My resolution for Monday:
To breathe in and breathe out, deep taking in of peace and pushing out of contentment. No catching my breath in anxiety, hyperventilating stress, and rushing to the point of breathless exhaustion.
Just breathe. Move through the day without giving into the push, push, push of “faster, more, do, accomplish, check off the list, get it done.” Walk as I vacuum, walk as I put away the clothes. Make that phone call without simultaneously folding underwear and t-shirts.
And spend time with Jesus for relationship not for task-completion.
The temptation is there, of course. It’s the curse of Monday. All of the spillover from last week, the messages to read through and answer after taking a Sabbath from all of that “connection” over the weekend, and the new tasks ahead clamor at me for attention.
What was that email I needed to send?
Wasn’t there someone I needed to call?
Was I behind on my reading, my commitments?
Didn’t I need to print this for the week and pack that for tonight and fill out that form and mail back that letter?
It’s a million tiny things nipping at the heels of my Jesus-focused life, yipping and yapping until I turn my attention from Him.
And then when I do sit down to rest at His feet, dear Father, oh my Father, I am so thankful to be in Your presence ….
Still I fail. Still I pop up every few minutes for the ding of the laundry and the starting of the meal, and the reminder of something else needing to be done.
My time with Him becomes stilted, becomes stale, becomes necessary without being the fresh oxygen in my soul I need for very survival and beyond that, the abundant life He promises. Necessary only because it’s an assignment, like homework for school.
It’s more like: Read the assigned Bible reading. Check. Read the passage in the study for this week’s group discussion. Check. Complete the other Bible study . . . while interrupted and racing against the clock:
I wonder if He’d prefer if I just skipped it all rather than flop down at this kitchen table half-hearted and thinking about 50 things clearly more important than He is to me in that moment.
This isn’t relationship. This is business.
In his book, Prayer, Richard J. Foster wrote:
“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to him. He grieves that we have forgotten him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence…
We do not need to be shy. He invites us into the living room of his heart, where we can put on old slippers and share freely. he invites us into the kitchen of his friendship, where chatter and batter mix in good fun. He invites us into the dining room of his strength, where we can feast to our heart’s delight….” (p. 1)
Maybe that’s my problem. I’ve been barely acknowledging His presence at times at my kitchen table. Perhaps I should take up His invitation to hang out in His kitchen. To eat in His presence and share in good company and the intimacy of friendship, not on my terms, but at His offering.
At the Last Supper, the apostle John leaned against Jesus, drew in close and rested against the Savior, even while realizing that Jesus was about to be betrayed (John 13:25).
Why be more like Peter, who in shame and frustration, perhaps even anger at the destruction of his plans and agenda, certainly in fear…”followed him (Jesus) at a distance” (Matthew 26:58) after Christ’s arrest.
Sure, I’m always following, I’m a faithful kind of girl, trailing after God always. But sometimes I’m just stepping into the imprint of His footsteps rather than walking by His side, following out of obedience only, mostly out of distracted busyness and duty.
This year, I’m pursuing the presence of Christ. In August, that means I’m learning to say, ‘no.’ I’m saying it today: “No” to the stress of do and do. “No” to hyperventilating heaviness of breathless rush.
Today I resolve to breathe in and breathe out, to linger here at the table with Jesus and lean into His presence. No rushing up from the meal to pursue my own agenda. No skimming through the page of Scripture to get to the end of the assigned reading.
Leaning into Jesus. Breathing in and breathing out. Then walking side by side with Him into my day, not tripping along behind: holding His hand and chatting along the journey.
Originally published October 15, 2012
To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below! Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Learn When to Say, ‘No?’
- Finding Room to Breathe: A 12-month pursuit of the presence of Christ
- January: Be Still and Know
- February: Pray Simply
- March: Unplug
- April: Enjoy Beauty
- May: Create Beauty
- June: Invest in Friendship
- July: Retreat and Refresh
- August: Learn When to Say, ‘No’
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King