Tag Archives: rest

Finding My Way Back Home

“For we know that if the tent
that is our earthly home
is destroyed…”

I’ve been in this new place for a little over six weeks now.

I knew going into this move that I don’t handle change well, and for a variety of reasons, this change seemed particularly hard and challenging and uncomfortable.

In some ways, I’ve settled into the new routine of it all much faster than I anticipated and have been able to get rid of far more [ultimately meaningless and non-essential] possessions than I thought my heart could handle.

After reading and pondering “Packing Light”, I might even consider giving up my couch when the time comes … I’ll officially cross that bridge when I get there. But the giraffe-print chair is staying. Period.

finding my way back home

But in other ways, I’m still fighting a constant battle.

I miss home. This house doesn’t feel like home yet. And as hard as it is to admit, I think there’s a big part of me that doesn’t want to make this house my home. Because it’s not exactly my home. It seems all too temporary for that, and I’m not sure I like what calling it home would represent. The duration and future at this house is just still so unknown. In all fairness, life in general is much that way as well.

But I’m willing to consider that perhaps that is exactly why I still feel so restless (of the entirely unhelpful and I-just-can’t-sit-still variety) in this new place.

That perhaps I’ve been fighting so hard against the idea of making it home that I’m winning this battle in my mind that never should have been waged in the first place.

That perhaps I have far more control over the way I feel and react towards this house than I realize.

That perhaps there’s a better reality – a truth, even – that I’m blind towards at the moment.

That perhaps I play a part in the unveiling of that truth by choosing where (and on Whom) to set my mind.

That perhaps it’s perfectly acceptable for this house that’s not mine to be a home for a season, no matter how short.

That perhaps home has far less to do with a physical house than with a state of my heart and soul.

That perhaps home has far more to do with resting in Christ where I am in this moment, wherever that happens to be.

“…we have a building from God,
a house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens.”

I crave stability and security. I crave the comfort and familiarity of home.

But although I’m most definitely still a work in progress, I’m learning that apart from Christ, such things that I want and seek and crave just plain don’t exist.

While these things used to exist within the confines of a physical place for me, in this season of transition and a whole lot of newness, I find that the definition of home as a physical location having these characteristics is severely lacking and incomplete. This place I live isn’t my home. At least not in the sense I’ve known it before. At least not yet.

And all of those definitions of home floating around on Pinterest (you know, the ones that claim home is with the ones you love, or some variation thereof…) don’t hold up all that well for a single person with no prospective significant other.

So at its core, home must mean something else entirely.

I won’t claim to have figured out the best or most right definition for this thing we hold so dear and call home, but I suspect it has more to do with finding contentment of mind, security of heart, and comfort of soul in the person and presence of Jesus Christ than in any physical location or material thing.

And that’s not to say that the physical place we call home and those we share it with on this earth don’t matter. I think they do to some degree. A home (which looks very different person to person and culture to culture) is important. But the truth it represents is even more important. By extending the definition of home beyond my external circumstances, the transient nature of this life doesn’t dictate the settledness of my soul.

Whether I have one house or one room or nothing at all to call my own, I can find home wherever I am. Right now. Today. Because my Rock never changes and my Foundation is eternally secure.

That’s what home is really all about, isn’t it?

A constant place of haven and rest, a quiet place to dwell, a familiar place for our hearts to settle, a place where there’s freedom to just be, a place where we can be restored and renewed away from the world with all of its unending noise and demands.

So I’m finding my way back home, and as I am, I’m realizing that the place my soul is searching for can never truly be satisfied on this earth. But until I reach the completeness, the fullness, and the perfection of my eternal home, I more desperately seek Him and more tightly hold onto the promise of His presence with me always. Here. Home.

“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God,
who has given us the Spirit
as a guarantee.”
2 Corinthians 5:1&5 (ESV)

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Everything. Anything.

“fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

everything anything

In the midst of battling fear, processing change, and feeling worn, during a difficult yet sweet time in the Word re-reading the same two passages of Scripture (Joshua 1 and Isaiah 41) for what was going on days, the desperate prayer of my heart was this:

Lord, what more do you want from me? What more do I have to give?

And His response was this:

Everything. Anything.

And not just once. And not just for a moment. I want all of you. For a lifetime. Of moment-by-moment surrender and following.

I want you to choose to rest in My presence over and over again.

When it’s easy and when it’s not.
When you want to and when you don’t.
When you think you can do this life on your own and when you know you cannot.

I want you with Me.

I want everything. anything.

Count it All Joy

As soon as I started the car Monday morning, I knew something wasn’t quite right. But it had been raining for two days, and historically, the battery sometimes just needs a little extra time to get warmed up in such conditions.

But as I pulled out of my neighborhood, I realized whatever was wrong wasn’t correcting itself, and it seemed I was at risk of the engine choking out at any moment. So instead of heading to work (because there is little that terrifies me more than the car breaking down on the side of the road. seriously.), I drove the shorter distance to my parents’ house, not able to go more than 40-45 mph. And let’s just not even talk about the car’s distress on hills and at stoplights. Once at my parents’ house, I knew my Mom could drive me to work and my Dad could look at the car after work. (Huge shout out of thanks to both of my parents!)

count it all joy

By mid-morning, safely at work but with the knowledge that I was either facing a new car purchase before I was fully prepared or a likely substantial repair, I knew that the correct response to this situation was something along the lines of James 1:2

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”

And while I was incredibly grateful that I had started the morning in focused prayer, to at least give me a fighting chance to maintain proper perspective … even uttering these very words, “Lord, this day is all yours” … this wasn’t exactly how I would have planned for that prayer to be lived out.

So as I reflected on the right response, to count it all joy, realizing that I was pretty much failing miserably at it, my thoughts shifted towards what this passage wasn’t saying, to hopefully better understand what it was saying.

It wasn’t really saying to find the silver lining that somehow made the circumstance ok.

And it wasn’t really saying to be happy about what just went down.

But it was saying to count it all joy because of what was coming.

“…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
James 1:3-4

Because there is great hope and expectation in what lies ahead after and because of the trial: steadfastness which leads to perfection and completeness.

That’s where the joy is rooted. In the assurance and security of that promise.

It’s letting the worry and concern and circumstances fade in the light of Jesus Christ. It’s moving closer to Him in faith regardless of the trial. It’s knowing and trusting and abiding.

Honestly, even with all of that at the forefront of my heart and mind, I still feel like in many ways I failed. I knew the right response. And my flesh continued to battle with my spirit over it all day.

But at the end of the day, if nothing else, I just know.

I know I’m a day closer, a circumstance closer, to Him.

I know a rest in my soul because I know He’s here in the midst of my car issues and my heart issues.

And for today, maybe that’s enough.

Because He’s enough.

What I’m Learning In the Everyday

Lately, it seems I’ve been in one of those seasons that is mostly characterized by the routine of the everyday.

what i'm learning in the everyday

Oh, sure, I have a couple of trips planned for later this year, I’m doing my fair share of dreaming big (which if I’m being totally honest, still feels a little different and uncomfortable because I’ve always tended more towards the practical and logical side of, well, everything), and there are new things potentially surfacing in the distant horizon, but they’re not right around the corner. So I find myself doing life right now in the everydayness of it all.

It’s good. It’s full. It’s rich. It’s demanding.

It’s just the everyday.

But I want to be wildly, unashamedly, with-abandon passionate, faithful, and focused on the Lord in the midst of this.

Because this is real life. This is relationship. This is walking with Him, trusting Him, depending on Him even when it doesn’t always “feel” like I need Him. Because I do. Desperately. In each moment of the everyday.

And perhaps because of this particular season, when it comes to living this life worthy of my calling, I find myself in the middle of learning so much that serves as a constant reminder of how unfinished and how desperately-in-need-of-Him-each-moment I really am…

I’m learning to keep my eyes fixed on Christ … even though I’m really bad it.

I’m learning to live by the Spirit in each and every moment.

I’m learning to accept the grace upon grace that Christ so freely gives.

I’m learning to walk by faith and not by sight … even when my calendar is too full and I feel like I’m operating in survival mode.

I’m learning to ask God for big things according to His will.

I’m learning to see the beauty in the small things that I far too often overlook.

I’m learning to love well by allowing Christ to fill me, so that I can be emptied on others.

I’m learning to rest in the fullness of Christ rather than attempting perfection by my own strength.

And I’m learning to crave more of Jesus Christ above all else because He is the only One who truly satisfies.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John 3:30 (ESV)

The Beach

Because sometimes you just need to get away for a weekend of nothingness, and the beach is one of my favorite places to go for that, last weekend my roommate, B, and I headed to Ocean Isle Beach for a relaxing and low-key couple of days full of beach time, no schedules, afternoon naps, reading, comfy clothes, chinese take-out, sunshine, resting, enjoying the little things, and chasing beauty. I left my big camera at home this time, but here are a few instagram shots from the trip…

thebeach

“With Me”

with me

I don’t know when it happened. Or how it happened.

It certainly wasn’t intentional. I barely noticed it.

But somewhere along the way, as the future became less clear, as everyday life became a battle to survive, as my own selfishness became too prominent, I began holding the Lord at arm’s length – at a perceived safe distance. There, but not present. Close, but not intimate.

And in the moment when I realized it, as my heart sank and the tears flowed, all I could think was, “I know better.”

But that was just it.

The “know better” part of me gets caught up in thinking I can somehow do this on my own. That I can get close to God, do all the right things, build this relationship, and somehow win His favor, His grace, and His love.

And yes, my heart’s desire is to please Him, and that’s a really good thing, but when it’s born out of trying harder and doing better and achieving more, it’s all wrong.

I can’t do any of this on my own apart from Him. I am nothing and have nothing apart from Him.

And I don’t have to do anything to win His favor. I already have it.

The grace and love that I too often try so hard to earn is already mine to rest in and enjoy.

Yet I still somehow had been approaching God as if He was like me, as if because I had been holding Him at a safe distance, He had been holding me there, too.

But for the record, He is nothing like me.

He is not made in my image. He is not made at all.

He holds all things together, this Sovereign Creator, and He doesn’t put me in a corner when I mess up or stray or fail.

Yes, He disciplines like a loving Father to teach me, to prune me, to sanctify me, but He doesn’t leave me in the process.

Even when I leave Him.

So this holding Him at a safe distance?

It’s wrong. It’s self-centered and self-serving. It’s lacking in trust and honesty and brokenness and humility. It’s hiding. It’s prideful.

None of which works with Him at all.

God never intended for me to view Him in my image. He never intended for me to project onto His character the human elements of my own.

He is not bound by my rules. He does not regard me the way I far too often regard Him.

He IS better, higher, greater.

He is God.

He IS.

But in the words of Chris Tomlin, “The God of angel armies is always by my side. The One who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine…”

And yes, that’s said with a healthy dose of reverence, fear, and adoration. It’s said with the recognition of His righteousness, His holiness, His sovereignty, and His greatness.

But He’s so close – He’s here – before me, beside me, behind me.

He’s not a God who will allow me to keep Him at a distance.

And in that very moment of recognition when I stripped it all down bare – when I removed all of the complicated layers, the circular logic, the selfish needs and desires – and prayed, the purest question on my heart was simply:

“God, where do you want me?”

His answer wasn’t a particular job or a physical location or a ministry direction. It was just this:

 “With Me.”

And with that, all I wanted was to collapse into His everlasting arms, completely exhausted from all of the trying, to rest in His presence with the renewed realization that this life is so much less about what I do for Him and so much more about simply knowing Him and trusting Him through all of the unknown details, to allow Him to spill over into every area of my being.

He’s not lost on this journey and He hasn’t lost me. He sees the whole, while I only see a small part. And He’s already written the ending.

And no, complacency is not okay, but maybe contentment is somehow settling into the details that He’s already written and just walking with Him along the way.

Yes, He’s the great God of angel armies, but He’s also the ever present, never leaving or forsaking, God with me.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

The Victor’s Grip is Greater

Victor's Grip

Some days, the what-ifs and I-don’t-knows of this feel overwhelming. Even a little dark. Like swimming through murky waters just below the surface. I can’t quite see my way out.

Questions of the alternatives hang in the balance.

But maybe I’m supposed to sit with the tension, the conflict, the trial, a little longer. Each day realizing even more that this is out of my hands. It was never really in them anyways.

The facade of control crumbles.

The attempt to manage and maintain fails.

But the message from Sunday’s sermon on James 1 rings loud and clear.

“Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (ESV)

The trustworthy Words of the Lord are light in this darkness.

I can hear Him saying…

Trust Me. Be Steadfast. Rest. Find Joy. Not in your ability, but in Mine.

And I find myself desperately asking for wisdom (my word for this year). Because I just can’t do this on my own. I can’t even fix my gaze on Him without His power, His strength, His presence drawing me in, drawing me near, drawing me deep.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5 (ESV)

The burden to figure-out this life is not mine to bear. There’s really very little to figure-out. He’s already done that. He’s already planned, battled, and won.

The unknown is frightening and fear’s grip can be great, but the victory is secure, and the Victor’s grip is greater.