Previous month:
July 2017
Next month:
September 2017

August 2017

Rest Moments - Part II

Hello and welcome to Rest Moments Part II.  This post will provide the action steps on how to incorporate those oh so important rest moments into your day. In Part I I shared the example of Jesus taking himself away from the people and distractions to enter a spiritual rest with the Father. Resting in the Lord provides restoration, creates equilibrium when you set yourself aside in stillness and with trust. There will always be a demand for your time and energy and you won't live well if you consistently ignore the deep need of your soul to connect with the Lord. 

Daily, God tenderly calls you into rest moments—sacred, precious moments of being in His presence. With every rest moment, you are investing in your soul health and your relationship with God  The benefit of resting in the Lord, is that your heart and soul will shine with joy, peace, kindness, gentleness and much more. 

Rest moments are…

…planned or spontaneous times when you seek out God to enjoy His so very near presence. Jeremiah 29:15 -- when you seek Him you will find Him.

… meant to refresh, restore, and fill you. Psalm 23 – He leads you beside quiet waters and restores your soul.

…a communion with God. Psalm 16 – The Lord counsels you, instructs you and is at your side.

Sky and still water“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his  shoulders.”  

--Deuteronomy 33:12

Deuteronomy 33:12 was a blessing given to the tribe of Benjamin. Read the above verse once more and let the words establish an image in your mind. Imagine how close God must be in proximity for His beloved to rest between His shoulders. This blessing wasn't only for the tribe of Benjamin. It's extended to you and me because the Lord continually proclaims His love for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus. You are the beloved of the Lord and you are the one the Lord loves and shields. He is your security, your shield, and you are never alone. Believing His blessing promise can profoundly affect how you live day by day, hour to hour, moment to moment. As the world takes and empties you to the point even your reserves are critically diminished, it is your Heavenly Father that fills your heart and soul with the spiritual nourishment you need to thrive.

“I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. 

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold;

I will never be shaken.”  --Psalm 62:1-2

Quality Not Quantity

Quality rest generally requires some sort of withdrawal. The idea of finding time or a place to withdraw may seem incredibly difficult. Some of you are living complex and complicated lives. Everybody wants or needs a piece of you. The idea that God, too, wants a piece of you and your time may be just too much. For those reasons, I emphasize small steps or, just one step. God’s rest is not meant to be another thing on your to-do list. His rest will enable you to do that to-do list! Quality not quantity is the key. If you commit the time wholly to Him, then He will meet you there. It might be difficult at first to set yourself apart, but stick with it! Over time, you might find yourself adding an additional minute upon minute. 

A quality three minutes in a rest moment is more beneficial than 10 minutes where you fight mental distractions and feel guilty for not doing what you think you should be doing. Important point: Rest moments are exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Rest moments comprise a segment of time in your life where you enter into God presence with your authentic self, in humbleness, with receptivity, availability, and an awareness of His nearness and your need for Him. 

Following are some ideas on how to identify opportunities for rest moments, what to do in rest moments, and assessing the impact of incorporating these moments into your day and week.

Water drops

Assess the Ebb and Flow of your Routines

Every household has an ebb and flow with peak times of activity as well as low levels of noise and movement. Take an assessment of the rhythms of your household, work week, and weekends or days off. Pinpoint the segments of time in your day or week where rest moments could fit in. Your assessment is meant to identify the rhythm of your life that will allow rest moments to occur in small increments of time throughout a 24-hour period. Even a few minutes can be as refreshing as a more lengthy period of rest with God. Following are a few questions to assist you with your assessment.

  • Is there a time of day or night that you see a natural opening for designated rest moments?
  • What time of day do you feel would be the best for you to create rest moments if there are no natural opportunities?
  • What changes in your routine or the routine of your household could create an opportunity for rest moments?
  • Is there unnecessary clutter in your life—activities, relationships, responsibilities that don’t fit with how you want to live well and thrive? Sometimes we fail to recognize a need for change because unconsciously we are afraid of the void that will be left if we disengage from or discontinue activities, relationships, or responsibilities. If something does not contribute to your living well or to thriving, then a reassessment should be considered.
  • Are you a slave to the schedule of your life? Are there any commitments that need to be re-negotiated as it concerns the time commitment? Are there commitments that need to be ended? The quality of your commitment is more important than the quantitative factor associated with that commitment. In other words, what are you bringing to the commitment? Is it a a joyful desire to serve or are you fulfilling an obligation with a sub-par attitude?

Once you've reviewed the possibilities of injecting rest moments into your day and/or week, you can determine the  

Still Water 1

Unusual Opportunities for Rest Moments

As I mentioned earlier, the when and how and for how long becomes less important when your heart and mind are open, receptive, and still during those moments. Following are some examples of unique opportunities to be at rest (in a sense) in His presence.

  • Washing your hands – as you stand at the sink let the water run over your hands and slow your mind, call out to God.
  • As you wait for a meeting to start – surrender your attitude, your feelings to God.
  • As you walk to a meeting (separate yourself a bit from the crowd) – express gratitude to the Lord.
  • As you walk to and from your car to work.
  • In an elevator.
  • One minute, eyes closed, heart and hands open anywhere.
  • In the shower or bath – breathe in God, focus on Him (not your to do list).
  • Walking the dog – as you walk converse with God and when your pet stops to sniff, use the moment to be still in heart and mind. Breathe in God.
  • Before getting out of bed to start your day – thank God for He’ll show the way through it.
  • Before you crawl into bed – stand at the bedside close your eyes and draw near to God.
  • Linger in your car just before you go to enter your work environment.
  • If you take a lunch, find a spot that allows for you to be in quiet or solitude even if only for 5 minutes.

Assess the Outcome of Rest Moments

If you’ve made a commitment to enter into rest moments, then you want to assess the outcome or the result of having made that commitment. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel an increased sense of calm or peace?
  • Do you feel your mind is less tense, less judgmental, or less critical?
  • Do you see yourself being kinder, more patience?
  • Do you feel the rest moments have contributed to you living well, living better than you did before you engaged in the rest moments?
  • Reflect on how you’ve handled situations now as compared to before you engaged in rest moments.
  • Reflect on what benefits you have gained as a result of communing with God, coming into His presence throughout your day.
  • What have been the obstacles to entering into rest moments? How can these be resolved?

I pray you will experience the blessing promise in Deuteronomy 33:12 and discover and experience a deepening of your relationship with God because of your intentional choice to rest and connect with Him on a daily basis. 

If you are interested in reading Part I, its found in the August Archive or in the Spiritual Rest category! Be encouraged! As always your comments and feedback are important to me so please share. Blessings, Terri

 


Rest Moments

It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m trying to get out of the house to run errands when my phone buzzes with a new message. I’m tempted to ignore it because I don’t recognize the number but my curiosity goads me and this is what I read, I’m on my way and will be stopping by your house -Jesus

Unbelievable, right? Never say never but it’s highly unlikely that Jesus is going to text me, or you. But you better believe he’s speaking to us—straight through to the center of our hearts and He's calling us into His rest.

What are we missing when we fail to stop and rest in the

presence of our precious Savior and Friend?

Back in Jesus’ day, he would drop in or stop by and we find in Luke 10:38-42 that he does just that when he came to the town where Martha lived. Imagine with me this scene that you know so well. Jesus knocks on Martha’s door. As he’s invited in, Jesus finds a place to sit or recline and within moments Mary positions herself at Jesus’ feet. Mary’s so close, gazing at his face while listening with rapt attention. What is it that’s captured Mary’s focus? Is Jesus teaching, laughing, sharing a story of healing, or reminiscing?

Imagine this scene from Martha’s point of view. She sees Mary has intentionally chosen to be at His feet, oblivious to the preparations needed for their guests. Martha’s frustrated, jealous or both and she tells Jesus that Mary is ignoring the greater priority. Do you wonder if there was an awkward silence after her remark? Did Jesus let the words hang in the air? Jesus responds to Martha assuring her that He sees what she is doing, He sees what Mary is doing, and Mary’s not to do what Martha’s doing. Jesus simplifies Martha’s priority list with gentle instruction that she should have chosen as Mary did—resting in the Lord’s presence. Mary recognized the greater priority. She ceased activity, moved as close to the Lord as she was able, and was at rest with Him.

What could be more restorative than resting in the Lord’s presence who Himself is at rest?

 

Lady-and-dog-1827593_640 (1)
Stop    Cease    Be Still    Rest

Today, our culture underestimates the essential benefits of being at rest which is defined as freedom from activity or labor and a peace of mind and spirit.1 Here’s a few reasons why rest should move to the top of your to-do-list.

Rest is restorative, refreshing, healing, and renewing.

Rest is essential for your central nervous system allowing it power-down to return to balance. Physical rest assists in the recovery of hormonal, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems.2

Spiritual rest is found in God’s presence.

If you’ve forgotten, God is the first author of rest. He created with power and wisdom all things in six days and then declared a rest. God set the universe in motion but He ceased all activity. Jesus also intentionally ceased activity and withdrew to be alone in order to come into his Father’s presence. Our Father and His Son have set forth the example of rest while we often choose to do anything but that. There will always be something that needs your attention but you get to set the priority it has in your life.

 

Messy life

Jesus practiced what he commanded and the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John provide the examples.3 Why did Jesus choose to cease activity to draw near to God? Put yourself in his shoes and imagine the stressors Jesus experienced from sun up to sun down, day after day. When did He sleep? When did He eat? The people always present were seeking, demanding, following, and pursuing. There’s no doubt that Jesus experienced hunger and thirst as well as emotional and physical strain. Jesus felt the sadness that accompanies loss, exasperation with the disciples, anger with religious leaders, and an indescribable burden of anticipating his death. Because of the stress and demands, Jesus desired and needed to come into his Father’s presence to receive, replenish, and refresh. If the Son of God felt it necessary to draw near to his Father, how much more do we need to set ourselves apart and enter the Lord’s rest?

Jesus invites you to experience a rest like no other for this specific reason: The Lord promises His presence is the answer when your life causes you to be weary and burdened.  He will lead you to the spiritual rest your soul desperately needs.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

                                     –Matthew 11:28-30, The Message Bible

Jesus is giving an invitation so what do you think? Intrigued? Skeptical? Is there anything preventing you from accepting it? Letting yourself enter the Lord’s rest means you’re willing to immerse yourself into a profound sense of comfort, security, grace, and love. The Lord’s rest brings you near to Him and there is assurance, healing, and recovery from the onslaught of the world’s demands. There is so much to be gained by accepting His invitation to rest. There was something indescribable about Jesus’ presence that brought Mary to sit at His feet and you can experience it as well.

  REST -- Restoration, Equilibrium, Stillness, and Trust

Resting 2

So, what small steps do you need to take to establish a practice of withdrawing from the world? You might consider starting with small adjustments in your daily or weekly schedule. What time of day or night is best to set yourself apart to enter rest and nearness to the Lord? There are any number of ways to capture a rest minute or more with God. This week take a survey of how you prioritize the To Do’s in your life. Once you’ve identified all the things and people that need your attention, then you’ll want to do a review of your life hours. Capture what you do on at least two or three days including a Saturday or Sunday. You might be surprised at what you discover. You can even do this as a family but I would first start with yourself. In the example below I have created a generalized life hour review for a usual Monday.

Example of a Monday:   Get ready for work- 1 hr; Feed/Walk/Medicate Shyla- 45 min; Drive to work- 20 min; Work- 8.5 hr; Drive home- 25 min; Take Shyla to Therapy- 40 min; Exercise- 35 min; Feed/Walk/Medicate Shyla- 1 hr; Fix/eat Dinner- 45 min; Chores- 40 min; Get ready for bed- 45 min = 14.40 hours

The life hour review is meant to bring your awareness to where you invest your energy and time. What are you doing each day and how much time does it take? What have become the priorities in your day or week? Consider how has this changed over the last year, the last six months. If you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel or a roller-coaster, then this review may be very helpful  in identifying the issue. In my next post, I’ll give you how-to tips and suggest ways to insert Rest Moments throughout your day!

Thanks for reading!  I've made some changes to make it easier for you to email me at heartsencouragedministry.com directly from the post. Also, when you open your email and click the heartsencouraged.com link it will send you directly to the blog and you can see everything else that it has to offer. Your feedback and comments are precious to me as I want be your strongest encourager. I'm very interested in knowing any specific areas where you need encouragement. Fondly, Terri

References

1 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rest

2 Fernandez-Mendoza, J. & Vogntzas, A. N. (2013). Insomnia and it’s impact on physical and mental health. Current Psychiatry Rep, 15 (12) 1-14. Doi:10.1007/s11920-013-0418-8.

3 Matthew 11:28-30