Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't Hold Your Breath

Hustle . . . hurry . . . faster, faster, faster!! Rushing, harried thoughts run like a drum beat through life. Giving attention to organization helps, but even then, there is so much to do and it all seems tied to a deadline of some kind. I rarely feel like I have the permission of . . . I don't know, the cosmos I guess, to make time for rest. If I'm not accomplishing something, achieving something measurable, I'm wasting time, right? My husband, my children, my parents, my Heavenly Father ALL tell me to take time to refresh, but . . . too often I don't, at least not in meaningful ways.

I find myself instead stealing time from responsibilities in a series of little minutes-long chunks, and then feeling guilty for
having stolen them, thinking, "I should be doing ______________, and ______________, and _____________, not goofing off!" Guilt, guilt, guilt. Then when I hear my Heavenly Father's prompting, "Why don't you go for a walk and get some exercise--come be with Me awhile." The enemy uses my earlier guilt against me and says, "You don't have time for that, you don't deserve it because you've already wasted all this time! You should be doing ______________, and ______________, and _____________." Anything to keep me from God's presence! It's a vicious cycle.

Mark Buchanan, in his book The Rest of God, writes: "God made us from dust. . . . Knowing this, God gave us the gift of Sabbath--not just as a day, but as an orientation, a way of seeing and knowing. Sabbath-keeping is a form of mending. It's mortar in the joints. Keep Sabbath, or else break too easily, and oversoon. Keep it, otherwise our dustiness consumes us, becomes us, and we end up able to hold exactly nothing."

I love the concept of Sa
bbath as more than a day, as an orientation, an attitude to carry with us through the whole week. I do not mean that this attitude should come at the exclusion of work--the Bible places a high value and great honor on hard work, but Sabbath is our God-graced balance for the good work we do. Rest really does have the ability to mend us, to hold us together when we're about to crack, to restore places in us that are wearing thin.

I learned yesterday that in both Greek and Hebrew, as well as Old English there is a word (different in each language) that has the triple definition of wind, breath and spirit. If you love words like I do, you'll find that really interesting! Do you ever have the desperate feeling that you're caught in a whirlwind, or that it's been too long since you took a breath? Sometimes it is purely physical and you just need a deep breath, but very
often in our crazy-busy lives, it is spiritual breath we lack. When we forget, or just plain refuse to rest, it is like depriving our spiritual lungs of the oxygen of the Spirit. We need a breath of Him!

"Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground
and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils,
and the man became a living being."
Genesis 2:7 HCSB

God did not design us to merely be sculpted dust. Once He had formed us, He didn't just animate us so we could be USEFUL dusty sculptures. NO! He formed our dust and then breathed His own breath into us so we could be living beings. Um, that's LIVING beings, not just DOING beings. The dust we're made of needs to continually be quickened by His breath!! Thankfully, His breath is everywhere if we would just stop holding OUR breath and breathe Him in!

asingly I want to build attitudes and habits of Sabbath, of holy rest, into my everyday. Rest is risking being late for an extra-long hug around my husband's neck on the way out the door. For me, rest is watching football and bull riding on a Sunday afternoon.
Rest is taking time to bake cookies with my daughter, even if they do have too many calories. Rest is saying yes when my teenage son asks me to go clothes shopping with him when I have already been away from housework all morning. Rest is taking that walk my Heavenly Father invites me to take with Him, the laundry be danged--it'll still be there when I get back!

These may not seem "spiritual" disciplines to some, and admittedly, they can be done with no spiritual value whatsoever. But in the doing of them, if I notice, Spirit-breath comes like a cool wind on a hot day to refresh, restore and renew, and suddenly these are prayer, fellowship and love shown to others.True rest and Sabbath-keeping is breathing Him in as we encounter His love for us in His handiwork and in the countless little "I love you's" He puts in our way every day!

Turn to catch His wind in your hair!!

 C. S. Lewis contends that the apparently frivolous ways we take a break from the hard work of life, are glimpses into what heaven is all about, resting in His love and the joy He gives when we do. "Here, they are a moment's rest from the life we were placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest that which in a better country is the End of ends." Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly On Prayer, Letter XVII.

Share with me your ideas for building rest into your busy life! How will you take a breath of Him today?

holy experience

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