Looking out the window into utter tranquility.
Resting is important to all of us, especially in our go, go, go society where it sometimes feels like you only are recognized or feel validated if you can say you are SO busy. I remember a time when I was truly busy, but I was also adding things onto my “to-do list” every day that weren’t really essential or even necessary. Was it really necessary that I reorganize my files for the new year with new colored tabs every single year? Was it really necessary to change my bed sheets every seven days like clockwork, especially when I was the only one sleeping on them and I only used about a 3×5 foot space? (This was when I was single, I should point out.) There are many things we do that are important, but there are many things we do that have been handed down to us from either experts or our parents or both. (My mother was the wash your sheets every seven days queen and had a whole other host of household rules that, quite frankly, were unnecessary and exhausting.)
For a while in the 1990’s and early 2000’s I was really caught up in the Stephen Covey organization/calendar/setting goals system. I faithfully wrote every single thing down in my pretty little organizer that I felt I had to do each day. I made goals, I made appointments with myself, I put all of my sons’ activities on my calendar, all of my singles’ group church activities on my calendar, and even times when I would be at my parents’ home, helping them out with some housecleaning and just visiting them. (They were elderly and lived across the street from me at the time.) Once I had every single little thing that I did in my life written down on that calendar and wrote down my “to-do list” every day, I looked at it all and immediately felt completely overwhelmed! I thought to myself that there was no possible way I could do everything that I had put on that calendar or reach the goals I had set for myself. You know what’s funny about all of that? I had been doing all of those things for quite a while and handling them just fine until I saw how much I was doing! Hahaha!
My point is that life is life. There are times when we are busier and have more responsibilities and there isn’t a lot we can do about it at the time. There are other times when we’re not as busy, but don’t wish to look unproductive so we add things to our lives and our calendars to feel more productive, more involved, and more important, quite frankly. Why do we do that? Do we really have to be busy 24/7 to matter, to make a difference, or to earn other people’s admiration or to earn our salvation from God? NO! As a matter of fact, it says in Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” http://bible.com/114/eph.2.8-10.nkjv
Yes, we have responsibilities and things to do, but there are things which God has prepared beforehand for us to do and there are times when we need to rest. We have to rest in order to be able to continue to do the things God has prepared for us to do. He doesn’t want us to be busy just to be busy. He wants our work to be purposeful, in obedience to Him, and for us to rest in between times. How often have you said to yourself over the years, “I’m going to either get up early or stay up late to study God’s word and pray?” Yet most of us never do either of those things on a regular basis. I’m not preaching here, because I’m just as bad as anyone when it comes to this particular topic. As I said above, there was a time when I was busy, it seemed, 24/7. If I had even a moment of slowing down or resting, I felt guilty. Guilty for crying out loud! Even God rested on the seventh day after creating the universe. Jesus regularly went apart from the crowds to meditate and pray. Do you think perhaps we take ourselves a little too seriously and need to give ourselves a rest and respite from time to time? I do. I think most people in the developed world have become so busy and attached to their electronic gizmos that we rarely just stop, sip a beverage, sit down and just be. How will we ever get to spend any time with God if we’re contstantly on the go? Didn’t God Himself say, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV).
We have to have a balance of work time and rest time. If we never take the time to rest, do you know what happens? We wear our bodies out and suddenly we are forced to rest. How do I know this? Because that is exactly what happened to me. I managed to always complete everything on my list back in the day and then one day I was unable to get out of bed. I felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on me. I had no energy, every place, space, and part of my body hurt and I felt so ridiculous. I had things to do, places to go, people to see! God said, “Nope! We’re going to spend some time together, you and I. You’re going to be still for a while.” It turns out that I have fibromyalgia. Now, for the most part, it is controlled by medication, but I still have to be careful and organize outings and workloads carefully with periods of time to rest. If I don’t, well, let’s just say it’s not pretty!
So, all of this is to say, this morning it is cool and overcast here in Colorado Springs. I opened my windows, have my cat sitting on the window sill, have a cup of coffee in a jaunty orange mug by my side and am enjoying the sounds of all the birds. God is good, isn’t he? He gave me the perfect time to rest and enjoy the morning.
Peace and love, Elaine
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