Rest in Peace…This Summer?

RIP

Perhaps one of the most common acronyms in the English language, ‘R.I.P.’ evokes memories of loved ones lost, eulogies for famous musicians on Facebook, and even corny yard decorations at Halloween. This condolence and outward expression of our inner sorrow and grief wishes a peaceful eternity to those whom we have loved and lost. The original Latin phrase, “requiescat in pace,” means “may he or she rest in peace.”

So, is it a given that you have to die to truly rest in peace?

In my crazy, loud, messy, chaotic household, I have asked myself this question…especially on this first week of summer break! Peace and quiet are a commodity around here. And then there’s the real anxiety and worry. What would I do if I ever lost my husband? Could I handle the death of a child? Am I a good enough wife and mother? Do people like me? Everyday stresses of work and finances alone cause unrest in most households, ours included.

In a recent sermon at Christ Community Church, Pastor Tom Nelson expressed that our cultural landscape is well described as ‘restless.’ No amount of massages, date nights sans kids or vacations will ever bring us true rest and peace. Anxiety and restlessness creep into our moments of quiet and erupt in the middle of our chaos.

Tom noted that even the Huff Post has addressed the subject. In an article titled, “5 Signs You’re Restless With Your Life (and What to Do About It),” Kevin Klatches writes that if you are feeling restless, you should “consider it a warning sign from your soul to take action.” He suggests, “Don’t settle for restlessness…The universe is calling on you to take action. Listen to it.”

He’s so right. The universe is calling on us to take action. The Creator of the Universe gently calls to us…

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke…and you will find rest for your souls.” -Matthew 11: 28-29

Are you living with a restless heart? Is there an unsettling discontent or anxiety that marks your life? Do you feel emotionally and spiritually weary?

In his book, The Life We Long to Live: the yoke, Tom Nelson warns us that “…our thirsty souls are chasing mirages…” We hang out in the desert while the One who offers streams of healing waters bids us to come.

Isaiah 58:11 promises, “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

My only hope for a rested soul is when I seek the transforming presence of God regularly…when I open my heart and let Him meet me where I am – often tired, weary and anxious.

This summer, whether we find ourselves in a sun-scorched land or a pool of anxiety, may we hear the Creator of the Universe beckoning, “Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10.

Because we don’t have to die to rest in peace.

++++++++++++++++++++

*This song, Come To Me, by Bethel Music is worth a listen at least once, maybe a hundred times…

“…I am the Lord your peace…
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest…
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything…”

Advertisements

Jesus Farted Too

Cross

If I had to choose my least favorite word, it might be fart. I don’t like to hear it, say it, read it, or smell it. In my mind, it’s the worse ‘f word.’  So, to say the least, I’m being a bit vulnerable by writing it here. I should probably get more comfortable with the word anyways, seeing as we have 3 boys who think anything to do with ‘the topic’ is funny.

As I was arranging bookshelves in our son’s room in our new house in Kansas City this week, I propped a devotional and children’s Bible right up against a grotesque book about different kinds of flatulence. My first instinct was: ‘You can’t do that!’ Shortly followed by the thought: ‘Why not? Jesus farted too.’ Fart BookAfter all, He was fully human, all the way down to his bodily functions. He probably even thought ‘passing gas’ was funny when he was a little boy…While gross, I’m pretty sure that kind of humor is not a sin.

This thought process of intersecting Jesus with the real, sometimes disgusting, nitty-gritty details of our lives made me think about how we incorporate our faith into our everyday lives. Especially as our family begins with a blank slate in a new place, I am thinking about what it looks like to foster our faith in the center of our home and our lives.  Personal daily reminders of God’s promises and His amazing grace help keep me centered. I need God throughout my days.

  • I need to be reminded, regularly, in the midst of my anxiety and burdens that Jesus offers rest for my soul.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
  • When I am restless, stubborn, and lacking in faith, I need to be reminded of God’s patience and ability to sustain me.
“…there will be times when God’s glory is right outside our door, yet we’ll choose to stay inside the tent. There will be days when we hear the clear promises of God and laugh in disbelief…Still, our heavenly Father will respond. He will wait with us and sustain us. He will turn our restlessness into rest in Him.” –Sarah Matheny #shereadstruth
  • Even with my very own children, I need to be reminded of what our call to love looks like. Love is patient. Love is kind. Every single morning, I have to ask God to give me the fruits of the spirit… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control don’t come easy in a house full of rowdy kids. And these are the characteristics I most want to model to my children.
  • When God is near, I am reminded of my desire to share the love and peace and grace of God with the people in my life.
“They were not to be a people unto themselves enjoying their special relationship with God and paying no attention to the rest of the world. Rather they were to represent him to the rest of the world and attempt to bring the rest of the world to him.” –Douglas Stewart
  • When God is at the center of my life, I am reminded that each and every day, He makes me new. Fresh. Clean. A blank slate. In worship yesterday at Christ Community Church, we were reminded to number our days.  Basically, embrace the precious time that God has given each of us.  Each day is a new day to invest in our relationship with God, as well as the people around us.

I have no doubt that in all of His humanity, Jesus put real effort into fostering a relationship with His Heavenly Father. A Father He couldn’t see with His eyes either. All relationships involve effort.

So, here’s to blank slates, to being made new each day, and to allowing Jesus into the nitty-gritty. We have a patient, loving and tender God who is overjoyed when we hold Him in the center of our days.

Lately, I’ve been hearing God’s voice in this beautiful song by Matchbox 20, “Overjoyed.” I am reminded of the relational nature of our Great God who wants to meet us daily. Will you hold Him too?

“Maybe if you hold me baby
Let me come over
I will tell you secrets nobody knows
I cannot overstate it
I will be overjoyed”

Leaning In

uncertainty-ahead
Living with Uncertainty…And Seeking God’s Plan, Part 2 of 2

In Don’t Take the Boat to Tarshish, I considered how and why Jonah fled from God…and how we can personally relate.  Jonah was directed by God to go to a new place, and that kind of calling can be daunting to me.  Jonah set a pretty good example of ‘what not to do’ in seeking God’s plan during times of uncertainty.  In an interesting twist of mercy, after hearing Jonah’s prayers and cries of distress, God made the whale ‘vomit’ Jonah onto dry land.  You know you’ve had a bad day when the best thing that happens to you is that a fish vomited you up.

Uncertainty can hang like a clouded haze over the future.  Anxiety and fears can overwhelm me.  But allowing anxiety about the future to take root in our hearts robs us of the joy in the now.  I write these words, not to tell you that I have conquered anxiety and doubt, but as a reminder to myself.  Fear is not from God.  Instead, God promises to be with us and grant us peace.  He asks us to put our hope in Him – to lean in just a bit more.  And in the midst of hope, He can provide strength to our feeble hearts. “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” –Psalm 31:24

As I continue to wonder about God’s plan for our family, I am thankful for our good health and the love of amazingly supportive family and friends.  These blessings, I will never take for granted.  But the uncertainty and possibility of moving away from our lives here in Santa Fe does bring me sadness.  I am tempted to be a Jonah and seek my own desires above God’s leading.  But then, I am reminded of another well-known figure in the Bible.  Joshua provided a better example for us to follow.  God told Joshua, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“God originally spoke these words to Joshua (Moses’ successor as leader of the Israelites) while presenting him with a new opportunity.  Joshua’s assignment was to lead more than two million people into a strange new land, claiming it as their promised territory…What if Joshua had allowed the unknown to keep him from saying yes to God?  What if he gave insecurity and doubt permission to keep him firmly within his comfort zone?  Joshua would have missed out on the blessings.  He would have missed his calling in life.  He would have missed the adventure with God.” – Leah DiPascal

Gosh, Joshua was called to lead more than two million people to an unknown land. If we leave Santa Fe, we’ll only be leading 4 young (and extremely flexible) young children to a new place within our own country. Just like Joshua, we can’t allow fear of the unknown to keep us from saying yes to God.  God’s command to Joshua to be strong and courageous doesn’t end there either. God’s commands are not empty.  God goes on to assure Joshua that the LORD our God is with us wherever we go. And from Psalm 31:24 quoted above, we are reminded this same God provides strength in our hearts as we face uncertainty and are placed in new circumstances.  Another promise I am grateful for.

Where in your life do you need to rely on God more?  Would your heart feel stronger if you put your hope in God and leaned in a bit more?  Mine would.  More than 100 times in the scriptures, God commands us to not be afraid.  I think He’s made His point.  But will we take Him up on the offer?  I need to take a bit of my own advice from Taking Up Too Much Space and remember that there is much to be learned when we step out of our comfort zone like Joshua did.  Perhaps, God is calling our family to learn that lesson again.  If not, He’s got my attention…and I’m leaning in.