Permission to Rest

Am I the only person who struggles with being still? Somehow, I don’t think so.

I have so much difficulty with doing nothing. By nature, I am a very self disciplined, driven individual. The concept of taking time for myself does not come naturally for me.

Sometimes, I can do a lazy Saturday morning. I use this time to write and move at my own pace. I enjoy those mornings, but I still measure them by what I accomplish during that time.

Moments of doing nothing? Of being completely still? Those moments are so important for me to recharge and catch my breath. I don’t allow for them often enough in my life. Usually, it is when I feel myself becoming unraveled that I realize that I really need to rest.

Being still is a gift we give ourselves. Being still before God, undistracted in His presence…a gift we can give Him.

Today, rest in the grace of giving yourself permission to rest. We all need to take moments to pause and reflect.

How can you make this time? Will you?

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Unforced rhythms of grace

As I drove home from a very long day at work, I listened to the end of a recorded sermon from one of my favorite pastors.

The message focused on being worried and upset. The scripture she taught from is a passage near and dear to my heart because it hits so close to home in terms of what I struggle with.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Now as they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what he was saying. But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself, don’t you? Then tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”

Martha, Martha, Martha.

I can relate to Martha. I am the busy one. I find it hard to even sit still and watch TV with my son without doing something else with my hands… folding laundry, flipping through my phone, sorting through the mail…you get the picture. 

In turn, I find myself holding those same expectations of others. It’s like I expect people to be busy all the time. 

As I listened to the close of her message, something captured my attention deeply.

She talked about being still, in His presence, in the unforced rhythms of grace.

Unforced… obviously means to not force something

To take that one step further, it means to be free….

Rhymth…a strong repeated pattern

Grace…the undeserved favor

When I think of it all wrapped together, it comforts and amazes me. 

And to be completely honest, convicts me.

Why?

I find it so much easier to wrestle in the unrest of anxiety and fear instead of rest at the feet of Jesus. I ask Him to please take my burdens, but I so easily take them back as I play through the game of what ifs and conjure up a multitude of circumstances.

In the famous words of Dr. Phil…. how’s that working for you?

Um, well, actually not so well. 

What if instead I chose to rest at the feet of Jesus like Mary?

How different would my life feel if I trusted in the unforced rhythms of grace?

As anxiety tugs at the deepest places within me, I ask myself those very questions.

What if I trust Jesus with my worries and fears enough to let Him keep them instead of me trying to take them back to hold onto them just a little while longer?

Could I finally find the quiet I yearn for in the unforced rhythms of His grace?

I believe I could. And you can, too.

It’s a sweet surrender…a little more dying to self. If we choose to trust Him, He promises to be right there with us.

His Grace Finds Us

A few years ago, I found myself feeling very alone as I walked through what felt like a dark valley. I slept little that entire summer. To keep myself sane, I ran in the early morning hours.

Running became my escape.

As I ran, I listened to my favorite Christian music. The song Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman became my source of strength. The words reminded me that God was with me in the hard times, the good times, the everyday stuff, and the uncertainties.

The song really opened my eyes and heart to the idea of His grace as His gift to me. I clung tightly to the words of the song and its message.

As the summer continued, God opened doors for our family, and we began to receive the answers we had been longing for.

Through the difficult times, His grace drew me closer to His promises. 

His grace truly does find us no matter where we are. 

Sunday Rest

I am so grateful for a quiet weekend.

God’s grace has been on my mind a lot as I journey through my Write 31 day challenge with my focus on grace.

Quiet time allows me to refocus, reflect, and regroup. 

I was reminded in church this morning…

I am grateful for my quiet time.

God’s grace is so good, so good.

Where have you experienced His grace?

The Grace of Almost

Ever have those almost moments?

I have. 

I almost didn’t apply for my job because I thought it would be too far to drive, and I wasn’t sure if I was qualified.

I almost didn’t submit my story for a collection of short stories because I wasn’t sure if it fit what they were looking for.

I almost didn’t….fill in your own words.

Fear, doubt, uncertainty…they all creep in to create these almost moments.

I am happy to say that I did apply for that job, and I am quickly approaching my two year anniversary there. God is doing great things in my life there.

My story I almost didn’t submit? It was accepted.

God has blessed us each with gifts and talents. When we feel that nudge, we need to step out in faith and trust God to do the rest. 

What decision are you wrestling with right now?

Grace Beyond the Lines

Recently, at a writing conference, the speaker talked about how we as children learn these beliefs about ourselves and  then we carry them into our adult lives.

As he spoke, an experience from third grade popped back in my mind. I had completed a worksheet for English. The content was absolutely one hundred percent correct; however, I had not stayed within the lines. My freshly learned cursive writing had extended beyond the given lines. I was required to stay inside from recess and fix my “mistake.” For a quiet, shy young someone who already aimed to do the right thing, this only fed into my drive for perfection.

This perfectionism has been a constant companion into adult life. It drives my performance, my anxiety, and my fears.

Last fall, God really began unravelling some of this root of the need for perfection. It has been a slow unravelling, but I no longer believe that perfection is the goal.

At work, we talk about redefining success as progress not perfection. I may not like mistakes, but I can embrace them as part of my growth.

Today, I am grateful for the grace of second chances. I am grateful for the freedom to not be perfect. When we walk in His strength, His grace is sufficient.

Sometimes, following a God given dream involves taking a risk. You may just have to look, write, or walk beyond those “safe” lines. What the world views as a mistake may just be the very path He has set before you. Pray, listen, and trust.

Extend Grace

“Extend grace, mom. Extend grace.”

I looked at my thirteen year old son. He was right, but I wasn’t quite ready to admit it. That vicious thing called pride was still hovering in my heart.

 It had been a conversation…me sharing about my day, and my husband looking down at his phone absorbed in something and not fully listening to me. He claimed he had been listening, but hearing is not the same as listening. 

My son’s sweet voice chimed in again. “Mom, you’re not perfect, either.” 

The wisdom of an almost 14 year old…such a perceptive child. 

Extend grace. These were the same words that I had heard from my friend over the weekend. 

 Deep breath. Pride swallowed. I accepted my husband’s apology and extended grace. 

I have much to learn from my son.  I am amazed and reassured that he does listen to me. It is always humbling to hear your words returned back to you. He reminded me of exactly what I needed to hear that night. Extend grace.

Who do you need to extend grace to?

Sometimes, we need to consider  things from a different perspective. I took this picture while writing from a view that overlooked the pond. 

The view was inspiring for writing, but I noticed the imperfection in my photo. Droppings from a bird stained the window. Would I choose to focus on the imperfection or the beauty in the view?

It’s like that with life. Do we choose to focus on the imperfection of the person or situation or do we choose to extend grace?

Our perspective makes all the difference.