To ring in the new year of 2017, late in the month of January, my mom, my four sisters, myself and some of my nieces met together for a brunch. This was a first for us, and it was a very meaningful time. It was a needed time.
So, why am I writing on this now? Ha. We are half-way through the year! Let me explain.
One of the activities we did that day was writing our “New Year’s Resolutions” on 3×5 notecards, and then if we wanted, sharing with the group. It was such a great idea, it truly helped me to slow down and be intentional about what my priorities really were for the year. Afterwards, I placed my little cards in my Bible as bookmarks and needed reminders for my daily life. Here we are in July, and halfway through the year and I smiled this morning as this particular resolution marked my Psalm this morning. Rest. True Rest. Did I even know what that meant when I wrote it? I certainly didn’t know what all my year would hold… that’s certain. But, I smiled because I thought the definition of rest has taken on a new shape, and new meaning for me in so many ways the past few years.
Rest. True rest.
That’s what she said in January – beginning 2017. Here we are in July.
I like to visualize rest thinking about our cat Thomas. Now that fellow knows how to rest! He has a little routine every day. And it all revolves around rest, I’m pretty sure (well, that and eating..). He has his morning stretches, his breakfast, his nap on Paul’s top bunk, snacktime, naptime on Wesley’s bed, snacktime, naptime on couch, snacktime, aggravate our other cat Romo time, snacktime, and then relax-time on back of couch or in our laps to complete his evening before bed time.
The only time he doesn’t rest is when his food bowl is empty. Not only does he not rest, WE can’t rest. Because he paces, stares, and even gives a little bite (if it comes to that!) to remind us “MY BOWL IS EMPTY.”
Kinda like me. I can rest when things are all nice and tidy… all my ducks swimming pretty in a row (and for the record, I can’t even remember when it was that way for me. I am thinking they are not even ducks at this point… maybe chinchillas?).
But, oh God where is the rest when things aren’t the way I want them?
Not when things are hard and confusing.
Or, when I have needs that I feel aren’t met.
Not when I feel I’m wronged or shorted from what I deserve. (Ouch).
Or, how can I rest when the storms are big and unexpected… and the lights seem to flicker on and off.
Where are you?
And, He reminds me. The wind and waves know my name. You can rest.
Throughout the years, lack of sleep has become my nemesis. I’ve learned some practical ways that help. Sleep association patterns: Reading before bed, journaling my “to-do” list for the next day, calming playlist, lavender scents, relaxing a wee bit on my caffeine intake :), less screen time, good hydration, etc. All great aids! Definitely have proven to help me greatly!
But, maybe you will agree with me… there seems sometimes to be no cure for an anxious heart. When you toss and turn on your bed, and sleep seems so far away. Your pillow may be the only one you trust with your tears, but God sees.
What was the Psalm that my resolution from January had randomly marked?
“When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.”
What’s the true rest I want to practice? Trusting Him. Allowing His words to console the deepest corners of my soul. Letting go of what others think, giving Him all the heavy things I carry, fully embracing His forgiveness and grace, trusting that He is at work in all areas… even the ones that may be difficult to understand. Entrusting each step to His wisdom and ways. Reaching for His word when I want to ruminate on issues. Committing myself to pray, even when there aren’t words, or when all I want to do is complain or worry. Looking for faithful friends who can listen, pray for me, and share needed perspective and truth to my ears. Settling my mind to know I am not the “fixer” of anything, I’m just a girl who has the opportunity to love others, as I have been loved. Loving is easy, when you spend time with the One who loves you.
Sleepless nights will still find us. Anxious moments will come. That’s for sure. But even in those moments, we can have the gift of true rest.
2017 – A year of rest. The gift of rest that we can all embrace.