look for my credit card & with relief found it in my car.
We can all think of various things we’ve lost in the past & what a horrible feeling it leaves in our thoughts. So when I recently read Jesus’ 3 parables about lost stuff in Luke 15 (sheep, coin & son), I was very moved by some important things for us to consider:
the shepherd, woman & father didn’t quit looking until what was lost had been found: our heavenly Father never quits & gives up trying to find & reconcile us
there was a massive celebration when the lost item / person was found & reconciled: there was no shame or scolding given to that which was lost, but rather a jubuliant celebration over the recovery & reconciliation
being lost can be expressed in lots of different contexts: the father sought to reconcile not only the renegade son, but also the self-righteous son who remained aloof & detached from his family; being right doesn’t mean we don’t need to be reconciled 🙂
Progress is something we all seem keen to experience. We all like to get better, do better & make progress – super appealing. But sometimes the tricky part with progress is the pace – slow progress can be maddening & fast progress can be scary. But I choose to celebrate progress regardless of the pace 🙂
So my shoulder is making progress compared to when it was dislocated a few months ago & compared to the surgery on it two weeks ago. Is it the speedy progress where I can start swimming & playing basketball now? Not quite but with some physical therapy & a few months work, I should be better than where I started even before I dislocated my shoulder.
Sometimes we have to go back before we can make progress 🙂
I’m better at waiting than in the past. I say this as I sit here, during a several day pause, recovering from some shoulder surgery – waiting. Waiting for my body to go through the wonderfully God-created healing process that includes waiting. So if you find yourself in a holding pattern, or waiting, here are a few tips that might be helpful:
*life has seasons of ebb & flow, activity & pause, by Divine design
*there are really good lessons & outcomes that can be found & experienced in those waiting seasons
*relationships often grow deeper in the waiting seasons for the simple reason of being present – there’s good value in being present, especially with God!
*waiting immunizes us from the hurry up society & culture that can unknowingly affect our values & priorities
*waiting with grace & poise takes practice – be patient with yourself as you grow & mature
*waiting shouldn’t be used to justify lazy – these are entirely different topics
It seems like I spend a massive amount of energy, focus & time for Christmas: food, parties, gifts, cleaning, prep, wrapping, cooking, concerts, etc all squeezed into 2-3 weeks of seemingly frenzied activities. By the time Christmas is over, I’m ready to sing Handel Messiah’s “Hallelujah” chorus, kind of 🙂
Having come through another Christmas season, on the other side, I find myself in recovery mode: less food, less activities, no wrapping, less cooking & lots of delightful cold, snow, quiet & still. But in my own way, I’m also in prep mode because I’m praying for 2015 and continuing to listen and be attentive with what God has for the upcoming year. We are on the cusp of turning the page on 2014 to begin a new chapter for 2015. Let’s not enter 2015 as a leftover, wrung out rag from 2014. Let’s seize the time, space and pause to not only nourish our souls but also to prepare us for the adventures that God has for us in 2015 🙂
Some prep ideas:
make a list of gratitudes from 2014 – reflecting on God’s amazing work & presence in your life over 2014
consider some places, situations, experiences that need some active forgiveness work (shortcomings, failures, idols, disobedience, etc)
take some time to maybe take a walk & listen to God – not only for what God has in store for 2015, but more importantly to be together
ask for the Holy Spirit to help you know the Helper better in 2015 than you have known in 2014 🙂
I find that its really important to have times to rejuvenate & perhaps these few days are for exactly that purpose. Like virtually everyone else, it seems like December is normally packed to the gills with activities, festivities, parties, obligations & general frenzied demands. But after Christmas, there seems to be an accepted pause or exhale. For me, this break in activity is very rejuvenating. It helps me to have some space & time to think, listen, be still, enjoy my family, sleep, read, cook simple things, talk long w best friends and stay warm under a heavy blanket.
I know that soon enough, the pace will again commence & I’ll get back into the regular groove & routines. But for this time to pause, I’m thankful. Furthermore, perhaps when we take time to “sharpen the saw” maybe our work efforts will be more effective & less arduous 😀