Peaceful Rest

I love this picture because it shows me what it looks like when a baby is entirely settled, sleeping & trusting. We caught this moment last month when I was in Cambodia at one of our nightcare centers, with my Saving Moses work. This little treasure was fussy to start, but became increasingly relaxed in my arms until he fell asleep. And I’m. It sure that there’s not much more soothing to my soul than holding a sleeping baby.
In contrast, without our nightcare centers, these sweet little treasure wouldn’t have a safe nor serene place to sleep. He would likely be exposed to many inappropriately adult situations & his night would probably be a staccato of noise, interruptions, instability & maybe danger.
Let’s take this picture to heart, celebrating God’s genuine love that gives all of us rest & peace in our souls 🙂

Breathing Room

I tend to run in the red zone. This means that I try to squeeze the most out of my time, energy, money, talents & attention. Generally, I’ve thought this has been a good way to do life. If a person wants to achieve a lot, suck out the marrow of life & choke on the bone, maybe even burn out, then FULL CHARGE ON!!!

But I’m beginning to see the importance of margin, or breathing room. Margin gives us space to think, recover, listen & be with the Holy Spirit. If you think about it, Adam’s first day of existence was God’s day of rest. Perhaps it’s in the margins & rest where we can experience the deepest intimacy & fellowship with the Holy Spirit, just maybe 🙂

Liking Time

It seems to me that most of us don’t like time, maybe because we don’t seem to have enough of it, or we resent the pressure it applies. When I was a kid, I didn’t like time because it seems like an eternity – now it often seems scarce.

Perhaps for these reasons & loads more, God told us to keep a Sabbath, the day of rest & refrain from work. I think that if we don’t structure our energies, resources & time to conform to God’s imperatives, we harm & even break ourselves from misusing & abusing God’s provisions.
Today, I have a pause & I find myself being not just relaxed but maybe more importantly refreshed in this space & time to exhale. Furthermore, the pause let’s me give some undistracted focus to being with God & there’s nothing my soul craves more than this intimacy with my Creator.
Let’s be grateful for time, by using it according to God’s instructions.

Rest On All Sides

Rest On All Sides

At the end of last week, I returned from a whirlwind trip to Bangladesh for Saving Moses. In our short time there, we accomplished loads of stuff because I think that a person should do everything to maximize their time. Upon returning home, I find myself more than a little spent. I feel puny, my sleep is messed up, my emotions are everywhere & I can’t seem to quiet my brain.
Thankfully, I was able to join our entirely glorious Sunday School class yesterday where we took a deep dive into 2Samuel 7 – a chapter about David wanting to build a temple for God. The first verse of the chapter says that David had “rest on every side.” One of the ladies in our class observed how wonderful this would be to have rest everywhere in our lives! In our discussion, we camped on this idea for awhile & it was amazing!! As I thought about this, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that this rest was available to me not only on the outside, but on the inside as well – rest on every side.
So let’s allow the Holy Spirit to give us rest, maybe more than any place, on the inside with our emotions, thoughts, desires, etc

Benefits of Waiting

I’m writing this in Indiana, as I’m waiting for a driver to take me to the airport. I was waiting earlier for an interview & when I get to the airport, I’ll wait some more to get on the airplane. Seems to me that we often spend time waiting for various things – stop lights, job interviews, school acceptance, for the right mate, direction from God & heaps more. 
Sometimes it’s easy to get impatient in the waiting times. So here are some benefits to help you while you wait:

  • Waiting gives us the space to catch our breath & collect our thoughts
  • Waiting can be the prep time we need for the next season of busyness, activities & responsibilities
  • In Isaiah, it says that when we wait upon the Lord, He renews our strength & we all need supernatural strength
  • The best thing about waiting is the chance to have some focused fellowship with the Holy Spirit, our Heavenly Help

I Didn’t Go

I admit that I still like The Go Go’s, a pop band from
the 80s. Listening to them is like eating cotton candy: sappy & lite. They sing, “Get Up & Go”, a catchy tune with mindless lyrics, something about not going slow – a peppy little song. 
Alas, I did not get up & go. 

Recently I was supposed to go to Angola for Saving Moses but because of some visa problems & health challenges, I find myself at home, unexpectedly. It’s tricky for me because I like to get up & go. I like to be on the move. So sitting down & staying isn’t always my first choice. But there are times & seasons when God knows that what we need most is to sit & stay, even when this cuts against the grain of our personality. 

So here are some benefits I’m realizing from this non-Go Go season:

  • I love the time with my family – listening, watching, cooking, cleaning with them & enjoying their company
  • More thinking: as if I needed more thinking, and yet this stillness affords me a depth that I don’t enjoy when I’m on the move
  • Quiet: not only am I appreciating the quiet on the outside, but I’m learning an internal quiet that is very soothing & wholesome
  • Heavenly Help: I’m learning a new closeness with the Holy Spirit that I’ve not experienced before 🙂

The verses God is speaking to me everyday in this season are Ps 131:1-2. Take a few moments to read these – likely God has some good for all of us even during a sit & stay season ,)

Lessons in Resting

Springtime always seems to ramp up the activity level.  There’s fresh air outside that’s not too cold, the trees bloom with fragrant life, the hibernation of winter dissipates and of course there are all of the activities that go with school, Easter, graduations, weddings, showers, etc.

More often than not, Springtime wears me out with the hustle and bustle of demanding activities.  So this Sping, I’m endeavoring to strike a better balance, integrating some rest into the mix.  Here are some ideas that might help you with finding rest in a busy Spring:

  • be careful not to fall in the “value in achievement” trap – you’re valuable because God loves you, full stop
  • consider Spring cleaning your calendar / schedule and not just your house
  • be sure the way you use your time accurately reflects your priorities
  • don’t ditch church 🙂

Of course I’m always keen to recommend reading a good book as a form of relaxing & a great book to read in preparation for Pentecost in a few weeks is Heavenly Help

Catch Your Breath

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 🙂

Hot Topic: being human 

Have you had a busy week? Did you get a lot done this week? Are you frustrated that you didn’t get as much done as you think you need to?  

Take a deep breath with me for a moment. 

There’s a balance that we struggle to maintain: the balance between human being & human doing. With this thinking, our culture makes that balance very tricky. Heaps of stuff all around us tell us to get busy, be productive, don’t be lazy, achievements equal importance & significance is through activity. While there’s some truth is these ideas, the operative word is SOME. 

Let’s not forget that God’s first day with Adam was God’s day of rest, affirming the truth that we are foremost human beings, lovingly affirmed by our Creator. 

Be human & do balance 🙂

Last Plane

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve been in 5 states, 2 countries, through 5 time zone, one boat & 8 planes. Suffice it to say that I feel like I’ve been in a state of perpetual motion. It will be very nice to be still, read on my back porch, breath deeply, cook for my family & snuggle.
Maybe God would like some of that stillness with us as well. Clearly, we all have plenty of responsibilities that require our energies & focus, but let’s also be attentive to all let the engine idle. Running our lives in the red zone for too long isn’t good for anyone nor are we designed by our Creator to live in perpetual motion 🙂

To be still, to engage, hold hands, listen to birds, watch the clouds, center & exhale 🙂

Happy Monday to you!

  

hot topic: get ready!

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 🙂

Happy New Year prep! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

margin

I’m writing this post as a total hypocrite on this topic because I’m currently the absolute WORST at this, but the topic of margin is nevertheless really important.  When my kids write out a long paragraph, it helps me heaps when they leave some space around their writing so my eyes can get a break from the deciphering exercise 🙂

I think this is also true with our daily living.  When we pack each day to the uttmost with events, activities, appointments, responsibilities, demands, etc then it gets difficult to:

  • see where we’re going & ultimately achieve goals that are genuinely important
  • rest – even our sleep becomes fitful
  • listen – the clutter of an overfull life can easily drown out the still small voice from God that we so desperately need
  • be present & our relationships move into shallow mode – sometimes necessary but not healthy for the longterm
  • remain healthy

Dear Sarah, please keep some margins in your life 🙂

Vacation, Sabbath, Pause & Rest

I’m currently with my family on a vacation, enjoying some downtime. I find that I can chose how restful this vacation is or I can be stressed out about how much work I’m missing, checking my emails all the time, writing blogs, etc. Vacate means to leave the premise or to check out.
I think it’s good for all of us to occasionally leave the premise & check out for our own mental health, for the purpose of enjoying family & to give God the opportunity to engage with us with less competition for our attention. Celebrate the opportunities that God gives us for vacations, rest & pause 🙂

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Timelines & Deadlines

We all have various things that we have to get done by various deadlines, along with schedules that we have to keep with dates & times that must be managed. What I find interesting about time is that God doesn’t seem to see time with our eyes or values – seems logical since God made time.
In our lives, we all have various deadlines of which God is thoroughly aware. And while I must be responsible & steward my time wisely, I must also understand that I’ve give God my days & not just my life. So from time to time, I remind myself that I’m on God’s schedule not the other way around 🙂

pause

When I was growing up, we used the Big Chief red note pads to learn how to write.  I still remember that dingy paper & the giant lines in which I was supposed to keep my writing (good luck).  When I started using the regular white lined paper, I remember thinking that it seemed like they wasted alot of space on the sides because the Big Chief paper didn’t have the red line on the left – margin.  As I continued to refine my writing skills, I started writing smaller & smaller so that I could get more stuff on the page – at one point, my teacher probably needed a microscope to read my writing.

So here are some thoughts on space & time:

  • margins create clarity – when we try to squeeze everything into a small space or time, everything can get blurry and confusing really fast
  • while we are designed to be productive and to achieve things, it’s important to maintain balance between workload and breathing room
  • rest and escape aren’t the same thing
  • rest can be a form of trusting God 🙂

This post is hypocritical

I’m presently riding home from a brief but very nice mini-vacation in the mountains with my husband. We had a lovely time relaxing, reading & hiking. This get-away has reminded me of the importance of having margins in our lives. My problem is that I tend to run my life in the red zone & squeeze in just “one more thing.”.
So here’s my “do as I say & not as I do” advice for those of us who do life in the red zone: there’s lots of good wisdom with God’s commandment to remember the Sabbath. Making intentional time each week to pause, listen & re-group can help create those essential margins we need to keep from the general engine failure that happens from red zone living 🙂

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constructive rest :)

  My kids are officially on Summer Break & oh the joys of no school work, staying home, making pancakes, playing outside, having lemonade stands, being with their friends and so much more!!!  Yahoooo!!!  I’m also challenging them to read for one hour a week so they keep their reading skills sharp – an important tool for success. 

I believe that God gives each of us seasons of rest, but we must be mindful to consider that rest isn’t the same as amusement.  For me, rest is constructive.  Rest can be creating some space to think, be, listen & connect.  Rest can also be the decision to trust that God is bigger than any challenge, hardship, difficulty, darkness or uncertainty.  Jesus said that we can come to Him & find rest in Him, the One Who loves the entirety of who you really are 🙂

rest

This morning, I read Psalms 23 and it was super encouraging to my heart! What really stood out to me was the very beginning part when David says that God causes him to lie down in green pastures. This was really soothing because when you look at the verb in the Hebrew, the idea is that God is very much making David to lay down – almost like an enforced pause.
Here’s my thinking on this idea of a pause – I think that many of us run a pretty fast-paced & high-demanding life for lots of different reasons (some good & some lame). Nevertheless, we all need rest, a break, on a consistent basis (more than just the idea of our daily sleep requirement). If we do not integrate a break or rest into our routines (i.e. a weekly Sabbath), then we will find ourselves in a place of “forced rest,” where God causes us to take a pause.
It is super important to have consistent breaks & pauses in our lives for many different reasons:
*a pause helps to clarify our thinking & emotional inputs
*a pause allows us to re-focus our priorities
*a pause provides the space & context for our relationship with God to deepen & grow
*a pause lets us have an opportunity to slow down & listen to God

Three cheers to a busy life with integrated & intentional rest 🙂

hold on a second!!

Ok, revelation time: when I was growing up (and sadly enough in some recent history), I had some very “sassy” moments, to put it mildly. Unfortunately, I remember some EXTREMELY bad moments when I’ve been very disrespectful. With a little bit of maturity now (with lots of room to continue growing), I look back on those moments with regret and embarrassment. I’ve even had an extremely successful pastor gently remind me of a very arrogant conversation I had with him when I was a teenager. Thankfully, he was very gracious and understanding when he reminded me of this conversation, but I was nevertheless very embarrassed by my words and behavior.

Bringing these memories into my present behavior, I’ve come to the conclusion that respect is never out of bounds and disrespect is always out of bounds. In my generation, we have often made the mistake of presupposing a person had to “earn” our respect before we would give it. I’ve often noticed now that if I will treat people with respect, whether they deserve it or not, they usually behave in a respectful way. For those individuals who remain disrespectful even when I treat them with honor, I figure that their behavior is their responsibility and not mine. At the end of the day, I want to make sure that I’m honoring God. So if I can treat my fellow human with honor, it’s creating a lifestyle of honor to please my heavenly Father.

I have never regretted treating someone with respect, but I’m always disappointed in myself when I am disrespectful. Honor begets honor – Prov 3:35 🙂

hold on a second!!

When I was growing up, my dad would collect antique furniture & he filled our garage with his collections.  Over time, he added a shelf to the front of the garage so he could fill it it antiques, then he put in some suspended shelving from the ceiling of the garage so he could store more antiques.  Pretty soon, the paths that we used to get to the garbage cans were getting squeezed in w antiques.  And here’s the feeling I would always get when I went into the garage – suffocation.  Sometimes, I’d imagine for a brief second when I went into the garage that all of it might teeter from the little perches, strings & balanced corners to come collapsing down on me & that I’d get buried only to be possibly found by a curious parent after a few hours, if I was lucky.  After one such imaginative nightmare, I decided to only open the garage from the outside door & not try to ever go through the garage – for fear of an antique avalanche.

Now when I think about this, its kind of funny, but it wasn’t when I was living w my parents.  I taught myself avalanche avoidance techniques.  As an adult, I wish I would apply these lessons to managing my life better.  You see, sometimes I fill up my life with so much stuff (activities, responsibilities, achievements, pressures, deadlines, expectations, etc) that I feel like its just a matter of time until I become an avalanche victim.  This week is one of those times.

Here are some possible avalanche avoidance techniques:

Maybe God watches from the sidelines in amused disgust as I try to juggle everything without much success.

Maybe God waits for me to stop trying to be super woman & ask for His help.

Maybe God watches for the opportunity to teach me to say “yes” to His directives and not almost everything that passes my way.

Maybe God wants me to learn that He is the only eye in the hurricane

Maybe God wants to teach me more about living out the truth of Sabbath.

Maybe God wants me to wait on Him – to be still and know that He is God

Maybe all this flurry of activity lessens the keenness of my ear to hear His still small voice.

Maybe, just maybe, you & I can learn together & with His help, not continue to make the same kinds of mistakes.

I’m just saying, maybe we don’t have to be avalanche victims.