I hope you’ll forgive me for posting so many photos of the beach and the ocean on this blog. If I had to choose a singular image, one “happy place” that communicates peace and deep rest to me, it would be precisely this. And the bit of coastline pictured here is my absolute favorite in Portugal for its stark, natural and largely untouched beauty; its gorgeous hues of blue and green.
I posted just last Sunday about choosing rest, but this morning as I lay in bed, I felt that God was calling me to a different sort of challenge today, a distinct kind of respite. He wasn’t asking me to stop everything and just be today. I’m quite familiar with that one, as I’m often compelled to this genre of repose when the symptoms of fibromyalgia flare up. No, on this 9th day of My 30-day Challenge, I heard the Lord saying, “Cease striving and leave it all in my capable hands”.
This is a form of rest that reaches to the core of my being. It begs me to lay down all that I’m carrying – all the burdens that I’ve (so foolishly) allowed to pile up on my own shoulders – and to leave them at the foot of the cross of Christ. Because He is able to bear them for me.
When Denny is away for more than just a few days, as he is now, it’s easy for me to feel over-burdened with all the responsibilities that we normally carry cooperatively. He is such a great support and strength to me, and after nearly 31 years of marriage, we play a sort of symphony together, barely needing a conductor. We’re intimately acquainted with each other’s weaknesses and fortitudes, and know just how and when to pull up the slack for one another.
So as I opened my eyes to greet the day this morning after a week of less than optimum sleep, my plans for today’s challenge fell to the ground like dead leaves and I welcomed the call to let my God’s gentle wind sweep them away, to surrender my anxieties and to truly enter into His rest today.
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works
as God did from His.
This is often a challenge for me, but with each new opportunity to step back from bearing my own burdens and invite the Lover of my Soul to carry them, it becomes a little bit easier, a little more natural. Yet it starts with a choice. And how gracious is our God to give us the option to choose; to never force himself or His will upon us!
like our silly cat,
I settle for a mere
couple of drops
of His living water,
in my hand,
and licking them
And then I walk away,
only to feel parched
But today I choose to drink deeply from God’s well of refreshing, life-giving waters. To dive into the fountain unashamed and splash around.
To be washed clean, fully satiated, and to abandon there the load I’ve been carrying.
For it is not mine to bear.
Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.