I almost didn't write at all today. I wanted to write and in a way knew I needed to write. I just didn't want to. I came home, worked in my backyard, talked to my mom on the phone, had dinner with my roommates and then was about to pull out the computer, but went to lay in my bed instead. And that is where I am right now. Typing this out on my phone, desperately trying to keep my eyes open.
Desperate. That's a word that has been showing up all around me lately. It means to "have an urgent need or desire." But, there is another definition that stood out to me. It said desperate was something "reckless or dangerous because of despair, hopelessness, or urgency."
I am desperate for some hope.
I am desperate for some truth.
I am desperate for God's love.
I am desperate for some rest.
For the days where I don't want to talk to anyone. I'm desperate to talk to God.
For the days where I just want to lay in bed. I'm desperate for the Lord's strength.
For the days where I don't have answers when someone asks if I'm alright. Im desperate for the Word of God.
For the days where my head overthinks and my mind becomes my worst enemy. I'm desperate for God's rest.
I'm desperate to be pulled out of the pit, but I'm also desperate to not forget Who pulled me out the pit.
To remember that He hears my prayers.
That He gives me more strength than I imagine.
That His word never fails.
I'm desperate to remember that He gives me rest and in Him I am renewed and refreshed.
Lord, I'm desperate for You...
I know that rest is waiting for me and I know that the Lord will give me rest. Besides the fact that my body just needs rest sometimes and I need to break away from my routine sometimes, God commands us to rest. After He created, well everything, He rested on the seventh day and admired all that He created. He set apart this day and made it holy. Then, He commanded us to remember and observe this day.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
In the Old Testament, while the Israelites were journeying to Canaan, they came to a point in their travels where food was scarce and they started complaining to Moses. The Lord heard their grumbling and said that in the evening they would eat quail and in the morning they would be filled with bread. The people were only to collect enough for that day and no more. Each day the Lord was going to provide just what they needed. If they collected too much or kept some for the next day, it would ruin. On the sixth day, they were to gather twice as much, because on the seventh day, the Sabbath, they were to rest. They couldn't even cook! Not a finger was to be lifted, only rest was to be observed. The footnote in my Bible says:
"The Israelites were not to work on the Sabbath -- not even to cook food. Why? God knew that the busy routine of daily living could distract people from worshiping Him. It is so easy to let work, family responsibilities, and recreation crowd our schedules so tightly that we don't take time to worship. Carefully guard your time with God."
This is so true! If I am not intentional in taking time to rest, if I allow my schedule to get so busy or fill all my hours with meaningless tasks, my heart and mind get so far away from thoughts of rest. I love routines, but I have to remember to take a break from them sometimes. Whether it be on a Sunday or a Friday, I need rest. I need rest to slow down. I need rest to catch up. I need rest to worship. The Lord God worked hard creating the world in six days and He took joy in what He created on the seventh. He allows me to work hard six days, so that I can praise Him for that (and all His many other blessings) on the seventh. The Sabbath may look different for all of us, it may even be on different days, regardless of when it falls we are to observe it. We are to rest, so that we can worship the God who provides for us daily.
“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you
and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
you will find rest for your souls."
God is not only the place that I will find ultimate rest, because He is rest, but He also rested Himself. So did Christ. If God and His son, who are holy and controlling of everything, even time, needed rest, I think that it is important for me to follow their lead on this as well.
After God was finished speaking the world into existence, He saw that the things He created were good. Then, He rested. I tend to rest because I am hungry, angry, lonely, or tired and I just need a break from things. I know that during these moments, I'm so weak and I just need to take a time-out from things and come back to them a little while later. God, however, rested not because He was weary, but because He was pleased. In six days, He created the earth and all that moves on it and He saw that it was good. It was all that He imagined it to be and He was pleased at how His creation turned out. So, He rested, in a celebratory way. He rested so that He could watch all that He made, to enjoy and celebrate what He had just done. Then, He sat aside this resting day and made it holy, commanding us to observe it. That day, where He rested to celebrate His creation, is now the day that we observe and praise Him for all that He made.
God rested to enjoy His creation, we rest to enjoy the Creator.
Christ, being both man and God, also rested in a couple of different ways. And since Jesus was also man, I'm thinking He may have gotten tired, not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually. There are stories in the Bible of Jesus sleeping (and being woken up and slightly annoyed, which is totally me in the mornings) and drawing away into quiet places. He would rest in people's homes after traveling, He would stop to eat a meal, and He would draw away from the disciples to be alone with His Father and pray. For me, those are three great examples of how to rest. Especially the last one.
When I find myself getting angry or frustrated with people, or tired of being lonely, my first reaction is to shut down and not in the restful way! Instead of taking a moment to withdraw to a quiet place and pray, I voice my frustrations out loud to a friend or I ignore the situation in my stubbornness. Jesus didn't seclude Himself. Even when He was sleeping, the disciples were nearby, and although they couldn't always stay awake like He wanted them to, they were near.
Jesus would enter houses for rest, while His friends would welcome in rest.
Jesus tells us in His word that we are to come to Him when we are weary and burdened. His yoke is easy and burden is light. He is ready to help me carry whatever I have been attempting to drag alone. Jesus invites me to come into His presence and seek the rest that flows from Him. I welcome Him in, as I enjoy and praise God for the ultimate rest He gives.
Yesterday, I looked at a few different meanings of the word rest and how I was applying them to my life. Ultimately, peace of mind and spirit is the rest that I seek. Support is the rest I desire God to be. While I was reading the dictionary yesterday (I seriously did this a lot when I was younger), there was one definition that jumped out at me. To be at rest meant to be free from anxieties.
I'm not exactly sure when anxiety started to creep into my life, but I think it started slowly and then came all at once. There was a span of eight months in college where I went through some pretty scary and terrifying things. Literally, within eight months I had experienced two life-changing, hopefully once-in-a-lifetime, events that I hope to never experience again.
The fall of 2010 I was in a bad car accident with a college friend. Thankfully we walked away with just bruises and I had a small burn on my elbow. But, the other driver did not walk away...and our lives changed that rainy Sunday morning on a country highway. I walked away with memories that I will never forget and a slight fear of cars pulling into the road while I'm driving. I also walked away with a new sense of forgiveness that day. As we met the family of that dear man on that country highway and they hugged my friend and I as they assured us that nothing was our fault and they didn't want us to think otherwise. I didn't tell my parents the extent of the accident until a few days later after I had apparently been having some bad dreams in the middle of the night and my roommate encouraged me to finally talk. Painkillers, muscle relaxers, and the power of prayer filled the next weeks as I slowly watched bruises fade. Yet, I still don't like sitting in the passenger seat of cars very much.
The spring of 2011 I witnessed a town I had grown to love get destroyed by a F-4 tornado. I will always remember that beautiful, blue-skied day turning into blackness as we lost power and all communication with our friends and families. I remember how my friends and I hunkered down on the bottom floor of my dorm building, hearing the wind roar and rush outside. And how almost an hour later we found a friend who simply said, "it's all gone." Besides cell service, internet, and power being gone for a few days, I didn't lose anything that day. The semester was cancelled, but I stayed in Tuscaloosa to help with clean-up and deliver food. Besides not taking finals that semester, I was able to pack up all my stuff and move home for the summer like normal. Yet, that city doesn't look the same. Not just because things are rebuilt in different places, or even the fact that it's just bigger now, it all changed that day in April. I didn't lose anything, yet, the memories flood back when I hear a tornado siren and it could be perfect summer day, but I will still look for my place of shelter when I walk into a new building or move into a new house.
I drive everyday and I've been through plenty of thunderstorms and severe weather since those eight months a few years ago. But, anxiety still comes. I hate driving at night and in the rain, combine the two and I will change plans to stay home or wherever I may be. I pace the floor and watch radar maps intently when meteorologists say that things may get bad during the day. I get overwhelmed at the thought of the future and all the things I must do as an adult, but I also can't stop thinking about it and what I must be doing right now. I think about all the ways that I'm "behind" as a twenty-seven year old, but then remind myself that all paths are different.
The same God may be directing us down our paths, but each one looks different. What a marvelous, mighty, and loving God to know us each so well, that He guides us differently as it is perfect for us. He knows the anxieties that I face, He knows the root problem of them all, and He knows all the moments that they will suddenly appear.
My God also knows what it takes to overcome these anxieties. He knows the fears, the worries, and all the questions that come with them. And He shows me that He has the protection, the provision, the rest that I need. To be with Him, walking with Him, reading His Word, resting in Him is where I am free from anxiety.
Next to knowing random pieces of trivia, I love knowing the definitions and meanings of words. Certain words can have different meanings or uses and when I know their different meanings, I better understand the word, but also how to use it. The word rest has some different meanings in the dictionary and then in the Bible, but there are some that are the same as well. From the dictionary, rest is...
repose, sleep; specifically: a bodily state characterized by minimal function and metabolic activities | When it comes to this type of rest, I'm pretty good at it! The older I have gotten, the more that sleep means to me. I seriously wish we could take naps as adults and you bet I do on the weekends. There are some days where I come home from work and I absolutely need a nap, but I try to hold out for bedtime. When 10:30 pm nears, my body knows it and slowly starts shutting down on its own. Rest in this sense, I got it down and love it.
a place for resting or lodging | The first three things I thought about when I saw this meaning were: rest areas, hotel rooms, and my comfy bed. I love a good road-trip, but sometimes I just need a driving break and the rest areas seem to come at just the right time. Rest areas near state borders are the coolest, because they may also be welcome centers where I can learn more about the area (see my love of trivia in the first sentence of this post) and tend to have the best bathrooms. If a road-trip happens to have a hotel stay involved, I really like it. A good hotel makes for a good trip, so I try to choose one with the best pillows (even though I bring my own on every trip) and near good places to eat. Lastly, I also think about my own comfy bed, because although I love road-trips, there is nothing like coming back to my own bed where I can starfish sleep, with all my own pillows, and sleep until my heart and body are content.
peace of mind or spirit | This is the rest that I'm searching for, like I mentioned in the intro to this series. My mind is constantly on the go and that's not necessairily bad, but when I start to focus solely on one situation, without first praying to the Lord about it, my thoughts begin to snowball out of control. Soon I'm completely exhausted, not relaxed, and worrying about the future, instead of thinking about the day and the moment that the Lord has placed before me. Then, I let fear creep in and lies start to come about something, someone, or even myself, that if I'm not careful, I will start to believe.
something used for support | When thinking about rest as something used for support, I think about a walking stick that I might use while hiking. I used a stick sometimes when I hiked in Tahoe. I have bad ankles, little coordination, and I'm not very graceful, so I needed all the help I could getting up some of those terrains. It gave me the support I needed while climbing around rocks or as I walked down a steep slope. When I got tired, I could take a break and lean on the stick while I paused and caught my breath. This is the rest that I desire God to be for me. I want Him to be my support up the mountains, but also as I walk down into the valleys. When I get tired and don't think I'll make it anymore that day, I want Him to be what I lean on as I pause and take a breath. His Word tells me that He is my rest and He is where I will find rest for my soul. The hope and confidence I need to keep going is found in Him. He is the first and the ultimate place I need to turn to for support, for rest.
For the month of October, I'm writing about finding rest.
Click here to read the first post and find links to all other posts in the series.
"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1, NLT
Danger can come in different forms, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. There are dangers of war, sickness, hate, our fears. Some of us experience one or two of these, while others experience them all. The battles I face daily may seem small in light of others, but spiritually, they are just as big. Whatever danger or battle stands before us, the thoughts of the enemy are just the same and he only has one intention: to pull us away from the shelter that protects us. The farther the enemy can pull us away from the shadow of the Almighty, the more he wins, and our small battles slowly snowball into messy wars.
God never promised us that we would be free from danger or trouble and Jesus said that we would have troubles. Many in fact. But what God does promise is His protection and help in the middle of those dangers, troubles, and fears. I love Psalm 91, because it challenges me to trade in my fears for faith. When I dwell in the shelter of the Most High, when I daily abide with Christ, that is where I find protection and that is where I find rest.
The shelters and shades I used for cover in the past are twigs easily snapped in high winds. God's shelter is a fortress and a shield. Daily - morning and evening - I need to seek this shelter. It's where I find strength and where I can peacefully rest.
Psalm 91, HCSB
"The one who lives under the protection of the Most High
dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net,
from the destructive plague.
He will cover you with His feathers;
you will take refuge under His wings.
His faithfulness will be a protective shield.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
the arrow that flies by day,
the plague that stalks in darkness,
or the pestilence that ravages at noon.
Though a thousand fall at your side
and ten thousand at your right hand,
the pestilence will not reach you.
You will only see it with your eyes
and witness the punishment of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord—my refuge,
the Most High—your dwelling place,
no harm will come to you;
no plague will come near your tent.
For He will give His angels orders concerning you,
to protect you in all your ways.
They will support you with their hands
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the young lion and the serpent.
Because he is lovingly devoted to Me,
I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows My name.
When he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.
I will satisfy him with a long life
and show him My salvation.
Let Psalm 91 challenge you to trade your fears for faith. Make your dwelling place in the shadow of the Almighty and find strength and rest.
Day 1 | Finding Rest (scroll down to read)
Day 2 | Trading Fears For Faith
Day 3 | A Place For Resting and Support
Day 4 | Free From Anxiety
Day 5 | Welcome In Rest
Day 6 | Four Tips For Finding Rest
Day 7 | Friday Is My Favorite
Day 8 | Where Rest Is Waiting
Day 9 | You Will Find Rest
Day 10 | Rest To Worship
Day 11 | Slowly and Peacefully
Day 12 | Whispers Of My Name
Day 13 | It Has To Be
Day 14 | Stopped & DaySpring Gift Card Giveaway! Enter in by Oct. 28th!
Day 15 | Looking
Day 16 | Something Continual
Rest is something that I think I've been seeking for awhile. I don't think of my life as super busy or rushing to get from one place to another and I don't even think about plans for the next weekend until it's actually arrived. I'm fairly good about giving my body the rest that it needs, because well, introvert. It's how I get my energy. The rest I'm seeking is rest for my mind and my soul. Although I'm not constantly on the go, I'm constantly thinking. Thinking about the future, wondering what steps I need to take, thinking about other options if the first one doesn't work out.
All of my thinking eventually leads to worrying. And that is what I need rest from. Rest from worrying, rest from stressing, rest from the what-if, rest from the fears. The rest I seek will only be found in the One who gives true rest, the Lord.
It's my prayer, that over these next 31 days, as I seek to find rest, that I may first come and abide with the Lord. I want to rest in His promises and know that they are true. I want to see that all I want and desire has already been gifted to me through Him. My mind and my soul have been seeking true rest and security. The things I have been asking for, praying for, searching for, and dreaming of can be found in Him.
He is my companionship.
He is my comfort.
He is my security.
The Lord alone is where I find all the rest I crave and desire.
So, Lord, let the rest come and fall on me...
For the next 31 days, I'm going to be writing on finding rest.
Is this something you need as well? I would love for you to follow along and journey with me as I seek to rest in Him alone.
Several weeks ago, I pre-ordered and anxiously awaited for a book to arrive in my mailbox. I love mail and I love books, so this is nothing new. But, the book I was waiting on was one that I knew I needed to read. The day I got it in the mail, I skimmed through all the pages and gazed at the pretty front cover. Suddenly, I knew this was going to be a hard book and reading it was going to come slowly. When I pre-orderd Uninvited, the first five chapters were sent to my e-mail and I immediately read chapters one through four. Then, I stopped. See, I have a hard time with follow through and finishing things. Especially when things tend to get hard. Y'all, this book is hard, and so, chapter five of Uninvited is still not read.
Lysa TerKeurst not only writes timely books, but she is also the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Proverbs 31 does online bible studies, because "life can be crazy, but your Bible study doesn't have to be." I saw that their current study was going to be on Uninvited and I knew it was the push I needed to actually read this book. This is my first time doing an online bible study with Proverbs 31, but joining in and listening to what others are learning through this book has been so refreshing. We have only begun week 2, but already have I been challenged to dig deeper into the Word and be honest with myself and God about my feelings of loneliness and feeling left out. The challenge of 2 Corinthians 10:5 to "destroy arguments...take every thought captive to obey Christ" led me to think about lies and untruths that the enemy throws at me and replace them with truths and promises that God speaks over me. I've always thought that I'm better at giving advice than receiving it, but how can I properly encourage others to feel valued and believe they are seen and heard by God, if I first do not believe those things? So, here are some truths that I am telling myself when the enemy throws lies at me. Let us take captive every thought and imagination that is not from God and replace it with His words of truth.
6 Truths To Remember
When you feel unworthy, know that you are valuable to Christ.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31
When you feel alone, know that you are united with Christ.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one,Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:20-23
When you feel invisible, know that you are seen by God.
"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
When you feel ignored, know that you are heard by God.
"Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have give me the heritage of those who fear your name."
When you feel uninvited, know that you are wanted by God.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9
When you feel defeated, know that you are victorious in Christ.
"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:54-58
Remember how I said that I never read chapter five of Uninvited? Well, guess what one of the two chapters we are reading this week in bible study is? Here's to getting better at follow through...and believing the advice I actually give to others.
If you have seen Uninvited floating around and it is on your "to-read" list, I recommend getting it now. It's most definitely a book for those who feel less than, left out, and lonely. But, the moment you crack open the spine of this book, you will know that you are most definitely not alone in that walk. This isn't something to wait on for later, it's for right now.
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I was not asked to write this post, nor do I get anything for writing it. I just believe in this book. Plus, when you buy a book, you are helping to change the lives of women in India. So, go. Buy one, two, or more and start healing all the old rejections and start getting rid of lies and replacing them with truths.