Monday, October 21, 2013

Ode to Day 13, 14, 15, 15 . . . 21

It would be sweet to say that these past few days have been days devoted to rest, and that's why this blog has been so silent.

The silence is eerie. Don't trust it. Though the past two days were pretty restful, some of the other past days haven't been, but I asked for that, right? Didn't I sign up for this?

I really don't feel like I've been busier than most, but I get tired quickly and sometimes just the constant going and going (even if it's not particularly rushed or too stressed) and the consistent people interactions wears me down.

Plus, life isn't restful. It's not.

And that's okay. That has to be okay.

I'm kind of getting sick of "rest." Ha :) Maybe because the seeking of rest can be positive or it can be entirely filled with selfishness and entitlement. How do I seek Him and find rest in Him without coming to rest with my definition of how I think it has to look like?

I wonder if finding rest is finding what Jesus wants for me in each minute, if it may be possible that that late night for a friend or long talk when I should have done homework or however (though extremely tiring) was just what He wanted of me, and maybe I can rest in that.

Maybe there is  rest that comes from knowing I am right where I need to be, that if He is really is the One asking this of me, it is fully worth it.

Still not sure what rest means, but step by step, if I can find my way to Jesus, I know I will find the rest that I need, maybe not the rest I assume is perfect but the kind of rest I really need.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12: His Children Rest

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. {Ephesians}

I am the striving one. Building brick upon brick, every few minutes turning my head toward heaven, seeing if I've caught His eye, gained His approval. 

My working, my striving, my hoping that I can earn saving, . . . hopeless. 
Ceaseless working. Ceaseless restlessness.

Instead, the fortress I'm building collapses.
The ceaseless working leads to an incessant pride.
I collapse.

But God. 

Two words change everything.

But God.

"But God, being rich in mercy . . . " {Ephesians 2:4}

He reaches down and says that I don't have to work to earn anymore . . . because He did.

I am no longer slave but daughter.

I am no longer the far away one, but the one brought near.

I am given the gift of rest, a gift only given to a child. One speaker I heard once said that rest was a gift that proved one's acceptance into a family. Slaves don't rest. Only children do. 

Rest, His son. Rest, daughter of His.

We are given the gift and responsibility of walking in His good works for us, but we no longer have to work to gain His approval. This restlessness can cease.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 10: Burning Brilliance & Day 11: Resting Spirit

Light in the Forest --- Image by © Tony Hallas/Science Faction/Corbis
Day 10: Burning Brilliance

Half-way through the torrent. Much behind, so much up ahead.

It's sweet mid-semester break.

How do I live life to the hilt but yet live with the realization that I am not able to do all?

How do I live the paradox of dreaming big dreams but realizing I am incapable of doing anything big in my strength?

Do I burn out brilliant? Giving all at once, a vibrant burst of star streaming across sky? It sure seems like if I'm living for the Kingdom of God, I should be giving ALL for it. I should be expending every possible piece of energy to bring His kingdom here.

But then, what about days like today? When I'm tired? Is there a rhythm to this life, or do I give all some days and label the days in between "recovery"?

wilberforce on_deck_of_slaveship_madagascar

Day 11: Being Still Always

I deeply admire William Wilberforce, very eager to read more about him. He worked so hard to accomplish his goals, Kingdom goals. He is quoted as saying, "So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [Slave] Trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effects its abolition."

Can anyone fault him for swearing not to rest? Or is rest not that simple?

I come to this place wondering what it means that rest may be a multi-faceted mountain.

There is physical rest, spiritual rest, emotional rest, mental rest.

Are pieces of these rests meant to be prioritized over others during certain stages of our lives?


Resting our spirits seems to be priority always. Isn't resting rooted in trust? And isn't trust the very privilege and the non-negotiable requirement of the children of God?

Isn't rest, a stillness, that which goes along with knowing that He is God? The Be Still and Know?

While there seems to be very real times when my physical fervor must be expended beyond comfort, isn't it true that regardless, my spirit must always fight for rest in Jesus? Am I maintaining a relationship with Him that leads me to resting in Him, in wholeheartedly trusting Him?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 8 and Day 9: Holistic Rest & Restlessness

Day 8: Survived by a very real grace on three hours of sleep and a two hour nap. Wasn't rested. So exhausted. Weary. And the physical intersects with the emotional at the cross-section of the spiritual.

We were made to be whole.

And we holistically need rest.

Day 9: Still very tired. Of a different sort. The tired that makes me a little weak and susceptible, but at least I'm remembering to blog today! My goodness.

So I'll write.

But only this:

"Our hearts are restless until they rest in You." - St. Augustine

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 7: Only 30 Seconds

Last Wednesday evening was so special to me.

One of the prof's here took me out to dinner. She made me feel so incredibly loved, and I left feeling like Jesus bought me dinner and encouraged my heart, opened some airways so I could better breathe.

It was such a sweet time.

I asked this wise woman about prayer, and I didn't know how to string my question into words, but the heart behind my question was, "I am failing at praying, and I hate it. Will you help me?"

She said that every morning, right when she wakes up, she begins by saying out loud the Lord's prayer and Psalms 23, and throughout the day, she takes several 30 second or so pauses throughout the day, to breathe or pray.

I've been trying. Every morning, I try to begin with those words, the Lord's prayer, Psalms 23. I'm tired and groggy, but somehow, in the short span of time that I've been able to keep it up, I'm a little more anchored when my feet hit the floor.

As for the pauses, I really want this to become part of the way I live. I have definitely been more intentional about resting, about remembering to rest when I consciously take a few seconds to simply breathe, to simply be, to pray, to consciously rest in His presence.

Maybe it's worth a try. What might be your trigger that would help you remember to just pause for 30 seconds? To remember rest?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 5 & Day 6: A Wedding and a Home . . . Rest

*Photo Credits to Brandon Baker*
Day 5 of this month was spent getting all pretty with a bunch of beautiful women, praying for a bride, walking down an isle, laughing, cleaning, going. It was such an honor to play a small role in one of my dear friends' weddings. What an incredible day.

I am still so amazed at how peaceful Ciara was throughout the whole process. It was beautiful and supernatural. She was a stunning bride, and even though the day was a whir, that girl was resting on something, or maybe better put, she was resting on Someone. She had put so many prayers into her decision to say "yes," Jesus was central, and there were so many people praying for her. And it seemed that she was really able to thoroughly enjoy such an incredibly beautiful, sweet day . . . not worried or rushed. Joy-filled.

She was resting in His peace.

We can only rest in what is true and sound.

She had heard the Lord's answer over her life, over her marriage. She was living into the "YES." God blessed her with the gift of resting in this truth.

While I don't think resting can ever be substituted with striving, I wonder if there really is a true place where resting and seeking go hand in hand.

If I want to rest in God, I must seek Him. I must know Him as I'm learning about in a book I'm reading right now (The Holy Wild by Mark Buchanan . . . hope to share more soon!).

In order to rest through big (or small) decisions, I need to be seeking Jesus' truth and resting in it. I need to be asking questions and quieting myself for answers. As I follow Him, as I say "YES" in these answers, I will find Him to be a resting place. A Home for the every piece of me.

Day 6 finds me sitting here at this computer on a Sunday at home. I love this place, these people. I'm at rest here . . . a hundred and some miles away from a student leadership title, from an ever busy schedule, from people whom I LOVE but who don't understand my backstories and my genes. But here? Here I'm fairly known, and I'm loved . . . regardless. Home is not perfect. It's filled with four imperfect people, and sometimes, we're not the best communicators. We can be a little dysfunctional, a little messy. We sometimes forget to listen or love or be selfless. But still . . . in the imperfect and the rough, I've found a place of rest. 

Because I've found a place where I'm Loved. Known. Safe. 

I think of Chris and Conrad's song, "I'm at Home."

A heart can break a thousand times before it finds
The love that makes it beat again
I've had my share of ups and downs in this whole life
Nothing compares
To this love
It's our love

I'm at home when I'm with you
When you're with me worries fade away

This world can take the very life right out of me
And leave me broken on my knees
Sometimes I feel like I just can't go on
But you restore me

It's your love
It's our love

Oh, I'm at home when I'm with you
When you're with me worries fade away
I'm at home when I'm with you
When you're with me and in your arms I'll stay
I'll stay, I'll stay, yeah

I'll never find another
Closer than any other
It's you I love
It's you I love, yeah

I'm confident that Home can be a Person. Having my sister near me feels like home. Even if we were both several countries away . . . if she was near, she would represent a shadow of Home. I could rest. I'd be fine.

I believe that JESUS is HOME. He's not a Shadow. He IS. It is only in His nearness that I can find REST. It is only in His comfort, in the way He knows me through and through, in the depth of His love. 

Honestly, besides needing to be much more developed, I suppose my day 5 and day 6 posts should be flipflopped, because really, today I can rest in Jesus as Home, and in this resting, this choosing to lay back into His knowing and loving, I can sit with Him and talk. I can seek His guiding about my next steps. As He guides, I trust. As I trust, I rest.

Trust & Rest.

So much to say. Someday soon. 

Much love! Enjoy your Sabbath, my friend.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4: Return and Rest

Should I be blogging now? Definitely not. I should be sleeping. Ha! Irony! Instead, I am deeply in need of a rest that comes in surrender, in placing the words pent-up in my veins into fluent sentences that pump steady beats.

Maybe there's something to that really, that after the creating (the writing) is the resting. Isn't that how Creator God lived that first week? Maybe that's a jump, but I wonder if there's something to be learned in that.

Crud, it's only 28 minutes into a new day, and I already feel like I have failed. That's why I'm here. Needing to write order into my failing, flailing chaos. How do I dare come to YHWH when I've failed? Why should He allow me rest and peace when I should be whipped? I want to just RUN!

Until I read this.

Isaiah 30
15  For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling, 16 and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.

17  A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
18  Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
          blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Israel knew what it looked like to run away. They were a restless people. A fleeing people.

I am so restless.

I understand . . . at least in part.

While I am running, my Savior is waiting. He rises up to reach down to me. To pull me up in mercy.

I can choose to run away when I sin, when I blow it (knowingly or unknowingly), or I can come back. I am
offered the chance to return and rest. To stop fighting. To trust that He is God. He is merciful.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3: He Limits the Sea

There are invisible walls that my humanity will not let me climb over. I am not competent enough to burst out of my human skin and overcome my limitations. As superhuman as I try to be, I cannot survive without sleeping. That's bizarre to me. The Lord wired our bodies to rest. The cruelest villain and the kindest saint sleep. The prisoner and the king have to slow down and rest.

Rest is such a piercing declaration that I am fragile. Needy. Vulnerable.


I am human and can never overstep that boundary.

Oh  my. That doesn't keep me from fighting it. I'm proud, stubborn skin.

To accept rest is to accept that I am not in control. Rest is really trust. I'm excited to write more on that later. :) But for now, the question is offered me, and in return, I'm begged to answer:

danae? will you accept rest? will you accept the fact that i have made you human? i have set limits. i limit the sea and say how far it can come onto the land. i limit how much you can live without taking a moment to stop, to rest. there are limits you do not have to fight, My love. being human is beautiful. I was never above becoming one of you. allow yourself to rest, danae. allow yourself room to be human and to encourage others to be human too. this reminds you that you need Me. oh, you need Me. I love you, danae. come to me. come. only I can teach you true rest.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 2: Don't Let Me Face Myself

My schedule is packed. Every empty space is potential for another tea date, another meeting, another chance of movement. Some people call this productivity, and some people call productivity the greatest good and me? I'm not fooled.

Not entirely fooled. A little . . . but not entirely.

I used to think I was a superstar for keeping my world in motion, . . . until I realized I couldn't hardly stop, or when I did stop during Christmas break or summer, I became a rag doll without a spinal cord, unable to hold myself up and keep myself going. When I stop, I sleep excessive amounts and don't know how to put one foot in front of the other. So I try not to stop. I just run and run and run.

If I want to be honest, if I'm willing to slowly turn around and raise my eyelids enough to look into the mirror I dread . . . I think I maybe know what I'm doing.

That busy whirring, the constant movement, flash of light and wind always . . . this isn't productivity. It's distraction. Anything, anything at all to keep me from facing myself, from pausing enough to really assess how I'm doing before my Savior. Anything to keep me from hearing the sound of my own crying, my own inadequacies, my own weakness. I afraid of what I might hear if I stop. What if these are the only cries I hear: "You're not enough! Not enough! Not enough! NOT ENOUGH." So I don't stop.

And I don't live.

But I long for rest. Oh, I long. I live in the busy, always living city, but my soul knows something about green pastures, and I'm thirsty for the streams He speaks about.

Jesus, while I want to learn about rest, I'm afraid of its cost. I'm afraid of what I'll hear in the silence. I'm afraid of what You'll say if I dared to ask You how I'm really doing.

Your call to rest is a call to a trust I'm scared of. I want to though. I am, I really am tired of living distracted.  Please teach me about Rest in this season. I'm not sure I even know what it means. You offer Your grace. I breathe. Thank You. Thank You. Holy, Holy, Holy. Amen.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 Days of Rest

Photo Credits to Briana Cowan
(Reflections of Joy Photography)

Why am I doing this?

Why am I jumping on this bandwagon again of blogging 31 days on one topic?

Why would I choose to add one more thing to my busy schedule?

And on top of that, why would I choose to write about rest for several consecutive days? Ironic?


Crud, I don't know.

Maybe because I need it.

Because in all of this busyness, if I don't figure out how to spend time silent before the feet of Jesus, than this whole Martha thing ain't working out so well. Do you know what I mean?

Are you thirsty too?

Come, please come with me.

I don't promise to write each of the 31 days (though I'll try . . . I'm giving myself Resting Room *wink*).

I don't promise to walk this out well (though I'll try . . . I'm not good at this gig yet).

Come, come with me. While this is a journey of rest, it's also a journey of seeking the Savior.

I'm learning I cannot dare live without Him.

And I hear that only He can offer Rest.