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Give in, Get rest

fightingsleep

This morning when I got up, I kept hearing Chris Tomlin’s song “Lay me down,” in my spirit.  I like the song, it’s upbeat and catchy.  But, I really started thinking about the lyrics and what it actually says.  Often I can hear something, but not really listen to what its saying.  I hear the sound, but don’t listen to the message of it or just don’t really think about it.  While I was thinking about it, I started visualizing a kid who fights a nap.  I’ve seen kids do everything possible to fight sleep and avoid rest.  Kids can do some really silly things to stay awake.  They wiggle, ask for food or drink, go to the bathroom a million times, cry, sneak and play after the parents leave the room.  But, after a long fight, usually sleep just overtakes them or they skip the nap and become unbearable the rest of the day.

If I don’t get enough rest, I know that I can be hard to live with.  I try to medicate myself with enormous doses of coffee, but that’s just a quick fix to the problem.  Anyway, after thinking those few thoughts, God spoke the verse “Be still and know that I am God.”  The thing is, if you are still and not fighting rest, you find it pretty quick.  Your eyes get heavy and the next thing you know, you’re in dreamland.  After thinking about that verse, I wrote down some key words that I felt went along with my whole visualization that I know God gave me, for at least my own personal life.  The four words I wrote down were lay, listen, rest and know.   I started digging in the word and wrote down some verses to look up later when I had more time to examine what God may be trying to show me.

First, for lay, I read about Jesus laying down his life for his sheep….for me and you.  (John 10:11)  Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice.  Next, I read 1 John 3:16 and it says that Jesus is our example of love because He laid down his life for us and that we should do the same for our brothers.  Sacrifice involves laying down things that are hard to lie down; otherwise it wouldn’t be a sacrifice.  The thing about sacrifice is that God isn’t going to force us to lay that sacrifice down, he wants us to be obedient and willing to do so (John 10:18) Jesus became willing to go to the cross.  So, back to the thought of a kid taking a nap, in order for the kid to receive rest, he has to first decide to lie down.

Second, listen.  Listen is an action word.  I cannot hear well, I wear hearing aids and often I have to really focus on the person speaking to hear them.  Other noises that are louder will distract me from actually hearing someone who is speaking soft.  When I was a kid myself and couldn’t go to sleep, my Dad would tell me to just close my eyes and think of good things.  I would most of the time listen to his advice and do that and fall asleep.  But if I listened to the worries of the day or the fears that lingered in the shadows, I’d toss and turn and have trouble falling asleep.   So, the first thought is that to find rest, I need to listen to my Father (Heavenly one).  John 10:27 says “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  Proverbs 1 says that those who are wise listen yet fools despise wisdom and discipline.  I don’t think I want to be a fool, but I know that I have been and sometimes I’m foolish and stubborn because I don’t listen.   1 Samuel 3:9, “So Eli told Samuel, Go and lie down, and if he calls you say, speak Lord, for your servant is listening.  So Samuel went and lay down in his place.”   In this verse, the word servant stands out to me and the word Lord.  The Lord is lord of my life, He reigns over me and I need to be willing to be submissive to hearing what He wants to tell me.

Third key word is rest.  My first key scripture took me to Job 3:17.  Job is upset and he’s tired, he wishes to never have lived and wants death because he sees that as the quickest answer to his problems.  He wants to find rest and he thinks that death is it.  I’ll admit that I’ve had those thoughts myself in the past.  What I can take from this verse or the whole passage is that when I look inward, I’ll only find wrong answers.  I’ll hear the wrong voices that want me to quickly destroy what God’s answer is instead.  But, Psalm 62:1 says my soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.   I don’t have the answers to my problems; I can’t save myself or others, my rest and salvation come from God alone.  How do I find that rest?  Matthew 11:28 says “come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  So, I have to go to Him to find rest.  I know when I was a kid and if just thinking good thoughts wasn’t enough for me to fall asleep and find rest, then the next thing I needed to do was seek my Dad and have him hold me.  It was easy to fall asleep in my Dad’s arms.  I was safe there.

Lastly, know; when I rest what do I know? I know that He’s God (Psalm 46:10). I have to know that God is above all, He is in control, not I.  John 14:17 reminds us that the world doesn’t recognize God because they don’t know Him.  As His child, I know Him and I know His voice.  I can trust Him, because I know Him and know that He loves me.  Romans 7:18 reminds me that apart from Him, nothing good lives in me.  I am sinful by nature.  Romans 8:28 reminds me that I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.  God is working in all situations, even when I can’t see it.  I have to rely on this love and because I see and know this love, I’m supposed to show the fruit of love to others (1 John 4:16).  Finally, 1 John 5:14 – 15 says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”

So, in conclusion, I lay me down, I’m not my own.  I belong to you alone…….

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Posted by on December 3, 2017 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Labor Day Weekend Musings

workLabor Day weekend is a great time to enjoy an extended weekend and take a breather from your job or profession. I have been looking forward to this weekend for several weeks now. What have I looked forward to the most?  Having one extra day where I do not have to set the alarm clock and wake up later than usual.

My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me. They led by example because they both are hard workers.  My mom stayed home with my sisters and me when we were younger.  But she didn’t slack at all.  She kept a very clean house and made sure that dinner was on the table for us in the evening and the yard was kept up. To me she was a bit OCD with some things.  She taught us to clean well.  She made me redo my chores a lot when I tried to shortcut them.  My dad worked hard too.  He worked in his father’s grocery store when I was a kid.  He also worked part time for a gas station in town and volunteered at the fire department.  He was my hero in many ways.  I bragged to my classmates about how hard he worked for his family.

When my sisters and I got a little older, mom got a job outside the house. She worked retail for a little while and also went back to college to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.  She made straight A’s in college and did her job proficiently.   She got her degree about a few years before I got my college degree and she went on to teach high school English.  She retired from it this year.

During my summer and winter breaks in college, I worked for my dad at the grocery store that he was manager of. He enjoyed his job and took it very seriously.  I appreciated working alongside him, but learned quickly that he’d let me know if something wasn’t done right and correct me on what to do or not do.  My parents weren’t rich by any means, but they provided for us and kept the bills paid, food on the table, and clothes on our backs.

My husband is diligent in his work as well. Throughout our marriage, he has worked hard to build his businesses.  I’m proud of all that he has accomplished in his work.  He is brilliant in his field, he is kind hearted and is ethical in all that he does.  Being a business owner isn’t an easy job.  People, who aren’t business owners, do not usually understand the pressure and stress that comes along with it.  I help my husband by managing the embroidery shop that he bought almost ten years ago.  Because of the way I was taught, I have many pet peeves that revolve around laziness, tardiness and poor work ethic.

Anyway, I say all of that to conclude that I am thankful for times of rest and replenishing. We were created to work, but also created to take time to rest.  God created the earth in six days and on the seventh day, he rested.  In Exodus 20:8-11, it says “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” 

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2016 in Life

 

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Be Still and Know

nightspider

Escaping out of the hot house, I listen to the noises of the night and watch a spider intricately spin it’s web.  The evening air cools my sticky skin, while the vast orchestra of crickets soothes my mind with a slow dance.  Lightning bugs lift like lanterns in a dusky atmosphere.  Birds wings flutter as they nestle in their nests, singing to themselves a quick lullaby.  The street light reflects on the silent cars that have finally parked after daily errands. 

The spider is on night shift, I sigh in relief, knowing that my day is done.  Stillness is necessary in rest.  I drown out stillness too much with entertainment.  Constant noise arrests my thoughts because it doesn’t want me to be still.  The spider sits for a moment waiting for something to get caught in his web.  Then he softly cascades downward with another line of thread to cover a larger area.  God captures my attention when outside interference is removed.  Stillness hushes the worries of the day with promise of a new day approaching.  God doesn’t have to yell as loud at me when everything is turned off and I am tuned in. 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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