Learning to Linger

I’m tempted to rush.

On a rare day when I have this time, the temptation is there to fill it right up with more activity, more going and more doing.

Most days, I don’t have this luxury, of course.  It’s the mad morning scramble of toothbrushes, hair brushes, ribbons, bows, socks, shoes, lunches and backpacks to send children out to the bus stop.

Then, zoom into the day with the baby and the errands or meetings or Bible studies or appointments or whatever busyness has etched itself onto the schedule.psalm 27-14

But this day.  This one day.

After I watch my girls step onto that school bus, I return to my home and breathe in and out this uncertain freedom.  I don’t have to run out the door.  I don’t have to meet an external agenda or deadline until the afternoon.

So what to do?

Rush through my home, stuffing laundry into the washing machine and another load in the dryer?  Frantically move cereal bowls from sink to dishwasher and then grab the broom (maybe the mop if I’m inspired).  Respond to messages.  Catch up on the to-do list.  Fill out the forms.

So it goes, me filling up this one little space of time with too much, cramming in activity and sitting on the lid in hopes it will fit.

My tea, poured hot this morning turns cold.

My morning devotions, rushed through just to be done, leave me unfilled, uninspired, unopened to what God wants to say.

Too busy…too busy…just always too busy.

But today I consider Joshua.

Moses met with God face-to-face in a tent.  A pillar of cloud covered the entrance while the Israelites looked on from the flaps of their own tent dwellings, bowing in worship in the doorways.

When Moses finished talking with God, he returned to the camp to share the message with others.

Not Joshua, though.

“his assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent” (Exodus 33:11 HCSB).

He wouldn’t budge from the glory and the presence, lingering there stubbornly while others moved along.

What if I chose to linger here….chose to be Joshua refusing to leave the tent as long as God’s glory electrified the air….chose for this one day to be Mary at the feet of Jesus rather than Martha slamming pots in the kitchen?

Because serving perpetually means serving empty and that means dying of spiritual starvation and dehydration.

We need the Mary moments so we can re-enter the kitchen as Martha and care for others cheerfully and ably until we have that opportunity once again to lay down the dish towel and sit at Jesus’ feet.

It’s not practical, of course.

That crowd of more than 5000 who sat on the hillside listening to Jesus hour upon hour should have been watching the clock.  They should have known what time it was and how long they had to travel back for food.  They should have abandoned the sermon and packed up their blankets and lawn chairs at a reasonable time so they could eat dinner at a reasonable hour.

Yet, Jesus rewarded their time in His presence.

Had they left early, they would have missed the miracle.

In order to witness God’s glory, they had to wait, they had to sit patiently and linger there until they received.

This is what I consider as I spend this month Sabbath-Keeping during my year-long pursuit of the presence of Christ.

In Living Beyond Yourself , Beth Moore writes:

“He placed them in a posture to rest in His provision.  He commanded them to “sit down” and fed only those who were “seated” (vv. 10-11) . . .”Are you ‘sitting down’ in a posture of trust and sitting quietly to receive it?  If so, prepare the baskets!”

For me, it’s just this one day a week to take my morning slow before the afternoon and evening wave of stress and busyness crashes down again.livingbeyond

For you, it may be a morning, a day….even a season of sitting and waiting on that hillside so you can see His glory, or a season at Jesus’ feet instead of in the kitchen, or a season of lingering in the tent.

Whatever the length of the wait and the stillness, it’s a discipline to rest rather than rush.

When we remain there, though, insistent on lingering where His presence is, we see His glory displayed and He fills us up with the sustenance of His presence and His Word.

But only when we wait until He says it’s time to move on.

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 Practice Sabbath-Keeping’?

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

25 Ways to Create Rest

Thanks to all who entered the Big Giveaway!  It was so fun hearing all about what you wanted to be when you grew up.  Some of you were far more creative than I ever was!  And what a testimony of how God redirected some of us, transformed some of us, and used our desires and giftings for His glory.

I am so thankful for all of your support and encouragement in this first year since my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord was published.  ask-me-anything-lord_kd

Here are the winners!

One first-prize winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is:  Kimberly!!!

Three runner-up prizes of an autographed copy of Ask Me Anything, Lord go to:

  • Betsy Marmon
  • Genia Allen
  • CoreynEva

If you didn’t win, I have to at least give a quick, shameless plug: You can still buy a copy of Ask Me Anything, Lord here.  Don’t forget: Christmas is coming! I’m knee-deep into my own Christmas shopping list, so if you’re looking for a gift you can always buy a copy of the book for you and another to give to a friend!

You bless me so, dear friends and followers!

~heather~

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 25 Ways to Create Rest

My husband teases me about never watching TV or movies.  “You don’t watch; you just listen,” he says.

rest

Photo courtesy of Viktor Janacek, picjumbo

It’s true.  I like to listen to the dialogue while doing chores and working on projects.

I feel restless just sitting still without something for my hands to do.

I read the verses, how Scripture tells me to rest, and all this time I thought I just failed at this.

Could this be sin?  Am I a hopeless case of incessant busyness?  A certifiable Martha who can’t possibly be Mary at the feet of Jesus?

And, after all, I’m a mom with four young kids. Doing nothing sounds unreasonable and downright impossible.

So, when I think about Sabbath and rest, I feel guilty.

But I’m finding freedom here as I spend this month Sabbath-keeping:

In Priscilla Shirer’s book: Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath, I read this quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi and author:

“The words: ‘On the seventh day God finished His work’ (Genesis 2:2) seem to be a puzzle…We would surely expect the Bible to tell us that on the sixth day God finished His work.  Obviously, the ancient rabbis concluded, there was an act of creation on the seventh day.  Just as heaven and earth were created in six days, menulza (rest) was created on the Sabbath…..they believed that it took a special act of creation to bring it into being, that the universe would be incomplete without it.  ‘What was created on the seventh day?  Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose.

God didn’t do nothing on the seventh day.  He created Rest, and the universe wasn’t complete until He did.

So, Sabbath isn’t about sitting still or napping or doing nothing.

It’s about creating peace and repose.  It’s about creating rest for your soul, whatever that looks like.

In her book Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God, Margaret Feinberg writes:

“rest isn’t a purely passive activity.  Rest invites us to participate in restorative activities….Sometimes what’s most restful and restorative to you might involve activity…Sometimes what feels like rest to you may feel like work to someone else (and vice versa)…

Some people experience rest and rejuvenation through physical exercise, others prefer a creative outlet like painting, sculpting or finding a project on Pinterest.  Still others experience rest through spending time at the rifle range, reading an entertaining book, working on a car, enjoying a comedy, or cooking a new recipe”  (p. 72).

So, the question I’ve been asking myself is: What kind of Sabbath am I creating?

Here are 25 practical ways to choose rest for your soul:

  1. Put off the big chores like laundry, vacuuming and mopping until another day.
  2. Spend time as a family playing board games or have a movie night with popcorn and hot chocolate.
  3. Go for a picnic in the park with your kids.
  4. Lie on the couch and read a book.
  5. Take a nap.
  6. Create something beautiful–knit, sew, paint.  Make sure it’s something you enjoy but never seem to have time for and not just another project you need to get done on the to-do list (like hem pants or something).
  7. Bake something delicious.  Maybe use a favorite recipe or be daring and give a new recipe a try!
  8. Light a candle or plug in your warmer and make sure your house smells amazing.
  9. Play music to soothe the soul.  Maybe some worship music.  Maybe something classical so you don’t even have to think about the lyrics, just enjoy the beauty.
  10. Dig deep in the dirt and enjoy your garden.
  11. Sit on the porch with a glass of lemonade or iced tea or maybe a hot cup of tea or coffee and enjoy the breeze while the kids play outside.
  12. Light a fire in the fireplace.
  13. Use paper plates just for today so you don’t have to do a million dishes.
  14. Keep dinner simple.  Order pizza, eat leftovers or maybe go for a Crock-Pot meal or breakfast for dinner (is that officially called ‘Brinner?”.
  15. Or—-if you love to cook, make a big family dinner and enjoy the time together in the kitchen and around the table.
  16. Spend extra time in God’s Word today.
  17. Take a day off from social media and email, or perhaps at least stay offline from sun-up to sun-down.
  18. Don’t answer the phone unless you have to/want to.
  19. Take a walk.
  20. Do a puzzle as a family.
  21. Prepare for your day off in advance:  Make sure the laundry is done, the kids’ homework is done and their agendas for school are signed, so you aren’t tempted to dig deep into a project or chore.
  22. Meet a friend for lunch.
  23. Write a letter.  Like, an actual letter.  With pen and paper, not typed out via e-mail.
  24. Journal.
  25. Treat yourself.  If you exercise all week, keep away from caffeine, soda, sweets, and chocolate….or however you discipline yourself…enjoy a little treat today.  A cinnamon roll for breakfast perhaps?  Your favorite chocolate after lunch?

What kind of Sabbath are you creating?

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 Practice Sabbath-Keeping’?

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

 

Resting is Just a Part of Moving

It’s Monday and I already feel behind for the week.

The laundry is spinning, shushing it’s way through washing machine cycles and dryer loads.

The dishwasher is halfway empty.  I’ve been grabbing clean plates and cups all morning as I walk by.  Grab and stash in the cabinet, go about my business and return for more on the next pass.

My daughter’s arts and crafts-filled Sunday afternoon has left a Monday morning mess.  Scraps of paper and felt dot the living room and dining room carpet. Popsicle sticks are scattered here and there on desks and tables in the playroom.  There’s a pile of papers topped by markers and scissors, and glue sticks overflow onto the floor.

And the glitter.  Oh, the glitter.  Apparently, it fell.  Not in one easy-to-clean location, mind you.  It seems to have popped up in the air and thrown its contents across every surface in the playroom, which is now aglow.

I’ve been fielding phone calls and catching up on e-mail messages and social media all morning.

And I feel the crunch of time, the deadlines and the to-do list, and part of me feels frustrated and maybe a little breathless.

Deep down I want to blame the rest.

Why am I behind?  I reason it out.

Because I didn’t do any laundry yesterday.  Because I made origami cars instead of vacuuming.  Because I read my book instead of writing.  Because I take a break from social media (no Facebook browsing, no Twitter tweeting, no Pinterest pinning) one day a week.

I unplugged from busyness and plugged in to family and soul and beauty and joy and God…and rest.

Of course, I’ve thought it before.  I probably will fight the lie for a long time: If I just didn’t take that break once a week, I wouldn’t be so busy.

This resting is counterintuitive.  It isn’t what makes sense to me in my self-focused, rational way of looking at life.

And yet, it’s necessary.  This walking away, this stepping back, this slowing down, this breathing in and out, this ceasing activity, this stopping the rush, this halting of busyness….it’s worship.

It’s obedience.

It’s humility.

It’s trusting God to take care of my little world and the whole wide world without me, and realizing just this: the world spins on and moves along even when I take a break.  This is the shocking revelation that I need. It’s God, not me, that keeps it all going.

Without the rest, we wouldn’t really get very far anyway.  Oh sure, it seems to make sense.  Do laundry on Sunday so the basket isn’t so full on Monday.  Write on Sunday so Monday morning there’s less pressure to rush to the computer and type away.

And yet, how far would we really make it before we crashed?  How long could we go before our pride exploded and we forgot that God is really the one in control, so we ended up on our face in a forced and painful humbling?

The truth is that moving forward doesn’t require perpetual movement.  It demands moving when God says, “Move” and resting when God says, “Stop.”

After all, how far would Elijah have managed to run without the food, drink and rest the angel brought him before his journey?  (1 Kings 19).  How long could the disciples have ministered, traveling on foot and mobbed by crowds, without time away with Jesus?

How could Israel have made it to the Promised Land without seasons of rest by the mountain of the Lord, beside clean water, and with peace from their enemies?

Even when they were pursued by the Egyptians, facing opposition and recapturing, still God didn’t tell the Israelites to grab their handmade weapons and armor and strive against the enemy.

Instead, “Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.'” (Exodus 14:13-14, NLT).

Stand still.  Just watch.  Stay calm.  Let the Lord fight for you.

Just rest in Him.

But they couldn’t stand there forever, looking at the Red Sea and never crossing over.  They had trusted God in the waiting.  Now they could trust Him in the moving:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” (Exodus 14:15 NLT).

So it is for us.  We trust Him in the waiting and in the resting.  We trust Him in the moving and the battle …. and the laundry, the dishes, the to-do lists, the emails, the phone calls, the meetings, the appointments, and the deadlines.

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 upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King