Find Rest in the Ruckus

“Yet I know, in quiet pockets where my soul craved recharge and peace that rest was exactly what I needed. But how? How does one truly rest in the midst of life all around?” Choosing Real by Bekah Jane Pogue.

It is a beautiful autumn morning. The sun is bright and bringing some warmth to the yet chilly air. I was up early beginning my new morning routine, and then outside digging up kale and parsley plants for pots to keep over winter, mostly to keep my bunnies happy. I had my morning coffee and toast, packed my husband’s lunch, did pet care, and now drove to the lakeshore. It is breezy and the waves are splashing hard against the rocks. I stopped at a local coffee shop for an Americano for this little mini-vacation in my day. So, here I sit in my car, windows open, listening to honking geese and crashing waves, breathing deeply the fresh air, and sipping coffee. Taking time to relax knowing the to do list is waiting for me, this is something new.

Summer flew past with much, too much, busyness and very little recharge or peace. The past few weeks the tight muscles in my neck and shoulders have been crying for reprieve from life’s stress. Every day has been the same, an endless to do list, impossible to finish in the hours allotted. Tension and frustration boiling over because I never get done. It was in the midst of all this that I remembered what I read in Present Over Perfect “Barns burned down, now I can see the moon.”  To me this is about clarity, it made me see that I was too bogged down in too much to do. Time to burn some barns. In another of Niequist’ books, Bittersweet, she shares how her friend told her to choose what she wanted to do and then decide what she was willing to let go of. I had to ask myself, “what am I willing to say ‘no’ to?”

So I took out slip of paper and made a list of my absolutes and there with the paper in hand I decided I needed to make some changes. I sorted things out, rather than trying to do everything, I began dividing the tasks listed into days. I also made routines for morning, afternoon, and evening to fit in time for journaling, reading, self-care, and exercise.

I began experimenting and really enjoying all of the changes. I have three main areas of tasks for each day, my to do list is narrowed down and my routines are allowing me time to do things I enjoy. I am not pushing through my days at breakneck speed but instead I am finding more quiet pockets to recharge and to know peace in. The pockets are there because I am being intentional about planning them in.

I know I have tried slowing down often before and I always get caught up in the rat race, but I feel like there is something very different about this time. It feels like it will stick. I am feeling so much more joy and peace.

My response to inquiries or comments have been sharp and defensive, but now the edges are softening because I am not in a constant state of overwhelm.

As I sit here at the lake, there is a flock of geese nearby, some of them are feasting on what they can find in the grass across the road. When they get their fill they fly overhead honking and flapping. They land in the water facing south and although they are probably paddling hard beneath the water, they are being moved north by the wind in the waves. I have been kind of like those geese trying to get things done but seemingly not getting anywhere with accomplishing it all. I felt pushed back by the wind and waves of busyness and too exhausted to keep paddling. The geese don’t seem to mind floating backwards, they are content to go with the flow. I want to move through my days with intention, yet knowing rest.

Finding rest doesn’t just happen. I am finding in the process of being intentional that there are quiet moments to listen to the Lord, to pray, and to draw near. These moments happen between the to do’s. I am choosing to stop pushing through. That is a big change for me, and it is a big challenge for me. It is difficult to allow myself that freedom, but I am learning to give myself permission.

I am also learning to be more consistent about praying for myself, telling the Lord the needs of my heart. I am taking time to rest with Him in the midst of my routine, and between my to do’s I am growing more aware of His presence. What a wonderful experience!

Pogue says, “To rest means to be filled up by the One who enjoys us right in the middle of the rush. Authentic rest emulates our Father, it’s turning my mind and heart to settle into a cozy rhythm that models Him…”

Pogue goes on to share how easy it is to neglect taking time to enjoy today, neglecting “to be present to the tiny moments and memories taking up who and what texture are now.”

There have been too many days that I have neglected to take time to enjoy the day. I have been oblivious to so much because of being over-focused on what I feel I need to do or want to accomplish. I am seeking to find that “cozy rhythm” in my life and find rest in the ruckus of life.

How about you? How are you being intentional about rest?

 

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An Invitation to Celebrate Even in my Fear

Bekah Pogue shares in her book Choosing Real, “Choosing Real is opting to see how present Jesus is in real-life circumstances… Choosing Real trusts God has a beautiful plan in the mess, in the scary, in the unknown, in the tears, and in not feeling enough.”
Are you in one of those places? The mess? The scary? The tears? Or not feeling enough? Pogue suggests that we should shift our perspective from self to the Lord. She suggests that we look for His invitations in the midst of all that life brings. What invitation do you see the Lord offering you right now in the mess you are in? What invitation do you see the Lord offering you in the scary place life has you in? What invitation do you see the Lord offering you in the middle of the tears that are streaming down you face?
Is it an invitation for rest? Or hope? Or freedom? Or an invitation to choose to have a thankful heart? Or maybe it is an invitation to serve? What is He inviting to share with you?
I am finding the truth of Hosea, and how it is in the wilderness times the Lord allures us. He draws us in to teach us more of His love for us, He draws us in to speak to us. He wants to know us that much, to show us how He sees and hears us and knows our deepest pain, as well as what brings us the greatest joy. He wants us to celebrate His love and His nearness. He wants us to know more and more how we really can trust Him in the midst of whatever He has allowed. He wants us to know that we are not alone. He invites us to know Him in a new way. He invites us to snuggle in and find out what He has for us. Because He has exactly what we need. You see He knows what we have been wandering after, searching for, dreaming of, wishing for.
He knows the deepest yearning in the depths of our hearts and He desires to meet that need. He wants to fill that emptiness. He just wants us to trust Him enough to ask. He wants us to show that we really know He is present and able.
Emotional pain often makes you desire to run to find a way to not feel. It hits you at unexpected times and sends you reeling. So when the Lord comes and meets you in that pain, when you feel Him reaching for you, when you feel overwhelming fear and you know your trust is lacking, you suddenly find yourself at the edge. It feels like a crisis of sorts. Here you are face-to-face with the One Who can help, but you feel frozen in fear. He urges you to give Him your pain, to trust Him with it all. What will you do?
I was recently at that place. Tears came easily, unexpectedly, at the most inopportune times and I felt nauseous with upset. I felt so alone, but realized His nearness. Why had I separated myself, this painful part, and not given it and all the neediness to Him? Don’t I trust Him enough to give Him the pain? I hadn’t, but then I did, I gave it to Him. In fact, I took time to find a Bible verse for each part of the pain, ones that spoke to me of His love and nearness, verses that gave comfort. I gave Him all of the emptiness and ache. I asked Him to hold it. I fell asleep exhausted and dreamed of Him holding it, holding me in my pain. And now each time something triggers the pain, I tell myself Jesus is holding this, I am not alone, I don’t have to carry this alone. And it gives me joy. It gives me hope. It gives me rest.
Yes, I still feel the pain at times, but I feel His nearness with me in it. I read the verses of comfort. It is too easy to get buried in the painful feelings, and get lost in them. When I choose to stay there, I miss knowing Who He is and what He has for me. So now, I am beginning to learn to look for Him in the difficult places, I am learning to celebrate His nearness when celebrating seems like the last thing one might do.
It is easier to push the hard stuff away, or try your hardest to act tough and try not to need, just keep busy. But you can only do that for so long and then the pain starts screaming too loud and your ears bleeds and your heart aches. But in reality you really are not alone in it at all, the Lord is with you in and through it all.
The Lord wants us to reach and to follow and to trust, He is near. Celebrate His presence and His love in all of life.