The hustle and the bustle is over for the most part. I still have a couple more Christmas celebrations to attend. Some people already have their Christmas decorations down and tucked away for the next year. I usually leave mine up until New Year’s Day. But one thing I love about this week between Christmas and New Year is that as I’m taking my inventory to see the direction God wants me to head in my spiritual life over the coming year, is that it usually brings me a little slower pace. My full time job is for a school district, therefore I am blessed to have a little down time over the holidays which cause me to have time to rest and to think on rest.
This has actually been a bit of a theme for me recently. I keep choosing books on rest or living from a quiet place within me, or ceasing to strive. One such book I read this year was by Christy Nockels, “The Life You Long For”. It is about “Learning to Live from a Heart of Rest”. I picked up this book because I was a fan of Christy’s music and then her podcast. I’ve actually been a fan of hers long before I knew I was a fan of hers. I noticed her several years ago when I would take students to the Passion conferences in Atlanta every year. I always loved hearing her soothing voice when she sang. Then I found out that she and her husband were Watermark, a duo from the 90s in Christian music that I loved. And then I found that she wrote one of my very favorite Point of Grace songs that has become my theme song, Who Am I (not the one by Casting Crowns). But anyway in this book, Christy invited me to learn how to live as the Beloved of Christ which is who we are when we are found in Him. We live in a hurry up and hustle kind of world but when we live as His Beloved instead of always striving for the next hurried thing then we are found to be in the community of the Beloved and we live out our calling. Our highest calling is to enjoy God and to be loved by Him. It’s not in what we do for Him. It’s simply knowing Him. I do think that God gives us services to do, such as leading bible study, cleaning the church, taking food to sick or grieving people, but our calling is to love Him and be loved by Him, and when we serve out of the capacity that His love gives us then it’s not burdensome.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Jesus offers us rest from the labor and the heavy things of life. I want to practice resting in Him. When I do that I find that whatever service that He calls me to are richer to the one who receives it from me as well as to me. He blesses my rest in Him.
Another book I was drawn to in this season of my life is “When Strivings Cease” by Ruth Chou Simons. Ruth is an artist and a writer and most of her books feature some of her art work as well as her writing. I am in the middle of this book but it seems to be about the same theme of learning to live from Him rather than from my own thoughts of striving for the next bigger better thing.
I want to challenge you that as you sit and reflect this week on the past year and you look to the next year and set a few goals you want to accomplish (I refuse to call them resolutions) take some time to rest in Him. This can look lots of different ways, but I suggest you start with scripture. I like devotionals, I have many and I may at any given time be reading two or three different ones, but they are never meant to replace scripture. If you don’t know where to start I would suggest the gospels, or the Psalms or Proverbs. Then just sit and listen to what He wants to say to you. I also suggest journaling thoughts. This doesn’t have to be fancy, I use composition books. I have had beautiful fancy journals but it seems my favorite thing I return to is usually just a composition book or a spiral bound notebook. But most of all, spend time with your Father. I promise you when you do that, when you take the time to ask Him for direction, when you lay all the things that tangle your mind up down at His feet, that is when you are leaning in to His heart and your heart will be more at rest.