Rest Once More
I have to face it, I am tired, exhausted, and beat. That is usually how I end a week and my goal is to not let the week start that way. For some reason, I haven't kept that routine this week and though my days off are still far away, I am finding myself wishing there was a space of rest to slide into.
Sometimes, there is just no time to rest or be in a space where you bring your attention and devotion to places of stillness and trust that "if I do nothing, I am not failing."
I wonder if you ever feel this way as I do?
It seems we get a great amount of insight to longevity and sustainability for our goals and pursuits if we can pause to ask ourselves if we are active, busy, or doing anything is coming from a place of trust and gratitude? Rather, is it stemming from a perspective of insecurity and unappreciative for the pieces of life that are working and humming along?
As the weather fights to bring us crisp mornings met with bands of warm afternoons, I see the need to also fight for reminders of what can be recognized as reasons for gratitude amongst moving from task to conversation, to obligations or engagements of choice. I am standing on the promise that if I can find a reason to be thankful for each frustration in the day, I am doing my part to not be driven by lesser emotions and priorities that don't cancel out my claim to be a faithful representation that I do love Jesus, and he is my cornerstone that my life is built upon.
"Gratitude leads to joy, rather than joy leading to thankfulness in life". - B. Brown
Gratitude, according to Dr. Brené Brown, is found to be a cause for joy, and not the other way around. How many times have I sought to find joy first so that I could sit back and be thankful? To find thankfulness for the success in my vocation, the way I am leading as a Godly man, a husband, and a father? Much of my twenties were about seeking to establish myself in life as reasons to harvest joy.
However, I found that much of what I was able to be successful in didn't produce joy, it actually brought the opposite and I found that I was apathetic and disengaged with what my work and efforts had brought me. I believe that this had everything to do with not being willing to bring thankfulness for each little win, each little moment of surprise goodness, and every blessing and blossom of fruitfulness that was part of the larger hope that I was wanting to see yield in the grand scheme of life. (I don't think I planned that far ahead in that decade)
Today, after a great deal of loss, success, and reminders that I am very limited, I find that God has room to work in all areas if I can first approach him with Gratitude. This last weekend I preached out of Psalm 116. It is a Psalm of thanksgiving and the whole hook of the song is verse 7 where the author consoles his own soul to "Be at rest once more" due to the goodness of God.
We stand to find rest in the midst of seasons of confusion, or when others seek to entangle our plans, our well being, or even just our good name. We can rest because we have built within us a catalog of reasons for confidence in God's goodness if we start to pray, practice, and participate in the function of gratitude.
What if you started each prayer with thankfulness? Even if it is for the air that is in your lungs, practice bringing thankfulness to the dinner table. Set an alarm on your phone to lift up reasons to God in the middle of the day no matter where the occasion finds you. Participate in the joy that will result as you yield the fruit of a life that can rest in God's power, his goodness, and his redemptive work in scenarios that are more complex than any Netflix miniseries.
Looking at the picture in this post, it is a great snapshot of my week. There is the Word of God that drives my view, values, and vigor, there is a Rode shotgun mic for the little creative projects I pour myself into (this blog is exhibit A). There is my airpods that keep me free to multitask, workout, answer calls from congregants, and listen to books, sermons, and worship music through out my day. Then there is Luna, my cat. Her life is very...very... very... restful. It amazes me the amount of sleep a living thing stacks up like this beast. She reminds me in the moment of this snapshot to be at rest once more for God is good and has been good to me and will be good to you, no matter what fills the snapshot of your life.
I challenge anyone to bring a harvest a joy from the seeds of gratitude, even if all you have is a mediocre reason, it still is a reason that can sprout joy.
Keep Looking up!