The Resting Place

isaiah28

Next week is “the movie.”

That’s what my fourth grader calls it.  She’s been fretting about this movie for two years.

She always lowers her voice when she speaks of it.  She always calls it “THE MOVIE” in hushed capital letters.  Occasionally, her hands even pop up to make quotation marks in the air.

Seems like they’ve been showing a movie like this to fourth graders for decades.  I watched it when I was in school, but I sure don’t remember dreading it or worrying over it or spending months terrified of the potential embarrassment.

But that’s my girl.  She’s a thinker.  A planner.  More like a fretter.  Maybe an obsesser.

She gets most of that from me.

Okay, maybe she gets all of that from me.

I keep telling her the truth: There’s nothing in this movie about puberty and growing up that we haven’t covered here at home already.  So, what’s the big deal?

But truth isn’t really cutting through the emotional trauma she’s built up over the years.

It’s rumbling around in her heart and mind, turning up in the most unexpected places.  Last night, I mentioned how quickly April has flown by and she launched into another speech about the imminence of “The Movie” and how her life will end within the week.

Next week, I guarantee she’ll come home and I’ll say, “How was ‘the movie?’ and she’ll shrug it off for the absolutely mundane, not-terrible, unsurprising, non-monumental moment in her life that it really is.

But for this week: It’s a distractor.  It’s a stressor.  It’s an emotional time-bomb.

So, I’m playing the voice of reason for my daughter. I’m the quiet, calm purveyor of wisdom and I’m the one trying to give her a healthy perspective on this thing called life.

Because apparently when you’re ten, everything is a near-catastrophe.

But I need this for my own life, too.

Because I’m distracted.  I’m stressed.  I’m fretting over potentialities and playing through possibilities, just turning them over and over like a dryer tumbling my wet towels.

This is what I don’t want.  Tumble, tumble, tumble.

But what if it happens?  Tumble, tumble, tumble.

I want this….and I want that….and it’s impossible to have both.  Tumble, tumble, tumble.

I read God’s Word and it just breezes through my mind without touchdown or impact.

But this finally hits home:

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it (Isaiah 30:15 NIV)

Rest is what I need.

I say I need a vacation, or a break, or a getaway, or a long walk in absolute quiet.

But what I really need is a rested soul, a quiet spirit.

Oh, a physical rest would be nice, of course.  But so often that’s a temporary fix and then it’s back to this pacing back and forth, this distraction, this tension.

I need a resting place in the here and now of this life, this moment, this situation, this day and everything that this day brings.

Isaiah wrote:

“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”  (Isaiah 28:12).

And the resting place isn’t far. It’s not an exotic island and it doesn’t take a plane-trip to Hawaii or my entire savings account to get there.

It’s trusting Jesus.

In When Women Long for Rest, Cindy McMenamin wrote:

“Rest isn’t just laying down and clearing your mind.  It’s retraining your mind to turn over the problems to the only One who is able to work them out.”

My heart finds rest when it sinks into the rhythms of grace God has established.

I’m no longer pushing, pushing, pushing for my own agenda or striving to set my own pace, or straining to head in my own direction.

I’ve relaxed into Him.

Elisabeth Elliott wrote:

“Jesus, in the unbroken intimacy of His Father’s love, kept a quiet heart.  None of us possesses a heart so perfectly at rest, for none lives in such divine unity, but we can learn a little more each day of what Jesus knew…”

May I learn a little of this today:  A quiet heart, a heart perfectly at rest because I’m aware of the intimacy of His love, trusting in His care, united in His will.

So “let the weary rest.”

 

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 © 2015 Heather King

Eat Cereal and Go to Disney?

My daughter announced at the breakfast table that if we wanted to go to Disney World we all needed to eat a particular cereal.

“You want to go to Disney, right?”

She asked her five-year-old sister. Such an unfair question.  Of course, the five-year-old nodded, ‘yes.’

“Then you need to eat this cereal, see?”

I peek over my shoulder to see what she found: a contest on the back of the cereal box.  One grand prize winner.  Yada yada yada.

Not exactly the reality she was trying to spin for her siblings: Eat this box of cereal = a free trip to Disney for the family.

But my children feel they have a deprived existence because:

(A) We do not own a dog.

(B) We have never been to Disney.

I promise her that I’ve entered plenty of Free Trip to Disney contests before yet I’ve still never been there.  It’s because I never win anything.

(Well, once I won a drawing at the public library for the adult summer reading program.  The nice librarian called and told me I had won and could come pick up my prize.  I was ecstatic with joy.  So much so that he felt the need to assure me that it was just a tiny little prize and not to expect anything big.  He didn’t want me to be disappointed.  It didn’t matter.  I had WON something.)

But as I try to protect my dear daughter from the inevitable disappointment of finding that eating this particular cereal did not by default mean we’d be standing outside Cinderella’s castle next summer, I remember my prize from last week.

We made our annual family trek to the pumpkin patch.  When I paid to get in, the nice lady at the farm handed me a jar of homemade pumpkin butter.

She said the first 25 families that visited the farm that day were receiving a gift.

We had won!

In fact, she didn’t have any more jars there on the shelf behind her, so I’m pretty sure we were number 25, making this all the more reason to celebrate.

And all I had to do was show up.

Oh, we love to complicate things don’t we?

I think how difficult I can make this sometimes, asking what I need to do to win God’s affection or attention and earn His favor.

I can know it in my head.  It’s grace.  It’s mercy.  He doesn’t need me to perform elaborate rituals or scream and shout for the prize of His divine attention.james4

Still I forget.

I think surely I must have let Him down and disappointed Him or missed a step and messed things up along the way.  Maybe He’d have blessed me, but I did something wrong and now He can’t.  Or I made a wrong decision somewhere and stumbled out of His perfect plan for me.

It makes it seem so fickle.  Like I’m playing some guessing game and the prize for guessing correctly is His favor and affection.  But one wrong answer and I’m out.

Yet, James 4:8a says:

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Draw near.

I read about the resurrection appearance of Jesus, how He appeared first to Mary Magdaelene and then to the other women who had visited the tomb that morning.

In her devotional, Revealing Jesus, Darlene Zschech asks:

Why did Jesus appear first to two women? The answer is so simple. They were the ones who showed up first. 

We won’t always get it right.  Sometimes just ‘showing up’ begins with that first humble act of repentance, of praying in earnest that the Holy Spirit do His work, search our hearts, purify and refine.

But showing up also means just coming as we are.  Not trying to figure out some complicated formula in order to gain admittance to see Jesus. We don’t have to delay coming to Him because we’re not ready yet or worry that He’ll send us back because we’re so unworthy.

We come.

We just.  Come.

And we ask:  Lord, I long for Your presence and I’m drawing near to You today. I’m resting here at Your feet and I’m desperate to spend time with You.  Forgive me, cleanse me.  Please draw near to me.  ~Amen~

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