Tag Archives: rest

10 Little Ways to Wake Up

Pray more. Worship more. Read Scripture more. Yeah . . . you got those. These are often the spiritual “prescription” we receive when we know our spirit needs a boost. And these are right on. These are essential vitamins we need for our souls’  well-being! But in addition to these basics, God invites us into something other than just “do more” . . . than just a to-do list that always says you aren’t doing enough. Here are 10 little ways you can wake up your soul . . . peruse, pick 1 or 2, let your mind wander to pick your own.R U Awake

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1. Take 5 minutes to list (or speak aloud) things you’re grateful for. Praise God for them all!

2. Hug or kiss someone you really love. Consider how this human relationship provides a glimpse into intimacy with God.

 3. Hunt for nature’s beauties. God is the very essence of beauty! (Too cold outside? Look out your window with a mission to notice beauties you often over look. Or peruse online nature images instead.)

 4. Laugh out loud. Dwell in some delightful or silly memories or watch a funny movie. God is the ultimate source of joy . . . our own chuckles remind us of a deeper joy we experience in God.

 5.  Continue reading

Cease . . . Embrace

2 long days in the car with 2 adults and 3 kids. A few traffic jams. 78 Waffle House restaurants passed. And then we arrived here. P1040015

And it was all worth it.

A much (much, much, much, much) needed break. Family time. Laughter. Adventures. Discoveries. And, aaaaaaaaaah!, basking in tremendous beauties  — both big and soaring and those hidden, miniscule, beneath my feet. The beauties of breeze and bird and sea and sky. (Oh, and alligators, too. And did I mention manatees?)

It was a Sabbath of Sabbaths for me. No, not a Sunday nor a day of rule-keeping. But a family vacation. As the Brits call it, a holiday.

These were, indeed, holy-days for us. Days of rest, of play, and of being. And they remind me anew of the Sabbath-moments we all need, outside of scheduled retreats from reality and woven within the sometimes frayed fabric of everyday normality.

In The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan urges us to live within a Sabbath-attitude: “[D]o you play enough?” Continue reading

Spiritual Cartography

From space, this planet has no lines dividing up continents, marking out where one country stops and another begins. But a good atlas shows you these boundaries. Once etched on a page by cartographers, now marked out via Computer-Aided Drafting, these boundaries identify the limits: the edge of a county, the end of a time zone, the limit of one government’s claim and the spot where another begins.

boundaryAre there lines etched out on your life? Lines that denote your limits? Boundaries that signify where your commitments, your energy, your involvement stops?

Putting limits in place – identifying boundaries – is critical to forging a life with time and energy and space for “being” with God. As a do-er who has a difficult time saying no and seems to perpetually feel tempted to take on new challenges and start new projects, I’ve learned this the hard way. In fact, I perpetually keep learning the hard way that it’s critical to draw lines that say “no.” Continue reading

Weary? Burdened?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28).

I am so glad Jesus said this. Aren’t you?

Because we all, at times, have wearying moments. End of the rope collapses. Stress-filled, sleepless night watches.

And we all, at times, are weighed down by burdens. The painful burdens of empathy and concern. The heavy loads of love. The back-bending weight of work, duties, responsibilities. The soul-wearying strain of self-reliance. 

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Jesus invites us to find true rest for our souls—in the light yoke of fidelity to himAnd this is more than just a “spiritual” invitation—for we are not merely spiritual beings. From the earliest pages of Scripture, we see that ours is a God of rest; he models rest and invites his people to rest. It’s an invitation to know and embrace our limits. To turn to him in the Sabbath principle of choosing time for rest. This is a critical part of carving out a healthy way of be-ing. Continue reading

Being (Redux)

fernsThis month we’ll look at the word “be.” I’m excited about what we’ll be discussing over the next few weeks and I’ve got some great new content to share with you. But we’ll start with a re-posting of a blog entry from a year or 2 back called “Re-Learning Be-ing.”

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Perhaps the title of the post should instead be “Un-learning Do-ing.” Doing, of course, is not a bad thing. What we do is very important to God in many ways and is part of who he made us to be–and we will explore that in an upcoming month.

But in our discussion of be-ing, do-ing can be a real danger. It is dangerous when what we do entirely defines who we are. It is even more dangerous, I think, when doing becomes inextricably linked with how we “use” time–When everything must be utilitarian, practical, or some sort of accomplishment. And it can be especially dangerous when doing = contentment and goodness while non-doing = discontent and discomfort that must be avoided at all costs.

This is certainly not a personal campaign for laziness! That is not the non-doing I’m talking about. For me, this comes down to the practices and disciplines that strip away, for a moment, the protections and habits that insulate us from seeing our real state — the busynesses and myriad of to-dos that cocoon us in a spiritually static state of preoccupation.

There are many practices that help us learn to be — practices I need because they are in a sense so hard at times and thus reveal how necessary they are. Continue reading

Savor Everyday Mercies

How do we cherish our families? Part of it comes in learning to see the beauties hidden in the small moments of life. So I’m very excited to introduce you to my dear friend Darcy Wiley — a great cherisher of moments. Darcy blogs over at Message in a Mason Jar and is “Mom” to three kids.

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Darcy, tell my readers a bit about yourself!

cherishfamilyThanks for hosting me, Kelli. It’s a joy to be at your place today. I always say I’m a world traveler turned stay-at-home mom. I try to go about my domestic life with the same eye for discovery that I had during my decade adventuring abroad. The kids definitely keep things fresh. The world is an amazing place when filtered through the lens of a 6-year-old boy, an almost-4-year-old girl and their baby sister. We love to ride bikes, do gardening, read books, go creek stomping, and lots of other things. Full-time motherhood is a pretty amazing gig when you think about it. I take a lot of pictures, but my real favorite way to gather mementos and to process a meaningful experience is in the written word. Right now, I’m in a catch-22, where the kids give me all kinds of material but often my work of caring for them leaves me with very little time for writing a complete piece.

As you reflect on the last few months, what has God been teaching you about cherishing your family?

I’ve been learning how love needs space to flourish. To me, that means clearing the schedule as much as possible to allow for unexpected challenges and to allow time for interacting without the grumpiness that hurry brings. Sometimes it makes people uncomfortable that I say no to a task they think I should volunteer for. But anytime I’ve given into false guilt at the expense of my family’s sanity, I’ve regretted it.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the pull between my two callings of parenting and writing. A few weeks before my daughter was born this spring, I had put a lot of creativity and time into the Take Heart series on my blog. As much as I loved that, I found myself surprisingly excited about being forced to slow down on posting in order to focus on the intense neediness of a newborn. It has been a re-centering time when I felt the privilege of tending to my flesh and blood as my first priority. In fact, as much as I want to share my thoughts and feelings and writing pieces with a greater population someday, I feel the Lord often reminding me that these children are the masterpiece I’m sending out into the world.

It’s so easy to take loved ones for granted. Cherishing them is a choice! What are some ideas you have for concrete ways women can cherish their families? Continue reading

Just 3: Amber Robinson

Join me for a great conversation in which I’m asking just 3 women just 3 questions about living justly. Today meet Amber Robinson —  a speaker for Compassion International, the author of Mercy Rising: Simple Ways to Practice Justice and Compassion, and a talented pianist. I’m so privileged to count Amber as one of my friends.

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amberrobinson.com2_1. Why are you passionate about biblical justice?

I never set out to be “passionate about biblical justice.” In college, I took a spiritual gifts test and scored high on a couple gifts, medium on many others, and glaringly low on one gift – and that gift was mercy. So it’s ironic that many people say that justice is my “thing”, when it is obviously something that I don’t come by naturally.

Through a very long trial with health issues, God revealed to me a lot of selfishness. I realized that my world was all about me.

I began reading Scripture more earnestly – I was amazed by all of the commands to help those in our society who face injustice, and knew I needed to act on these commands. It was very hard to reorient my thinking because we are taught, even in our faith culture, to focus on ourselves and our nuclear families.

I am passionate about my work with Compassion International and slavery prevention because it works. I have seen the lives of children all around the world changed. Despite the population increases in poor countries, we are turning the tide on poverty.

Beyond the help for others, we are really helping ourselves. It is an emotionally, spiritually, physically healing journey to die to self. I feel a joy and peace that I never had before.

I feel like my life has more clarity and focus and integrity. My old thought pattern was, Once I get my finances, health, etc. in order, then I can do justice, but God’s way is this: Die to yourself, obey me, and I will give you all the rest.

We can’t give in to the lie that the people who are immersed in this kingdom work have an easier life in some way and that is why they are involved. We all have big reasons not to do this. But we can get past these excuses and start living the abundant life promised to us.

Presentation-Color-2-291x3002. All the wrong and injustice in the world can feel so overwhelming. How can we overcome discouragement?

We have a choice to make about how we will view God. We see a servant in Matthew 25 who viewed God as a harsh taskmaster, buried his talent, and did not make an impact on the kingdom.

In contrast, David and John saw Christ as a gentle, good leader. They described him as a shepherd. There were two common shepherding techniques in the Middle East:  drive the sheep from behind or lead them from the front and let them follow your voice. In Scripture we see the tenderness of the Shepherd leading the sheep from the front, finding them when they are lost, and leading them to food, drink, shelter, safety, and rest. Continue reading

Discipleship: Live Centered in Christ’s Love

In my last post, I offered the encouragement that in our journey of discipleship we must prioritize time for quietness, for soul-rest, for just be-ing with Jesus. Today, author Keri Wyatt Kent is here to talk a bit more about what it means to grow closer to Jesus in these ways. Keri is the author of many powerful spiritual formation books, most recently Deeply Loved: 40 Ways in 40 Days to Experience the Heart of Jesus.

KeriKeri, welcome back to my blog! Many of us (including me!) are “do-ers.” We tend to approach Christian faith with a focus on action—on what we need to do in order to grow spiritually. But your newest book reminds us to, first, experience and abide in the deep love of Jesus. Why is it so important for a follower of Jesus to center herself in Jesus’ faithful presence and love?

Even if we give lip service to a “saved by grace” theology, it’s easy to fall into a “stay saved by keeping your nose clean” theology. In other words, we can think that God keeps score and requires us to keep the rules. Certainly, obedience is essential! But abiding is the only sustainable motivation for that obedience. When we know we are fully loved, obedience becomes the logical path for us to take, and the most attractive. Sin becomes less attractive. As Dallas Willard wrote in The Spirit of the Disciplines, “Jesus did invite people to follow him into that sort of life from which behavior such as loving one’s enemies will seem like the only sensible and happy thing to do.”

 The other key idea is joy. We all deeply desire to be loved. Jesus offers us love. What kind of fools are we if we reject that offer or try to earn it with little accomplishments or rule-keeping? Imagine if someone gave you a birthday present and you pulled out your wallet and tried to pay for it. That’s what we do when we try to earn God’s favor. Just take the gift and relish it with gratitude. Celebrate the relationship that you have — that he would give you such a gift. That’s what practicing his presence does.

deeplylovedWhen we think about this month’s theme of discipleship, for many of us the first things that come to mind are Bible study and prayer. Your book, Deeply Loved, invites readers to experience discipleship practices we might not think of right away, such as Sabbath rest, practicing God’s presence, silence and solitude, and Scripture meditation. Why do you think practices like these are so important for a follower of Jesus?

Growing up in a conservative tradition, people would ask me, “How’s your walk with Jesus?” It’s a pretty invasive question, if you think about it, but it was part of the culture. And I’d answer based on whether I had been consistently “doing my quiet time” — that is, reading my Bible and praying. The fruit in my life didn’t factor into my answer, just whether I’d checked off that daily practice more times than not that week. And if you think about it, even though “having a quiet time” is helpful, the emphasis was on what I did. Continue reading

Come Away With Me . . .

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? To follow him? Does it mean we need to be just like him? (Bad news: Won’t work.) Does it mean we need to do, do, do (ministry, spiritual disciplines, and so much more)? (One word: burnout.)

Of course we do aim to be more like Christ and, through the work of the Holy Spirit within us, we cultivate God-honoring character in our lives. And yes, we practice disciplines, minister to others, and model our lives after the actions and values of Jesus. But there’s another way Jesus beckons us to follow him. And this following? It blesses. It refreshes. It’s what we truly need. (And of course, Jesus knew that all along.)

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After a time of crazy, exciting, exhausting, and intense ministry, the disciples came back to Jesus to report on all that had happened. What did he say? “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

Jesus himself made a regular habit of withdrawing for time alone: time to pray, to recalibrate, to commune with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. (For example, see Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44; and 5:16.) In these times of quiet and solitude there’s a kind of rest that’s deeper than mere physical sleep: It’s the rest our souls really need. Continue reading

Meet My Friend . . . Keri Wyatt Kent

Author Keri Wyatt Kent speaks my language. Her books deal with the deep longings of our souls — intermixed with an honest view of the hectic reality we sometimes find ourselves in. She encourages us to make choices that draw us into a right rhythm with God and with others. I’m so grateful she popped in to speak with us today about a topic that is really, really important and also really, really tough to figure out sometimes: Sabbath. Keep on reading!

Keri, can you tell my readers a little about yourself? 

I’m the working mom of two teens, and for the past year or two, God has given me the opportunity to serve as our family’s primary breadwinner—although God of course is our primary provider. Last year, I had four different book projects published. Despite these pressures and workload, I took every Sunday off to rest.

The title of your book, Rest, simply draws me in. What an inviting — and needed — word in our lives! What motivated you to write it?

I had written about Sabbath (and other spiritual practices) in a previous book, Breathe. Many people seemed interested in the practice of Sabbath, many of them had an interest that centered on debate—thinking that it was impossible. So it was a subject that needed a more extensive explanation.

I know that for you the idea of Sabbath-keeping has been a journey. So how have your views and practices changed over the years? Continue reading