Rest

If I had to choose one word as a theme this week, it would be rest. First of all, I could really use a little, but couldn’t we all? Beyond that, I kept bumping into the word everywhere I turned. Early in the week, I listened to a podcast from Bonnie Gray, and she was talking about taking time to rest and reset. Then, I received a card in the mail with the same scripture:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

This morning my Bible reading was from Joshua 11 and the last verse jumped out at me:

So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.

(Joshua 11:23)

The last line resonated with me: “And the land rested from war.”

I don’t know about you, but I think we all could use a little rest from war. 2020 has turned out to be a marathon for battling on multiple fronts. Every time we turn around some new “threat” has materialized out of the mist, another giant to slay. Yet, Jesus called everyone who was “heavy laden” to come to him, and He would give them rest. How does that work?

First, you have to actually come to Jesus. In other words, you have to stop and spend time with the Lord. I think the phrase quiet time is even more important these days. We need to take time to be still and quiet; we need to block out the world and allow the peace that passes understanding to settle on us (Philippians 4:7).

Another thing we can do is to actually do less. Sometimes we overbook our schedules by trying to do everything. In the podcast I mentioned earlier, Bonnie Gray discussed letting go of being busy. In a society that values productivity, we can be tricked into thinking that a busy schedule means we are being productive. In fact, the opposite may be true. We may be busy but not really accomplishing anything of importance.

Finally, we need to take time to do things that we enjoy. Strike that. We need to schedule time to do things that we enjoy. Coffee (or tea) breaks were created for a reason. We need breaks from the daily grind for physical and mental health, not to mention our spiritual health. Do something fun. Do something silly. Do nothing.

I know when I start the day with a quiet time, and then end the day with a little quiet time I feel more rested and ready to do battle even in 2020, especially in 2020. I also know that taking time to knit or read a good book also lifts my mood and my energy. So, sit a spell, sip some tea, pet a cat (or dog), and enjoy the moment. Besides, your cell phone could probably use some alone time, too.

Reset Button

Do you ever wish that life had a reset button? You know like when your computer starts not working right and you just turn it off and back on to reset it. There is usually a reset button on most electronics. It allows equipment to stop, recalibrate, and restore itself to working order again. Actually, we do have a reset button of sorts, but it doesn’t correct our situation; it corrects our perception of the situation.

Seattle SunriseI have a friend who is not a big fan of Christmas but loves New Year’s because it is the chance to start fresh. However, you don’t have to wait for New Year’s Day for a fresh start. Lamentations 3:21-23 says, “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” God’s mercies are new every morning, so we have the chance to start each day fresh. But, we don’t even have to wait for a new day. We can start new at any moment. All we have to do is stop and pray for God to refresh our spirits and renew our minds.

Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” When we renew our minds, we often gain a new perspective on the situation. It is often said that prayer doesn’t change God or the circumstances as much as it changes us. It is a change in perspective, the difference between seeing something as a crisis and seeing it as an opportunity.

In March of 2018, a line of storms hit my area, including a tornado that struck Jacksonville, Alabama and Jacksonville State University. The community could have wallowed in self-pity or hopelessness; instead they rallied around each other. My church, along with others, took it as an opportunity to share the love of God through feeding workers and those in our community without power. People from all over flooded the area, helping people clear the debris and meeting basic needs.

Reset ButtonWhen we are faced with challenges, we can sit and complain and wonder why me, or we can look to discover what God is trying to teach us in the moment. A slow car in front of us when we are running late could be keeping us from being involved in an accident or getting a speeding ticket. A power outage might give us a renewed sense of appreciation for what we do have. When we are having a bad day and nothing seems to be going right, we just have to take a moment and look for the blessings around us. It can reset our perspective and our attitude so that we can make the most of whatever situation we find ourselves. The reset button is always available; the trick is remembering to use it.